Continuing Metal Gear tradition, there’s a shadowy government organisation at the heart of Metal Gear Survive. Wardenclyffe Section are a research arm of the US government and it’s them who send you through the wormhole void in search of Mother Base survivors.
, fans of the series may be disappointed.
Metal Gear Survive takes place between Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain, seeing you take control of one of the Mother Base soldiers left behind by Big Boss. In the reveal trailer for Survive, we saw that, after Big Boss’s helicopter went down, a great wormhole opened over the burning wreckage of Mother Base and pulled through structures and soldiers before closing.
The Metal Gear series has always been about great story-based, single-player experiences, which is why Konami's decision to make Metal Gear into a co-op survival experience with Metal gear Survive was concerning. Today Konami released a trailer with an extensive look at Metal Gear Survive's single-player campaign and, unsurprisingly, it's all about survival.
Yuji Korekado, a producer on Metal Gear Survive, opens the video by explaining that Metal Gear Survive, a spin-off from Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, will take place in an alternate timeline from the mainline Metal Gear games. The survival spinoff starts where Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes ended, with the destruction of Mother Base by the villainous XOF organization. Just as the base is destroyed, a wormhole opens up and sucks in debris and soldiers alike into an alternate world. As a Mother Base soldier, players narrowly escape this fate, but several months later they are tasked with entering the wormhole and establishing a forward operating base by a mysterious organization.
After this wacky setup, the campaign quickly sets up Metal Gear Survive's resource harvesting and base-building mechanics. True to its name, Metal Gear Survive features a lot of elements taken from the survival genre. You'll have to hunt animals, cook food, gather resources, and build defenses like electric fences and turrets in order to survive against wanderers, the crystal-headed definitely-not-zombies that occupy this alternate world.
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There are main missions and side missions in the single player campaign, however Korekado focuses much more on the Base Camp, Metal Gear Survive's version of Mother Base. The Base Camp will be your home and throughout both the multiplayer and single player you'll be able to add defenses, farm crops, and create resource development facilities in order to increase its strength. Much like in the Phantom Pain, you'll also be able to recruit people and assign them to different teams within your base to increase its capabilities.
The trailer also notes that single player will be inextricably linked with multiplayer in several ways. Ammo is scarce, which means there is an increased focus on melee weapons and bows. Many of these weapons, including a flaming baseball bat, can be crafted using recipes, which can only be accessed through the co-op multiplayer portion of the game. The hardest enemies and missions can only be tackled in multiplayer. Any resources gathered in multiplayer can be used to build your personal Base Camp.
Metal Gear Survive might have the Phantom Pain's combat and visuals, but it's clearly a different beast. We still have yet to see how the survival elements and multiplayer-focused design will pan out, but we'll see if Metal Gear Survive is a worthwhile game in its own right when it launches on February 20.
If you're curious or excited to get your hands on Metal Gear Survive, you can try the beta when .
I get it. I was as skeptical as anyone. When Konami that Metal Gear would be continuing (without series creator Hideo Kojima) as a zombie/sruvival game, I was not interested. However, after playing Metal Gear Survive at E3, I've changed my tune a bit. Though a 20-minute demo isn't enough time to offer a full endorsement, I no longer question the game's right to exist - and neither should you. Here's why.
Familiar Foundation Metal Gear Survive generally uses the same control systems Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain - meticulously polished and executed games. After being refined during the course of Metal Gear Solid V's development, this control scheme still feels great. If you're familiar with MGS V, you'll be comfortable with Metal Gear Survive almost immediately. Responsive and intuitive gameplay is something that studios struggle to achieve, so starting with that already in place gives Metal Gear Survive a leg up.
Cool Gadgets I played a team-oriented defense mode, and during breaks between waves, players have the chance to fortify the base with various traps including barricades, oil slicks, and spinning blades. You also have weapons like remote-activated C4, which helped me eliminate several groups of enemies rushing our base. My favorite, however, was a Walker Gear that I obtained by running out to do a side objective between waves. Just like in MGS V, Walker Gears are highly mobile, and mine came with a powerful machine gun and melee attack that made me feel like a one-man army.
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It's Fun I had a surprisingly good time with moment-to-moment gameplay in Metal Gear Survive. It controls well, provides more tactical options than I expected, and has potential for interesting teamwork among allies. Because I only had a short time with the game, I can't speak to the long-term progression or other ways that it could keep players interested, but the one round I spent defending a generator from encroaching waves of zombies was a lot of fun.
Single-Player Though Konami has only highlighted the multiplayer experience so far, the game will also launch with a single-player mode. I didn't get to see it in action, but the company says it will focus on players using a variety of survival techniques, including building a base camp and collecting resources.
But... Even considering all of that, I'm still not completely sure who this game is for. As a longtime Metal Gear fan, I'm not particularly drawn to the story or the apparent focus on multiplayer. But I'm also not sure that Metal Gear Survive's vision for its world and modes is going to pull in fans of shooters or survival games. I can't ignore the baggage and expectations that come along with the Metal Gear name, but the fact that it faces an identity crisis doesn't negate Metal Gear Survive's solid mechanics.
Metal Gear Survive is scheduled to release in early 2018 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
Star Wars Battlefront II's multiplayer didn't debut on a planet Poe Dameron frequents, or a place Jyn Erso calls home. Rather than piggybacking off of the recent success shared by the films Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Battlefront II's first multiplayer map takes gamers to the prequel era, and more specifically to where the gungans roam.
The map is called Assault on Theed, and is set in the heart of the capital city of Naboo, which is also home to Queen Amidala. Don't expect to see gungans saving the day through accidental actions, or even the queen's forces setting up a blockade outside of the throne room. This is not their fight, and it isn't a battle George Lucas dreamed up for The Phantom Menace. We are instead treated to a new conflict that sees the Separatists' robotic forces clashing against the Republic's clone army. If you're trying to work out when this battle takes place in the Star Wars timeline, don't. Darth Maul eventually reveals himself as a threat, as does Boba Fett, and then Rey and Han Solo show up to defeat them. This is not a canonical fight, and is instead a strange, but awesome mishmash of Star Wars eras.
Seeing Darth Maul end Rey's life hurt my Star Wars brain, but didn't rattle me enough to detour the fun I had with Battlefront II's multiplayer at this year's EA Play. Suited up as a clone trooper, the first few seconds of play brought me back to 2015's Battlefront release - offering a similar feel in control - but everything that followed was quite different. Many aspects of the Battlefront experience have been reworked, all for the better.
Don't expect much downtime on the battlefield. The point of engagement with enemy forces is faster, perhaps from spawn points being located closer to the conflicts, or missions doing a better job of funneling both factions to the same choke point. After a short sprint from my spawn location, I was always right back into the heart of the action.
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You also won't see players dashing away from a conflict to pick up a token that will grant them use of a vehicle or hero character. Tokens are no longer littered across the battlefield. Players now earn Battle Points that are used to purchase vehicles or alternative characters. You'll need to die to reach the Battle Point store, which is a little puzzling, but may lead to interesting strategies in determining the best time to throw yourself into a laser beam. In this one particular match, a clone trooper could exchange 500 Points for a N-1 Starfighter, 750 for a V-Wing, 1,000 for the AT-RT, 2,000 for a Clone Jumptrooper (which plays a little like Boba Fett), and 5,000 for either Han Solo or Rey. This new economy pushes you to play better (as you'll earn Points faster), and also ensures everyone has a shot at every vehicle and hero. I also liked how people in our match sat on Points until the final push of the battle, which resulted in all of the heroes clashing at once. It sent the intensity level through the roof.
All of these additions make for a better multiplayer experience, but the biggest game changer is the reworked class system. Given players could sculpt their load out and essentially make their own classes in Battlefront, I didn't think default classes would make much of a difference, but they completely changed the way I played. The four classes are Assault, Heavy, Officer, and Specialist; each delivering more Battle Points when their abilities are used successfully.
The Assault class is your standard trooper, both mobile and well suited for short and mid-range conflicts. The default weapon is the CR-2 blaster, which fires off rounds quickly, and the back up rifle is slower in speed, but better suited for mid-range encounters. The Assault class is equipped with thermal detonators, and various disruption techniques.
I spent most of my time with the Heavy class trooper, which moves slower, and essentially functions as a walking turret. A heavy trooper can deploy a personal shield that appears in front of them and offers protection to their head and torso (their legs and backside are fully exposed). Their weapons rattle don't overheat as quickly and unload rounds. One of the Heavy abilities is a Gatling Gun-like mode that unleashes a short burst of chaos upon the opposition.
If a team is playing well, you'll likely see lightly garbed Officers positioned behind the Heavy and Assault classes. The Officer plays the role of support, and is only equipped with a pistol, but can deploy sentry turrets, and boost trooper health.
Well removed from the heart of the battle (and likely lurking in the shadows) are the Specialists, a class that basically functions like a sniper. Specialists have the least amount of health, and their weapons are slow in firing, but deal a great deal of damage when shots land. They can protect their nests with trip mines, and boost their speed to flee should an enemy breach their perimeter.
In the opening phase of this battle my team was tasked to stop a slow-moving, yet highly armored multi-troop transport (MTT). To accomplish this goal, we needed to lower its shield first. The only way to do this is to use Ion launchers. No class is equipped with them, so you'll need to hunt for these weapons (which are highlighted on your HUD). The influx of the Separatists' ground and air support made this task difficult, especially given the Ion launcher needs a few seconds to charge up before it fires. You're fully exposed in this moment, and I died several times waiting for it to heat up. We weren't able to stop the transport, which would have won the game for us, and were forced to retreat into the queen's palace to stop the Separatist invasion from spreading further into Theed.
This is where I noticed the classes were changing the dynamic of war. When the doors opened, two Heavy units marched forward with shields raised, holding off our fire long enough for other troopers to funnel in behind them. Our Specialists played a nice role in holding the perimeter with turrets, but we were once again pushed back. The Separatist army seized both points in this area, which earned them another victory condition. Their final goal was to seize the throne room. Again, the funneling of action was impressive. The match started out in a wide open area, become timate with action unfolding in two enclosed spaces, and concluded with all troops assaulting the same location.
The Separatist army flooded into the throne room, which is remarkably small given how many troops occupied it at once. The battle quickly transformed into madness rocked by explosions, bodies flying through the air, and lightsabers dashing through the darkness.
In this moment I had the chance to play as Rey, but my time with her was short lived. Along with standard lightsaber slashes, Rey can dash forward with the saber, use the Force to gain visual insight as to where the enemies are located, and use her mind trick to bend their will. I used my standard and dash attacks to chop down a few battle droids, but wasn't able to use any other powers before Darth Maul chopped Rey to bits. One thing to note: I don't think Rey was wielding Luke's old lightsaber. Does she build this one in Star Wars: The Last Jedi? Time will tell.
In each of the three combat phases both forces have a limited number of troopers, which are replenished if a victory condition is earned. The number of troops for your team are highlighted on the top of the screen, but oddly, you cannot see how many bodies are left on the opposing side. If your troop reserve is depleted the battle is over.
As intense as the throne room standoff was, my match ended without notice. I sprinted into through a doorway and the word "VICTORY" flashed onto screen. Given just how heated the battle was in the final seconds, this was an anti-climatic way to finish it. I had no idea why we won, and assumed it must have come from the Separatists running out of troops. I hope the final game does a better job of informing the player that the battle's conclusion is imminent, or at least outlines how the victory condition was achieved.
I was mighty impressed with Star Wars Battlefront II's multiplayer showing. It was just one map and one mode, but it was more entertaining than anything I experienced in the original Battlefront game. Electronic Arts said it listened to fans' requests for a single-player campaign, but attention was also clearly paid to the frustrations people experienced with multiplayer. All of the changes add up to a much more satisfying and varied experience.
Star Wars Battlefront II launches on Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PC on November 17.
Your first glimpse of Star Wars: Battlefront II gameplay is just around the corner, and now we know what you’ll be seeing. At E3 on June 10, EA will show the Assault on Theed.
For more space operatics, sample one of the .
In case you’re not cool enough to know all about Star Wars, Theed is the capital of Naboo, and featured heavily in Episode I: The Phantom Menace. It’s a beautiful city of lakes, vines, and soaring golden buildings, and should make a dramatic setting for the battle.