Ok so I've been playing all afternoon here are my initial impressions:
Game play is tight. Just like Ground Zeroes. Everything about Snakes movement is fluid and feels great. Graphics are also pretty outstanding, the new Fox Engine is superb. Hideo has outdone himself.
This game is 100% Peace Walker 2. Everything about it is just an expansion of Peace Walker which is fantastic. Having said that though I have a couple of things to note. In terms of Mother Base research and staff assignment, it seems to be simpler (or rather easier) than Peace Walker.
Staff appears to be automatically assigned to each section of Mother Base as soon as you get them, which in turn automatically updates and unlocks things you can research. The thing I loved about this in Peace Walker was doing it all yourself. Having said that you still have full control, but its not much point if the game does it for you. I am only a few hours in however, so It will most likely flesh out or even change.
Same goes for researching weapons and equipment. In Peace Walker, once you met the criteria to develops something, you then had to wait while the weapon/equipment was created. So you would go on a mission or two to speed up its development process. In The Phantom Pain however, whatever you choose to develop is apparently created immediately and ready for use. Again I am only a couple hours in, this may change.
It is cool that because you can research stuff even when away from Mother Base. I've already found myself in the position of needing a sniper rifle during a mission only to learn that I could research it during the mission and then get it flown out to me and dropped at my feet so I could then immediately use it. Fantastic stuff.
Heres my Mother Base so far (day 1):
Already pulled quite a good soldier too:
And heres a mission I did. It's an optional side mission so no spoilers.
Already been some slight day 1 woes though. Up until right now the servers for the game have been offline so I haven't been able to download my Ground Zeroes save data for use. What game doesn't have a hiccup or two at launch these days though. Game is also running slow now that I've logged into their servers, but this is most likely due to the load of players.