There's been a lot of discussion when it comes to the upcoming release of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. As a franchise, whenever Hideo Kojima announces a new Metal Gear Solid game, there's a lot of buzz. People generally know what to expect and they know it will be good. However, The Phantom Pain is easily one of the most anticipated Metal Gear games of all time. Let's take a look at what actually makes The Phantom Pain more anticipated than previous Metal Gear Solid titles.

Open World

The biggest enhancement to the tried and true MGS formula is the fact that The Phantom Pain offers an open world experience. Players have a lot more freedom in The Phantom Pain and that not only impacts how the story plays out, but also how the enemy AI reacts to you and how you have to handle certain missions.

Instead of being offered one way into a base, players can come at the fortification from a variety of vantage points. Things change based on the time of day, weather conditions, whether or not you've played this mission before and many other variables. It's a constantly changing and adapting system that we've never seen in a Metal Gear Solid game (at least not to this level of detail).

Graphics

Metal Gear Solid 5 was announced before Sony and Microsoft officially unveiled the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. However, the visuals from that first trailer were clearly well beyond anything that could be done on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It was obviously a next-generation title, and that meant MGS5 was the first look at next-gen visuals for a great number of gamers.

When you add in the masterful cinematic flair that Hideo Kojima loves so much, that first trailer seemed as if you were watching a CG cutscene. As good as Metal Gear Solid 4 looked, this just blew it completely out of the water. Many people wanted to question if what they were seeing was in-game or CG. It set the bar for next-gen visuals that has yet to be passed (although Uncharted 4 looks to be close).

Realism

Alongside the graphical prowess of The Phantom Pain, there's a sense of realism that has never been matched in a previous Metal Gear title. It's still a game, and Kojima's sense of humor removes a bit of realism from time to time (a solider knows a woman drawn on a box when they see one), but there's far more realism in The Phantom Pain than we've seen in previous games in the series.

Sure you can still pick up a tank with a small balloon and send it back to your base, but if you put that kind of thing aside there's still a lot more realism here to engross the player. Weather changes randomly and that impacts how you have to take on a mission. Enemies get smarter with each play through, meaning you have to modify and improve your tactics. Real-world problem solving actually applies to The Phantom Pain instead of having to think about what would work in a video game world.

Story

Metal Gear Solid has always been story-heavy and that hasn't always worked out for the best (MGS2). From the very first MGS5 trailer, people were speculating about which characters were included and how the story played out. Placing Big Boss front and center made people excited for what was to come.

With the new open world gameplay and the power of the current generation hardware, The Phantom Pain tells the story of Big Boss in a way that wasn't possible before. Even with all of the technical advancements of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, comparing MGS4 to MGS5 is like apples to oranges. So much more can be done with the current generation of consoles and that's been made clear through all of the trailers that have been released. This is the story Metal Gear fans have been waiting for.

Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain is set to release within the next few months, stay tuned to Prima Games for more coverage and a complete walkthrough.