Metal Gear Online takes The Phantom Pain, well, online. We've just got to go a few rounds in Bounty Hunter, one of two play-modes -- the other is Cloak and Dagger and focuses on stealthier things. Controls will be familiar to anyone that's played MGS5, but because everyone can't be Solid Snake (ugh), in MGO there's a range of roles and abilities from stealthier builds with non-lethal or silenced weapons, to a half-mech suit (the Walker Gear) that lets you blast the hell out of your opponents. While the mech seems like the easy choice for a whole lot of kills, but that doesn't necessary mean it's the funnest way to play.
Each of the roles appear roughy balanced: lightweight characters will also get stealth camouflage to improve their chances of survival. And yep, there are cardboard boxes too. Those lesser-equipped characters move with a bit more urgency too. Close-quarter combat also gets a whole lot more fun when several characters rush in to get a knock-out. However, when you go down, it's not quite over. You can still wiggle the L-stick and hammer buttons to revive yourself -- and even if your enemy attaches a pesky Fulton balloon to spirit you away from the battle completely. (Well, until the respawn.)
We got to play on two stages: one set in a half-built dam and Black Site, which will look familiar to anyone that's battled through Ground Zeroes. Like the single-player game, weather conditions can (and will) change mid-game. We got caught in a rain squall that ruined our prime sniping spot up high. You'll also get points for non-lethal acts. Shoot down a balloon and save an ally, or force a confession out of an enemy for a nice point bonus... before you finish the job. Naturally, if you're still a bit green at MGS5, you're going to find it a pretty steep learning curve, but you're also likely to pick up a kill here and there. Helping your allies is strongly advised until you find your feet -- and the entire side will benefit.
The second mode, Cloak and Dagger, involves an infiltration team and a defense team. This time, once you're dead -- or floating in the atmosphere -- that's it for you. Tense stand-offs are likely to be the standard. The infiltration team will have to pick up a data disc and get it back to an escape point. The defending team, obviously, has to stop that. (If we get a chance to play, we'll update this article with our impressions.) The game will appear within Phantom Pain on October 6th across PS4, Xbox One, PS3 and Xbox 360, although the older generation of consoles will be limited to less players on screen. A PC version will join the fight in January 2016.
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