Metal Gear Solid V Ground Zeroes – Review and Game Analysis
By Christopher Jester
Developer: Kojima Productions
Director: Hideo Kojima
Producers: Hideo Kojima, Kenichiro Imaizumi
Designer: Hideo Kojima
Programmer: Junji Tago
Artists: Yoji Shinkawa, Ikuya Nakamura
Writers: Hideo Kojima, Shuyo Murata, Hidenari Inamura
Composers: Harry Gregson-Williams, Akihiro Honda, Ludvig Forssell
Engine: Fox Engine
Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Release Date: March 18, 2014
Genre: Action-adventure, stealth
Let us get one point out of the way first. Yes, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is just as short as reports had stated. This reviewer’s first play through the game only took 80 minutes to finish and that was with a couple of side quests completed and one death; whilst also taking out time for other aspects for this review. With that said, if you’re playing MGSV for a full-fledged campaign or story mode, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Ground Zeroes is a bonafide tutorial to the next installment – The Phantom Pain. Even with that being the case, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is a fun and entertaining experience; albeit a short one.
In this iteration, you’re back as Snake aka “Big Boss”. Sometime after the events of Peace Walker, Big Boss is drawn into an excursion to infiltrate an outpost to rescue Chico and Paz. This will act as the player’s main two goals, which is ultimately fulfilled in an open sandbox. This sort of freedom provides a nerve-wrecking experience as you scout throughout the outpost in search for your comrades with enemies nearly at every corner. Sneaking in the shadows and crawling like the reptile of the character’s namesake has never been truer.
Believe it or not, there is a lot to do on this small island. Yes, you can probably complete the main story in less than an hour but for purist aiming to unlock everything, you’ll find ample enough reason to revisit the main story. Collecting patches, saving refugees from capture, among many more side quests – this could increase the time spent playing the story for at least a couple of hours.
Exploration pays off, especially after using CQC on patrolling guards and interrogating them. These guards will give out useful information about your main quest or other goodies like locations of collectibles or armories for weapon caches.
Giving that extra time to explore Omega Base, the host of this little adventure, assists in viewing the beauty of this game. MGSV is absolutely stunning visually. Whether on the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, you’ll be able to admire the work put into the direction of this particular outing. Water crashing into the crags is realistic and thunderous. Rain dropping onto Snake’s sleek sneak suit is lifelike. You could spend an hour alone just taking into the gorgeous graphics.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is the gameplay itself. Simply put, it is responsive and fast but can be taken as slow and tactful as expected in any Metal Gear Solid game. There is not a visible map in the HUD. Instead, Big Boss has binoculars where he can spot and add a visual cue of the enemies as he stalks around the fort. This becomes quite useful in this sandbox, as often times you will find yourself needing to recon an area before going in. Enemies are scattered, and even change patrol shifts at certain points. Using the binoculars assist in keeping an eye on the enemies while on the move.
While not exactly a big deal as you continue through the story, it is initially a bit jarring not to hear David Hayter providing the voice for Snake. As good as Kiefer Sutherland’s gravitas and gritty voice performance is as Big Boss, it does take a while to get used to. With very little time as Big Boss, Sutherland has a hard time to capture the role as Hayter did over all those years. It took some guts for Hideo Kojima to want to give Boss his own voice, but it did take away from the iconic character a bit.
Those wondering if there is more to do once the main story is completed within an hour or more can be rest assured that there is a ton of other options for you. Once the main story is completed, there are other missions that you can undertake with its own objectives and quests. This can create another 10 or more hours with Ground Zeroes; although the story ends with the main missions until The Phantom Pain is released. While the missions are not as sophisticated as the one experienced in the main story, they are an entertaining bunch of missions that can alleviate that empty feeling once the ending of the main story is witnessed.
So, yes Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is short. But yes, it is also as good as you hoped it to be. Snake/Big Boss returns in a short prologue to The Phantom Pain but it is a blast to play as the legendary soldier again. Withstanding its noticeable drawback, Ground Zeroes is an experience that you should not pass up and is worth playing in order to prepare for the greatness that should be Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
PunchDrunkGamer.com Final Score: 7.5 out 10
Follow Christopher “sLapDatSuCKa” Jester on Twitter @sLapDatSuCka
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