Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is an action-adventure, stealth game in which players take the role of Punished “Venom” Snake from a third-person perspective in an open world environment. The gameplay elements were largely unchanged from Ground Zeroes, meaning that players will have to sneak from several points in the game world, avoiding enemy guards, and remaining undetected. Included in Snake’s repertoire are binoculars, maps, a variety of weapons, explosives, and stealth-based items such as cardboard boxes and decoys. Following one of the series traditions, The Phantom Pain encourages players to progress through the game without killing, using non-lethal weapons such as tranquilizer darts to subdue enemies.
Players may traverse the game world with vehicles such as jeeps and tanks, in addition to traveling on foot or on horseback, and as certain locations are mountainous, occasionally, players can opt to go rock climbing as a shortcut. They may call for helicopter support against enemy soldiers or request airstrikes that can bomb the target area or change the current weather. Snake can call on AI companions—including Quiet, a silent female sniper with supernatural abilities; D-Horse, a horse with a customizable saddle for carrying more equipment in the field; D-Walker, a manned, highly agile mobile weapons platform that can provide heavy weapons support; and D-Dog, a wolf pup raised and trained on the new Mother Base to assist him in the field. The companions’ abilities and their effectiveness will depend on the player’s relationship with them. There is a large emphasis based on tactics in The Phantom Pain.