Metal Gear Online is a troll's paradise, and it's amazing

Don't be fooled by Metal Gear Online's ability to disguise itself as a typical, third-person multiplayer game. MGO has that special Metal Gear quirkiness you inherit from Fulton balloons, cardboard boxes, and D-Dog plushies. When an online match is filled with players who all have the items and abilities of Snake, one element of play is sure to thrive: trolling. But instead of trying to master the trolls, MGO embraces them, making its online matches unlike any other game.

Sure, MGO covers all the usual bases too. There are game modes reminiscent of traditional multiplayer modes like deathmatch, domination, and capture the flag. It has all of the features to make an entertaining, generic multiplayer component: progression system, solid shooting mechanics, and tons of character customization options, but there's so much more to it than that.

Metal Gear Online gives you all of the moves and abilities Snake has in The Phantom Pain. You can slam enemies on the ground, interrogate them to find enemy locations, Fulton them off the map, knock people unconscious, and use them as bullet shields. The versatility is astounding, and having such a diverse moveset allows you to do all sorts of debilitating things to your opponents. If you have the skill, you can troll your enemies until they cry.

If you manage to get the jump on a lone sniper, you could sneak up, slit their throat and move on. BORING. Why not knock them out and mess with their mind instead? When they're unconscious, they view the world from a first-person perspective, mashing buttons to wake up. While that struggle happens, you can do things like, hmm ... place a C4 bomb right in front of their face while they're out, giving them a clear picture of what's going to happen when they wake. Just being able to add these small touches to your kills makes trolling something that should, no, must be done.

With more play in MGO you can unlock gadgets that will up your trolling game. As you play matches, get kills, Fulton other players, or tag enemies with your binoculars, you get experience points and GP (the game's currency), which you spend on items like guns, decoys, and Fulton mines. You can even purchase an adorable D-Dog plushie toy that stuns enemies when they look at it. As pink hearts float around their head, you just know they're seething with anger inside.

You can keep players in a stunned state using multiple gadgets. If you tranquilize an enemy and place a plushie in front of their face, they'll get a nice wakeup call: love struck by the cute puppy toy and frozen in place. That's your chance choke them out again, set bombs all around, or just stun them again to continue the cycle. Your enemy is at your mercy and there's nothing they can do about it.

In every match, one player is selected to play a hero character, each with special loadouts and abilities. If you're lucky enough to get randomly selected to play as one of the heroes, even more trolling options open up - and they're built right into the character's abilities. Ocelot uses his gunslinger skills to wreck opponents on the battlefield. If an enemy is tagged, Ocelot can shoot his pistols at any nearby wall, sending the bullets into their target with a ricochet. You don't even need to face other enemy players to kill them, giving you the chance to set up a perfect "gotcha" moment.

Alternatively, you can go in with Ocelot's shield, pistol, and sensor grenade loadout. When you toss the sensor grenade - which marks nearby enemies - and fire your pistol into the air, the bullets home into the marked targets, allowing you to block incoming fire with the shield and shoot curving bullets from safety. You make yourself tough to kill and make your enemies easy targets. Sure, it seems incredibly overpowered, but the hero abilities feel within character, making them a unique combatant and a blast to use.

Even MGO's game modes encourage the trolling mentality. Bounty Hunter mode has players racking up kills to reduce the other team's tickets, like you would in a standard Deathmatch, but as players dispatch opponents they also build up their bounty score. If that player with the high bounty score gets Fultoned by the other team, that score is refunded to their tickets. Eventually, the match turns and players begin to forego kills and go for stuns and Fultons - sometimes continuously stunning a high bounty player as they try to get a clear Fulton launch. Players start resorting to sprinting shield bashes, CQC ground slams, and precision tranquilizer shots. But those who get more creative can also find success. I saw one player equip a cardboard box on top of a hill, dive down the slope, and slide into two enemies like they were bowling pins. They were out.

Some of the best trolling can come from a simple taunt, which I witnessed during a Cloak and Dagger match. In this game mode, the attacking team plays the part of stealthy infiltrators, giving them stealth camouflage, non-lethal weapons, and the goal of capturing a data disk to upload into a terminal. The defending team, meanwhile has lethal weapons and must eliminate the other team. I saw a defending team eliminate all but one attacker, but when they finally found him ... they didn't kill him. The nearby defenders put the poor man to sleep with a gas grenade, attached a Fulton balloon and all saluted while his unconscious body floated away. Trolls.

Metal Gear Online doesn't put any constraints on your gameplay style, but rather sets you free with a diverse ability set and inventory. MGO makes no apologies for allowing the ridiculous and hilarious troll tactics players are capable of, and that's a great thing. This level of freedom in a competitive multiplayer game means you worry less about your kill-to-death ratio and focus on the exciting moments of the match - like getting revengeance on the guy that made a fool out of you last round. If you aren't trolling your fellow gamers any chance you get in Metal Gear Online, you just aren't doing it right.

Lorenzo Veloria

Many years ago, Lorenzo Veloria was a Senior Editor here at GamesRadar+ helping to shape content strategy. Since then, Lorenzo has shifted his attention to Future Plc's broader video game portfolio, working as a Senior Brand Marketing Manager to oversee the development of advertising pitches and marketing strategies for the department. He might not have all that much time to write about games anymore, but he's still focused on making sure the latest and greatest end up in front of your eyes one way or another.