Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

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The highly anticipated Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is finally here, but unfortunately it was over before I knew what hit me. Despite the length, Ground Zeroes’ combat and stealth gameplay is easily the deepest and most enjoyable in the series to date. Regardless of my enjoyment of the game, there’s no hiding the fact that Ground Zeroes is a glorified demo with a hard to justify price tag.

The plot is very simple: Big Boss must infiltrate a prison camp and rescue Chico and Paz. If you have been following press releases and demos for the past couple of years, chances are you have seen basically everything the main mission has to offer minus a big moment that I won’t spoil. The tone of Ground Zeroes is considerably darker than any other Metal Gear game, and it definitely left me shocked.

I finished the campaign in just under 3 hours, but my time would have been cut in half if I hadn’t embarrassingly overlooked the objective that was right under my nose the entire time. After the main mission there are several side missions revisiting Camp Omega that will extend your playtime if you care to do so. Additionally, audio tapes and XOF logos are scattered throughout Camp Omega in the main mission; collecting all XOF unlocks a bonus console exclusive mission.

MGSVVehicle

Freedom is a major point on display in Ground Zeroes’ new approach to stealth. An open world environment replaces the traditional linear progression, and it presents a ton of new possibilities. There are many ways to infiltrate Camp Omega and you are given the freedom to complete your mission any way you like. Sure, simply sneaking around on foot is effective, but you can also hide in the back of a patrol vehicle or highjack said vehicle (or a tank) to cause some damage. There is no wrong way to execute your missions, but a higher rating will be achieved with a stealthy, non lethal approach.

If you prefer a more action oriented experience, combat is the best it’s ever been in a Metal Gear game.  Snake’s movement is faster and more fluid which is essential for evading enemy fire. To add to fluidity, health now regenerates when in cover, replacing any menu screen interruptions caused by health item consumption in past games. Healing sprays replace rations, but are used in limited amounts with a single button press to heal any major damage received. Being discovered by enemies is much more intense this time around, and Snake needs all the help he can get.

Regardless of playstyle it’s important to observe your surroundings. It quickly became apparent that binoculars are an essential tool for your survival. There are no radar screens to track enemies.  Instead Snake must tag enemies by observing them through binoculars. Tagged soldiers stay highlighted for the entire mission helping you to keep track of their position.  If a guard does happen to discover you, the game will briefly enter a slow motion state, giving you the opportunity to take down the alerted guard before the rest are notified. This helps even the playing field, because if you prefer stealth, like me, you really don’t want to enter alert mode.

GRAPHICS

I played the PS3 version, but the new FOX engine still looks amazing. It’s certainly one of the best looking games to come out for the PS3 and Xbox 360. The PS4 and Xbox One look even better from what I’ve seen.

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SOUND

It will take time to get used to Kiefer Sutherland as Snake, which is odd because every other character retains the same voice actor. Sutherland sounded uninspired and it has me worried for The Phantom Pain. Snake speaks little, so the verdict is still out on Sutherland’s performance.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The length of the main mission is the only real problem I have with the game, otherwise <em>MGS: Ground Zeroes</em> and the future release of The Phantom Pain is shaping up to be the most fun and exciting game of the series. If Ground Zeroes was a free demo or a $10 purchase across all sources it wouldn’t be a big deal. Compared to other prologues in the series, the story didn’t seem as complete, and was over in no time. Paying $20 or $30 is not worth the price, and I recommend waiting for a price drop. The worst part about the pricing is the possibility of setting a dangerous precedent, and I hope no trends were set.

Pros

  • Best controls in the series
  • Graphics look amazing
  • More Metal Gear Solid

Cons

  • Too short for a potentially $30 game
  • No David Hayter as Snake

 

Style – Single-player, stealth action-adventure

Publisher – Konomi

Developer – Kojima Productions

Release – March 2014


 

JUNKIE SCORES
  • 5.0 – Gameplay
  • 5.0 – Graphics
  • 4.0 – Sound
  • 3.0 – Entertainment
  • 3.0 – Replay Value

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