Metal Gear Online: Anything goes in free-for-all arena

With Metal Gear Online, you can climb into a two-legged Walker Gear machine and go for a head-on assault or, if you prefer something subtler, sneak up on them in stealth mode and knife them in the back.
With Metal Gear Online, you can climb into a two-legged Walker Gear machine and go for a head-on assault or, if you prefer something subtler, sneak up on them in stealth mode and knife them in the back.PHOTO: KONAMI

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has been out for nearly a month now, but the online multiplayer mode of the game was playable for the first time at Tokyo Game Show (TGS).

Metal Gear Online takes everything fun about Metal Gear Solid V and unleashes it in a free-for-all arena. You can now "Fulton" enemies, which means attaching a balloon to their unconscious bodies and watch them shoot into the sky.

You can sneak up on someone in stealth mode and knife them in the back or, if you prefer a less subtle approach, climb into a two-legged Walker Gear machine and go for a head-on assault.

The charm of the latest Metal Gear is its open-world sandbox feel, where there are multiple ways to go about an objective, and there is no right or wrong way to play the game. That sort of variety is also available in Metal Gear Online.

The mode I played in at TGS was Bounty Hunter, involving a map where each eight-man team starts with a set number of tickets, which are lost each time you die.

But in true Metal Gear fashion, it is not a straightforward shoot-'em-up and, sometimes, killing an enemy may not actually be the best idea.

Instead, sneaking, hiding, non-lethal combat are all important features of the game.

This is because the number of tickets you are worth (the bounty on your head) goes up with the number of people you kill.

This bounty can be turned into tickets for the other team, but only if they knock you out and Fulton you instead of killing you straight out.

The version of the game which was playable at TGS was the Japanese version, so I started off a bit muddled when I tried to pick classes. When it releases on Oct 6, though, an English-language version will be available.

There were three classes in the demo: Enforcer, Infiltrator and Scout. Each has specialised skills, which rewards different styles of game-play.

Enforcer, the class I chose, is a frontline fighter, with a variety of weapons and higher health.

Infiltrators specialise in sneak attacks and getting in and out of the action quickly. Scouts are best at long-range fights, with upgradable sniper rifles to provide intel and cover.

Metal Gear Online is a well-balanced game, with more depth than the usual free-for-all shooters. Players can sneak around and take down enemies silently, or charge straight in and blow everything up.

Anything goes in Metal Gear Online, and that is what makes it fun.

Lisabel Ting

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 23, 2015, with the headline 'Metal Gear Online: Anything goes in free-for-all arena'. Print Edition | Subscribe