Metal Gear Online
“Hey man, The Phantom Pain’s online component comes out for gaming PCs next week,” my gaming friend thoughtfully reminded me a couple of weeks ago.
“Yeah, that’s what I hear,” I said.
“So hopefully it’s better than the console versions. I hear those suck pretty bad, and that people just run around randomly.”
“Doesn’t sound like there’s too much teamwork happening.”
“Nope. Sure doesn’t.”
Needless to say, I wasn’t really too excited about the official PC release of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain’s dedicated multiplayer offering, Metal Gear Online or MGO for short. Last week when it was released, my buddy and I got the chance to try it out after downloading it through Steam, and I’d like to share our some of our experiences…
But first off, let me describe the three base modes available in Metal Gear Online. First up we have free-wheeling, guns a blazin’ Bounty Hunter mode. Bounty Hunter is essentially your basic Team Deathmatch, complete with a ticket system. Naturally, each team has an allotment of tickets and each time one of its members is killed, they lose a ticket. How this mode strays from the standard formula, however, is that when a player kills an enemy, he gains a bounty point. If you are lucky enough to strap a balloon onto the players butt and send him up into the air (called Fultoning in Metal Gear parlance) you collect their accumulated bounty points which feeds back into your team’s tickets. This can create some crazy matches where the entire team can sort of turn into a bodyguard force for players who go on a hot streak, as protecting those players are of utmost importance.
Next up we have Comms Control, which is MGO’s flag capture mode. There are three comm links that are cappable spread over each map. The too and fro, back and forth nature of taking each point can really test your skills and is pretty frenetic.
And finally, we have Cloak and Dagger, our personal favorite. CnD sees one team as cloaked attackers who must successfully infiltrate and steal data disks, and defenders that are tasked with defending them. The only catch? The attacking team are only armed with non-lethal weapons, while the defenders are armed to the teeth with all of their usual, lethal weapons.
CnD made for some very tense matches where my buddy and I would team up and (as attackers) one of us would usually infiltrate while the other covered him with longer ranged fire such as a tranquilizer rifle. Or, as the defenders, we’d keep line-of-sight on one another while defending one of the two data disks, lest one of us be knocked out and be Fultoned up into the air, since you can shoot the balloons, dropping your embarrassed but grateful buddy back to Terra Firma.
During one harrowing Cloak and Dagger match, we laid a few boxes out around one of the data disks and then hid nearby and waited for attackers to come. Sure enough, we spotted the outline of a cloaked infiltrator (sometimes you can just barely see their outline depending on the amount of local lighting) whom suddenly stopped in his tracks upon seeing the assortment of boxes. He was obviously trying to figure out if any of them where occupied by defenders, which made him an easy target for our small arms fire. During another game of CnD, my buddy, who had equipped himself with some cute little stuffed animals, waited for me to snatch one of the data disks and then plopped a trail of said animals on the ground behind me, as I ran back to an extraction point. Sure enough, a defender ran right into one of the little fuzzy menaces and sat there ogling it, allowing my friend to come up from behind and choke him out.
The amount of cool gadgets and gizmos that made it over from the spectacular single player game really make your typical MGO match anything but typical. Add to that the ability to climb obstacles as well as up onto the tops of containers and buildings, and you’ve also got a lot of verticality and therefore, unpredictability for each gaming session. As a defender, you never know where a cloaked attacker will assault you from, and as an attacker, you are never quite certain what sorts of traps a defender has lying in wait for you.
CnD matches really remind me of a much better implemented version of Blacklist’s multiplayer. CnD games flow at a better pace, and the larger maps allowed for more variety and places to hide. MGO also features three distinct classes for an additional layer of strategy. A Scout class for longer ranged engagements; an Enforcer for heavy assault; and my favorite, the Infiltrator, who specialized in stealth and subterfuge.
Comm Control and Bounty Hunter didn’t really impress us much, as the faster-paced nature of their modality attracted more of the younger, less patient variety of gamers. Which is fine—those who like to bunny hop around and shoot at things randomly, plus the fact that these modes feature nearly instantaneous respawns (Cloak and Dagger doesn’t have re-spawns)—will be more at home on these servers.
Personally, we just prefer a more measured, methodical approach to our matches, where you really have to use your wits (and a healthy dose of teamwork) in order to accomplish your objectives. One mistake, and that’s that, you’re stuck watching the spectator screen, which in my opinion is great—it forces players to really be more careful and value each life that they have, instead of running off like Rambo and being careless and overly aggressive.
MGO’s graphics are just as beautiful as the single player game’s, so prepare to enjoy some really sumptuous environments and highly-detailed character and weapon models. The sudden dust and rain storms that sometimes spring up out of nowhere are also well-done and convincing (especially for 4k gaming folks), and really alter the nature of a match since they can offer additional concealment (both visually and aurally).
Metal Gear Online has something for everyone—more fast-paced modes for the less patient types as well as a bona fide high tension thrill ride for gamers like me with its excellent Cloak and Dagger mode. Whether you like running and gunning, or more focused stealthy gameplay, if you enjoy games that offer a wide range of tactics, you’ll just love Metal Gear Online. Try it!
Anyone who has witnessed Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain’s single player graphics can enjoy them again in its multiplayer iteration. Just keep in mind that a pretty beefy gaming PC is required in order to maintain a smooth framerate:
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