Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes on PS3, Xbox 360, PS4, Xbox One

July 22, 2014
By ninjahunter950 GOLD, Orchard Park, New York
ninjahunter950 GOLD, Orchard Park, New York
15 articles 0 photos 2 comments

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is the prelude to next year's full entry in the Metal Gear saga, The Phantom Pain. Taking place between Peace Walker and The Phantom Pain, we see Big Boss invade a Cuban base to rescue Chico, a young boy with access to important classified knowledge, and Paz, a female double agent whose true intentions are unknown. In all honesty, I question whether this is a game that truly needs to be reviewed, as it plays like much more of a glorified demo than an actual full-priced video game. However, Ground Zeroes presents enough changes and new ideas to the Metal Gear formula that it must be discussed, and it’s the only really meaty chunk of content we’ll be getting for a while, anyhow.

Ground Zeroes is the first MGS game to be constructed on Kojima’s Fox Engine, (Not the first game, that was the Konami soccer game Pro Evolution Soccer 2014) and it shows quite a bit. GZ looks and plays very differently than any game before it, but I’m not quite sure that’s a good thing. I’m not big on playing stealth games, but I’ve always been a fan of Metal Gear for it’s half-silly, half-serious, bizarre and intricate story of military espionage and nuclear weaponry. Even I can see, though, that the Metal Gear gameplay that so many people love has been dumbed down to a tremendous degree. Ground Zeroes, gameplay-wise, felt like a completely generic American third-person shooter trying to masquerade as a stealth game, like the more recent entries in the Splinter Cell series. All the quirkiness and uniqueness of the older games is completely missing here. This is part of a larger problem with the story as a whole, but more on that later. Snake no longer has a health bar, his items are limited, and the controls are simplified to an extreme degree. Metal Gear has often been criticized for it’s convoluted gameplay, but those who could see past the intricacies of the controls found really cool, fun mechanics and systems in place. This game just feels like Generic Shootbang game #215

The centerpoint of Metal Gear has always been it’s narrative, and Ground Zeroes delivers us barely anything. My issues with the gameplay are precisely the same as my issues with this game’s story and tone. Metal Gear Solid has always had an excellent mix of humor, charm, and general wackiness with serious messages and themes. There were times when the storytelling failed and the plots felt overly cheesy and silly in a bad way, (Have you played Guns of Patriots?) but it never got TOO self-serious. I used to think that 4 may have been a subpar entry in the series, and this was supported by my enjoyment of Rising. Unfortunately, now I see 4 as the shark-jumping moment for the mainline franchise. I quite enjoyed Rising, but that game was very much a spinoff of the MGS series, and took the camp value beyond any previous entry in the series. It’s goofy tone reminded me of the Clover games of old, like God Hand, which I may call my favorite game of all time. This game feels like Kojima looking at the critical praise received by Call of Duty and thinking, “I could make a game like that.” Essentially, Kojima ripped out everything that made MGS unique in the first place, leaving us with a generic, poorly written espionage tale that hardly even gives any new information.

To say a few positive words before this review closes out, Ground Zeroes is a very nice looking game. Even on last-gen consoles, (I played it on PS3) the lighting, models, and textures are all very detailed and nice looking. Shockingly, the game even keeps to a rock-steady 30fps on older consoles, despite the heavily detailed visuals and lighting systems. Kojima’s always been a technical wizard, and he pulls it off yet again in this entry of the series.

The trouble with reviewing Ground Zeroes is that there simply isn’t a lot of content in it. The gameplay “improvements” change quite a bit, but they aren’t terribly interesting. The plot is as cookie cutter and bland as possible. The graphics are pretty, but the shiny gloss is simply there to disguise the complete lack of substance in this nothing of a game. This doesn’t feel like a true entry in the series, it feels like the demo to the American remake of Metal Gear Solid. And yet, I’m still excited for the Phantom Pain. Call me a fool, but what they’ve shown has me excited, and it seems like they may be hitting that balance once again. Unfortunately, this title does not live up to the potential of Phantom Pain, or the series as a whole. 5/10

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