Metal Gear Online Hands-On

We visited Konami's UK offices to get a hands-on play with the <em>other</em> upcoming Metal Gear title.

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With so much hype over Snake's upcoming--and supposedly final--adventure in Metal Gear Solid 4, it's easy to overlook its sister title, Metal Gear Online. Developed with the same engine that will be featured in MGS4, MGO takes the spirit that has made Metal Gear Solid a best-selling franchise and places it in an online multiplayer experience.

Metal Gear Online is, simply, Metal Gear online. That's not a bad thing, though, because fans of the series will be able to duke it out against each other in the classic multiplayer formats you'd expect to see in other online shooters such as Rainbow Six Vegas, Gears of War, and Team Fortress 2. MGO is a third-person online shooter, but brings the best parts of the Metal Gear universe along for the ride.

Metal Gear Online will pit up to 16 players in all-out online warfare.

When first playing MGO, you'll need to register a new character, a process that offers an impressive level of customisation. You can customise your face, headwear, torso, legs, leg attachment, head attachment (such as adding a headset, balaclava, or goggles), vest/jacket, and camouflage options (of which we saw beige, smoke blue, black, and green options).You'll then need to choose four specialties (skills) for your player, ranging from shotgun, sniper, submachine gun, and support specialties to others such as increasing your auto-aim accuracy (which, while playing a match, can be activated with a quick button press).

The game modes in MGO combine the usual deathmatch and team-deathmatch modes with three mission scenarios: base, rescue, and capture, with support for up to 16 players per lobby. Base missions involved the capture of three chokepoints, which we played on the Ambush Alley map, which appears to be inspired by MGS4. Once all three points are in your team's possession--achieved by maintaining control of each zone until a countdown has completed--it's time to celebrate back at the base with a cold brew.

One of the maps we saw looked great, with plenty of distressed buildings, debris to hide behind, and lots of different textures to help you blend in with the environment. One of the chokepoints was in a small depression covered by a camo net, which provided perfect cover. As we soon discovered, this was an ideal place to ambush other players or leave a few well-concealed claymore mines. In all of the matches we played, team play was vital to win, and in addition to yelling and hollering, team commands can be issued easily with the select button. There were options for attack, defensive, and general communication commands.

Rescue mission--essentially a capture-the-flag mode--was played on the Groznyj Grad map, this time inspired by Metal Gear Solid 3. Your old friend Ga-ko the duck is back from MGS3 and needs rescuing from the evil clutches of the opposing team. However, rather than go in guns blazing, we had to tread carefully in this mode because we had only one life per match. The match can be won in two ways: defending your base and therefore eliminating the opposition, or capturing the other team's Ga-ko and returning it to your base.

Control was the last mission mode we tried, and from what we could see, it was a variation of rescue. However, rather than just one target, there were two this time. Each team is required to rescue Ga-ko or his friend Kerotan the frog and get them back to base without being killed.

Graphically, MGO looks much like what we've seen of MGS4, which isn't surprising, seeing as how they share the same engine. Artistically, it looks much like previous MGS games with a next-generation polish, and the weapons, menus, characters, and overall feel isn't a departure from previous Metal Gear instalments. The in-match soundtrack has been borrowed from prior MGS games, and we were able to choose themes from MGS3, MGS2, and Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops before each match. Although some will prefer the raw sound of battle, we found that the music didn't distract and, if anything, heightened the tension of the matches.

We saw 16 weapons and accessories in the game, split between primary, secondary, and support items; you choose one of each before each round and before respawning. Primary weapons include the V2.83 submachine gun, AK102 and M4 custom assault rifles, SVD and Mosin Nagant sniper rifles, and M870 Custom shotgun. A ballistic shield can also be chosen as a primary weapon, which was great for deflecting fire but had to be swapped for a secondary weapon when we wanted to attack. Secondary weapons include the GSR and MK2 pistols, and the support category offers the usual MGS tricks of the trade with fragmentation, stun, smoke, and chaff grenades, claymore mines, and, strangely enough, a men's magazine.

At times you can also obtain extra items during matches. We found enhanced night-vision goggles up for grabs at one of the control points in the base mission, as well as other items familiar to the MGS universe such as cardboard boxes, which can prove useful in battle. We attempted to hide in a cardboard box on several occasions, and provided that you don't get caught, they can offer a good form of camouflage. The maps we saw often had numerous boxes littered about, so you can never know if someone is hiding in one.

Although the game's title clearly suggests that an Internet connection is required to play, we still hope to see offline play in the final version. Konami hasn't suggested if they'll reveal new features or offer the game at a lower price point, but it will certainly be competing against other fully featured shooters on the PlayStation 3 that have both online multiplayer and a full offline single-player campaign.

None of the characters we saw have appeared in previous MGS games, and Konami was tight-lipped about whether characters such as Solid Snake, Raiden, or Big Boss would be playable in the game. Though many fans would love to fill the shoes of Snake, Konami says that MGO is more of a "Foxhound training camp" for would-be operatives than a new game for existing characters.

One of the things MGS has never featured is a sprint function. It seems that with MGO's gameplay based on competition, it would certainly benefit from one now. When being shot at, the best you can muster is a brisk walk, which isn't particularly conducive to avoiding fire and can be downright futile when trying to beat the buzzer in the dying moments of a match. On the plus side, the extra time taken to reach objectives might let you come up with better tactics, especially considering that you'll have to wait a long time for another go if you die. It also makes the overall speed of the game much slower than some rivals with a faster pace. That wasn't a major gripe from our experience, but it would be nice to have a sprint option if you desire to use it.

Modes includes base, rescue, and capture missions, as well as deathmatch

Another thing worth mentioning is that you can't quickly equip or unequip items by tapping L2 or R2, like you could in previous Metal Gear outings. Instead, a quick tap cycles through weapons or accessories, and holding L2/R2 brings up the submenus. It makes a bit of a difference because you'll be quicker on the move when you don't have weapons equipped.

Metal Gear Online is shaping up nicely, and we felt that Metal Gear's usual emphasis on stealth has been swapped for outright action. We hope that Konami adds a greater range of gametypes in the final version, given that it may be a bit of a lighter experience than other upcoming PS3 shooters. We'll see how well it can measure up to those games, including Konami's own Metal Gear Solid 4, when it's released later in the year.

Discussion

151 comments
Gammet25
Gammet25

Rigght, how come you cant see this selling in Australia

illkillyou
illkillyou

I think a sprint option would ruin the game. Being an MGS game, in order to make online play work, it has to be slow and deliberate, or else you can't sneak up on anyone. If you make it too fast paced, everyone will be running around and if they ever do have to stand in place, will start spinning around relentlessly so they can see over their shoulder all the time. Would be cool if they allowed this option, but made you throw up if you spun too much, a la MGS3.

keyroon
keyroon

i've played the uk beta and i'm realy not that impressed. (waits for thumbs down)

pycho22solid
pycho22solid

It looks very promising but selling it as a seperate disc from MGS4 makes me feel a slight bit jipped

n3ck
n3ck

Grafix look PS2 with a bigger draw distance.

oogieboogie8
oogieboogie8

They should have at least included the game as a second disk, and maybe charge $10-$20 extra, instead of just selling a whole seperate game.

Outer_Raven
Outer_Raven

Man, I want to play this so bad that I would kill someone just to play this!

Amir29
Amir29

I see a conflicting report here and thought to bring it to everyone's attention. I Preordered the Limited Edition MGS4 and recieved the MG Saga Vol.2 DVD which had a little coupon inside that offered me to Beta test MGO. It makes mention as if MGO is an added feature included with MGS4. Yet, here they say it's a separate game. I would go with MGO being included along with MGS4 though. It can not be preordered and has the same release date as MGS4. 6-12-08

Shishio817
Shishio817

MS4 is being released with a starter version of this game, and then they're going to release downloads for it over the PSN, as far as I know. I really hope they do add a sprint option, because it's very helpful in Call of Duty 4, and I can foresee it being annoying in some situations, though probably not game-breaking.

skee_uk
skee_uk

mgo looks superb, what a cracking lineup of games for ps3 this year i thought this was going to be an addition to the full mgs4 game ie. single player with online play. but its a seperate game for which it will be huge. will this be a psn download of blu-ray?

JJB03
JJB03

iv been a fan of mgs for years an den i buy an xbox360 an feel well gutted that its stayed true to playstation i jus hope it comes to 360 6 months l8er or summin to xbox

baron008
baron008

This game is going to be great. I can't wait

yukimurasanada3
yukimurasanada3

I havent played any of the other MGS games, played the demo for 3 a bit, but after seeing all of the gameply and cutscenes, i cant wait for this game. Online looks like it'll be so fun. Jeez, games are goin online crazy. not that it's bad, but there are so many games with cool online play, like bad company, warhawk, burnout, LBP, and so many others. cant wait to see how his delivers.

sage_witch
sage_witch

To killzone_gamer, maybe you will. I don't know. Heck, you probably pwned me in other online shooters as well. I'm just saying that I'll put up a better fight with this game.

sage_witch
sage_witch

You know, I've neglected to comment on games here on this site. I rather enjoy reading other user comments to be quite honest. But after reading about this I simply had to say that this will be the game that I'll be great at online. I'll be the first to admit that on CoD4 I get pwned, but y'all better watch out for me on MGS online. I'm awesome at MGS, and I figure that I'll be good at the online. Can't wait to play it! :)

ShadowZraiN
ShadowZraiN

Warhawk is a great game, but I dont think it should be even compared to Metal gear online. Just because their 3rd person dosnt make them the same type of game. First off metal gear can go into first person, 3rd GRAW type of aim, and normal warhawk type 3rd person. Warhawk has vechicles... I just think their way too different to compare. But in my personal opinion (and its always been like this since Mgs1) Metal gear is the best game I've played and I think its going to keep that spot for sure.

ljaygrimes
ljaygrimes

As The Fear said in MGS3, "I have waited long for this day." Awesome, MGO makes its long awaited return and its looking better than ever!

Hitamaru-homia
Hitamaru-homia

WHY DIDNT THEY TAPE THIS!!! -.-. FFS,Video or it didn't happen!

zeroadiel
zeroadiel

Can't wait for this baby to come out, I'll be getting my hands on this when it comes out for sure

dantesergei
dantesergei

@SpaceMarine1 Thanks Do you have any clue about what speed ?? Becouse i have a broadband of 128kbs ? (sh***) :(

BlueEyesGR
BlueEyesGR

I prefer the third person games, so I am extremely glad that finally a new one will arrive after the masterpiece named Warhawk.

Shadow_Fire41
Shadow_Fire41

oh. my. damn. im not much of fan of MSG, but this could be VERY fun.

theone332
theone332

damn i can wait any longer for mgs4

B-r-e-n-d-t
B-r-e-n-d-t

ok now i need my own ps3 for college

billyjunxix
billyjunxix

MGO is gonna be great but iam more excited about MGS4. MGS4 is gonna be the biggest game ever. This got to be the first game that would have gamespot to give it a rating of a PERFECT 10. You can play it on FPS, BEHIND THE SHOULDER CAM like on RE4, and even play it on the SUBSISTENCE perspective. And the things and interaction that you could do in the game is insanely good that would make you amaze every time you play it. I even heard that MGS4 would come on 2 BLUE-RAY disc..now thats what we call a BIG GAME.

LEATHERFACE1550
LEATHERFACE1550

THIS IS JUST SCREAMING"BUY ME AFTER YOU BUY MGS4"cuz this is forsure going in my game stack

SpaceMarine1
SpaceMarine1

@dantesergei You will need a broadband connection(DSL,Cable) And, Yes, This looks like an amazing game. I would still get MGS4 first, but I would definantly buy this

BontraXenderKyl
BontraXenderKyl

omg!! that will be one of the best games of the year

coold_steam
coold_steam

when we can play this game and can we buy it from playstation store?

BadWolf07
BadWolf07

Actually MGS4 is supposed to come with a trial version of MGO on it to try out, and I'm sure MGO won't be all that expensive.

Gwarpup
Gwarpup

What about all the great climbing and gripping ledges that you can do in MSG.. it seems like that is really the only thing that would be different in MSG online. Being able to move in many more ways like in MSG would definatly be a benefit.

dantesergei
dantesergei

i wonder what speed connection you will need to play this ? does anybody have a clue ?

cruznik06
cruznik06

BRUTAL!!!!!!.... I need to play it!!...yea!..

Altiar25
Altiar25

hmm i'll think i'll get this

dmalone569
dmalone569

"So this is it's own stand alone game that I'll have to buy? $60 in addition to whatever they charge for the MGS4 Ultra Premium Uranium Edition they put out...." It comes with MGS4. Why don't you people read up on this before assuming it's a totally different game?

Rhen_Var
Rhen_Var

WHere is the Cardboard BOX!? Other then that I have no complains.

thewesman
thewesman

So this is it's own stand alone game that I'll have to buy? $60 in addition to whatever they charge for the MGS4 Ultra Premium Uranium Edition they put out....

ShadowOfKratos
ShadowOfKratos

I'm gonna get it, but if I have to pay for it, I'll be pissed! I mean, I understand y they come in separate discs (considering nothing is compressed, hence tons of memory usage, even for a bluray disc) but remember back in the days when games like final fantasy 7 came out? 4 discs for the price of 1!!! like I said I will get this game, but personally I think that an online feature as an expansion add-on... whatever u wanna call it... just isn't enough when u're paying the same price as for a complete game! that... is what I call bulls***! can't wait for MGS4 though... I LOVE THE MG SERIES!!! :D

Phantom_2
Phantom_2

@ninjasam the game is on a separate disc, and they are coming together in one pack

FredGoon
FredGoon

I'll defantly be getting this!!!!

bozco-mkd
bozco-mkd

Look out for me on this game! Coz i will practically live in it! Cant wait!

ninjasam
ninjasam

i dont like the whole split game idea. I am not buying this game. Cod 4 came with an amazing single player and the muiltiplayer? so far I have played 125 hours online. I probably wasn't going to buy it anyway.

playwiz
playwiz

Outer_Raven here's my answer: DEFENITLY MGS4

Outer_Raven
Outer_Raven

Here's a question for the fans: you see MGS4 and MGO (separately) on a game store, you want both, but you only have money for one of them. Which one would you buy?

aidsta
aidsta

man, i cant wait