TOKYO--One of the staples of the past several Tokyo Game Shows has been Metal Gear Solid 4. Oddly enough, Snake and company have made their return to the event this year, despite the fact that MGS4 was released several months ago. The reason for this comeback? Metal Gear Online, Metal Gear Solid 4’s online multiplayer component, will see the release of a new expansion pack this November. Titled the “Meme Expansion,” this new download will add three new maps, Liquid Ocelot and Mei Ling as playable characters, and a new Tournament mode. The Meme Expansion was playable on the show floor today, so we played a few rounds to get a quick peak at what this new material is all about.
In the time we played, the only mode being offered was Team Deathmatch on Sunset Silo. When taken at first glance, this new map doesn’t appear to look all that different from many of the maps originally released with the game. There’s a very gritty industrial look to it, with crumbled cement, exposed rebar, and rusty metal cranes reflecting the warm orange Middle Eastern glow of the sky.
However, taking a few moments to explore the map reveals a much more vertical experience than many of the game’s initial stages. There’s a tremendous amount of vertical depth to it because the entire map--while relatively small in terms of overall geography--offers a lot of steep, crisscrossing staircases and tall ladders. There are lots of open sightlines, too, so this definitely seems like a very sniper-friendly map.
While Sunset Silo was the only map we got to spend any hands-on time with, the other two maps were shown on looping videos at the Konami booth, along with footage of Liquid and Mei Ling. The other maps are Forest Firefight and Winter Warehouse. Forest Firefight recalls the lush outdoor levels of MGS4’s South American settings, complete with tall grass, small tunnels, and wooden shacks. Winter Warehouse takes a different approach with its snowy ground and grayish, metal overall aesthetic. For those interested, Mei Ling will be sporting a fancy military outfit, while Liquid will be duking it out with little more than a pair of pants and a robotic arm. We'll find out this November if fighting in the icy cold Winter Warehouse sans shirt will prove to be troubling for Liquid.