The 14 most amazing things you can do in the new 'Metal Gear' game

KonamiThis is D-Dog, and he’s a stone-cold killer. He likes long walks, bones, and espionage.

Games, at their heart, are sets of systems that work together.

In Super Mario games, for instance, there is a movement system, an enemy system, and a variety of other systems that interact with each other — through the player — to create a kind of symphony of systems.

A good symphony is seamless; you don’t hear just the horn section, or just the percussion, but a fluid medley of sections all performing as one.¬†

“Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain,” then, is a grand opus. A master work by a veteran game creator, Hideo Kojima, giving his all. It’s also his final work in the series, and likely the last major entry in the “Metal Gear” franchise, before he’s unceremoniously kicked out of the company he helped build up. It’s with this context that “Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain” was released on September 1.

“Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain”¬†might be the most detail-obsessed game I’ve ever played. This is why.

Find a wolf pup; raise a wolf pup; command an adult wolf.

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This little guy shows up on an early mission out in the wilds of 1980s Afghanistan. You choose whether or not he returns to your base. And why would you NOT choose to save a puppy from the wilderness and raise it?RAW Embed

But a puppy isn't the only animal you can save (in this game that has literally nothing to do with animals). You can start a full-on zoo!

All you have to do is track and tranquilize whichever animal you'd like to grab, like so:RAW Embed

Tracked! Now the tranquilizer:RAW Embed

And finally, an airlift out of the African savanna, care of the Fulton Extraction System (which is actually, unbelievably real):RAW Embed

After recovering animals, your home base ('Mother Base') gets a new area dedicated to housing the recovered beasts. (Keep in mind that Mother Base is an offshore oil rig in the Seychelles islands.)

Your base gets an area dedicated to herbivores:RAW Embed

As well as an area dedicated to carnivores:RAW Embed

There's an avian platform as well for all the birds you can capture. If you want to look up more information on any of the animals in the game, there's an encyclopedia built into the main menu.

The Fulton Surface-to-Air Recovery System, AKA Attaching a High-Powered Balloon to Things:

As you saw above, the main way to capture animals is by putting them to sleep with a tranquilizer dart, attaching a high-powered balloon to them, and them getting whisked away. This system is known as the 'Fulton Surface-to-Air Recovery System,' and it was a real system used by the United States military from the early 20th century straight through to the mid-'90s. Seriously!RAW Embed

It works by attaching a high-powered balloon to an object, the balloon/object combination flying up into the sky, and a moving plane 'catching' it in mid-air. Again: SERIOUSLY!

The Fulton system is used to a comical extent in 'Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.'

From animals:RAW Embed

To people:RAW Embed

To tanks:RAW Embed

To massive shipping containers:RAW Embed

You can even load up an empty truck with soldiers and snag them all at once with a single Fulton device:

Like with this active soldier:RAW Embed

And these tranquilized soldiers in the truckbed:RAW Embed

And if you really want to, you can use the Fulton on a shipping container and then quickly jump on. It will bring you back to your home base.

Though you usually travel by helicopter in 'Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain,' you can sneakily ship yourself around via cardboard box.

Using the standard issue cardboard box that's been part of the 'Metal Gear' series for over 20 years, you can move around the massive open-world of 'Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain' without a helicopter at all. Like so:RAW Embed

Or perhaps you'd prefer to become a demon?


What you see above is how the game's main character, Snake/Big Boss (yes, he has two names), as he normally looks.

But if you play the game like a monster -- killing every enemy and wild animal, starting a nuclear program, etc. -- then you end up looking monstrous. Like so:

Beyond just shipping yourself, Snake's cardboard box can be used for even sillier things. Like sledding in the desert:

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But all that desert sledding (and tactical espionage) can make Snake very dirty. Over time, if you don't grab a shower, your soldiers will notice your funk. Not in a good way.

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Eventually, if you smell bad enough, Snake's pal Revolver Ocelot will throw a bucket of water on him:RAW Embed

Rather than deal with that embarrassment, why not just grab a shower yourself? There's a convenient option right off your helicopter at home base:

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Since 'Metal Gear' is a game about sneaking around, you're going to get caught a lot. Thankfully, there's 'Reflex Mode' -- a kind of slow-motion when you're spotted that gives you a chance to take out whoever saw you:

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One amazing aspect of Reflex Mode is the ability to knock out enemies with empty bullet magazines. You have unlimited empty magazines (usually used to lure enemies with the sound they make when hitting the ground), so this is a great way to conserve your precious tranquilizer darts.

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