If you pay any attention to the internet, you may have noticed some rather glowing write-ups of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain [official site]. You may also have noticed some quibbling and equivocating about the appearance of microtransactions in the Forward Operating Base competitive multiplayer mode. Yes, that's a PvP mode called F.O.B. that may be fobbing people off with in-game purchases to speed things along. Below, I've gathered what information I can about those pesky microtransactions and explained why we haven't been able to pass judgement on the game yet.
Let's deal with the premium currency first. Many (if not all) of the reviews that are already online were written by journalists who were forced to play MGS V for eight hours every day, in regimented timeslots, while under instructions to share only the information that was deemed necessary by Konami higher-ups. Far from being a work experience course, this was a four-day review event, in which writers attempted to complete a sprawling open-world stealth game within a strict time limit. Or chose to do a review-in-progress instead, savouring the experience.
However they decided to play, none of them had access to the game's online features, so the cost of "MB Coins" and their precise utility isn't known. GameSpot spotted something in the water though - parcels of space to expand the base into that the player can purchase with the MB Coins. Back in June, Konami confirmed that the game would include microtransactions to speed the process of unlocking certain items and features, but that everything would be available to players who didn't spend a single MotherBaseBuck. Senior producer Kenichiro Imaizumi seemed to confirm this a couple of weeks ago. At best, that means you'll be able to ignore the in-game currency. At worst, it makes me queasily think I might have to press my face to the grindstone in order to compete or make progress.
It's worth keeping in mind that all of this relates to the competitive element of the base-building rather than the actual Metal Gear Online experience, which won't be available until October on console and January on PC. The simple fact is that we can't say anything for sure until we can play the game with online features enabled and right now, we haven't been able to play the game at all.
We're told that PC code will be with us as soon as it's available but no date has been given by Konami. As soon as we receive it, we'll have somebody playing in what we refer to as the Ludovico Chamber and we'll have extensive thoughts on every aspect of the game as soon as possible.
My early impressions based on what I'm reading? It sounds like emergent systems-driven events have almost entirely replaced cutscenes, and that's as exciting as it is unexpected. What I'd read about Ground Zeroes had prepared me for interesting times but I thought the main game might hide its more appealing qualities under a crate. Or a bushel of cutscenes.