A lot of times the discussion about eighth-gen gaming usually circulates back to graphics or gameplay. A graphically enriched game is rarely ever a dynamic experience on the gameplay front (e.g., Ryse, Killzone: Shadow Fall). Just the same as a gameplay-heavy title is rarely ever married to mind-blowing graphics (e.g., Watch Dogs, Octodad, Mercenary Kings). Well, in the case of Kojima Productions' upcoming Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, the game bridges together graphics and gameplay in one mind-blowing experience.
As evidenced with the 30 minute gameplay demonstration above, we're not just looking at either-or, we're looking at true new-generation gameplay with open-world environments, horse that take random dumps on the ground, sheep that bleat around, guys who take breaks and nap on tables, environmental-based CQC takedowns, common-sense ways to exploit stealth such as hiding on the side of a horse or busting out the back-end of a cardboard box, as well as things such as utilizing the DualShock 4 for in-game interactivity.
On the graphics front, we see visual effects actually playing a part in how the gameplay is affected, with dust storms disrupting visibility (something that could potentially be used to a player's advantage) as well as weather playing to the advantage or disadvantage of air support, including calling in for airdrops or using the Fulton to recruit or commandeer assets. The weather effects also look gorgeous in this game and probably happen to be some of the best real-time weather effects seen in a console title.
What's more is that the environments, the animals, the characters and animations all look top-tier, and Kojima and crew managed to accomplish this feat while getting the game to run at native 1080p and 60 frames per second on the PlayStation 4. In fact, the PS4 will be running Metal Gear Solid V at double the resolution of the Xbox One, rendering 1.1 million more pixels per second than the Xbox One. Some people may say they don't see a difference between native 720p and native 1080p but if you can afford a television (or you're playing on a large monitor) the difference is practically night and day.
Speaking of night and day, the game uses the real-time open-world cycle to great effect. We see NPC routes change, you get more-or-less coverage for your stealth activities, as well as a different visual take on the large scale environment.
Quite naturally, a lot of gamers are probably going to be concerned with the final quality of the game given that it's supposed to be – for as far as we can tell – a cross-generational release. As we all know, these kind of games do not turn out in favor of those who have invested in new-gen consoles.
So far, Metal Gear Solid V is looking exceptionally good and the transition from cinematics to in-game play with nary a spot in the LOD loading is a marvelous showcase of the technical capabilities of the Fox Engine (although, not to be nitpicky, but you could see some of the LOD transitioning with a bit of pop-in from the environment when viewing large areas, such as when Big Boss was leaving via helicopter). It's some impressive technology, no doubt.
Right now, The Phantom Pain has a lot to live up to based on what's been showcased. The base-building, online component and open-world gameplay almost seem overwhelming to take in. While some gamers might have complained about the short length of Ground Zeroes, I have to say that it's a great rental teaser for what The Phantom Pain is aiming to achieve.