Arts

Metal Gear Solid Five: Ground Zeroes Review

Prologue or Tutorial? New MGS Enjoyable Not Essential

by Stephen Klein

With Ground Zeroes said to be a prologue to the upcoming main installment, The Phantom Pain, Metal Gear Solid V starts off mildly rocky.

Of course, that’s not to say that Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will be bad by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I think it will be phenomenal. I think it will be something very special.

I don’t even think Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, the prologue and first half of MGSV, is bad at all or deserving of any hate. I enjoyed playing it, at least most of the time. The problem is that there wasn’t enough of it.

I have to admit that Ground Zeroes is extremely short and that there isn’t much to the story either. Metal Gear Solid is usually known for its intricate yet incredible story, but here it’s just straightforward. Straightforward stories aren’t bad. Some would argue that Metal Gear has gotten too convoluted, but in Ground Zeroes, there’s hardly any real story.

While it is very true that Ground Zeroes is only a prologue, it is in itself a separate game. This is a great tutorial for The Phantom Pain and its new mechanics. I’m just not sure if it’s a great prologue.

Speaking of the game’s new mechanics, the revamped stealth elements feel great. I could probably go as far as saying that Ground Zeroes has all the makings of an open stealth simulator. However, I have to admit that previous Metal Gear Solid games such as MGS4, and even MGS2 and MGS3, were not as punishing for getting caught.

I understand that Metal Gear Solid is first and foremost a stealth game, but for those less skilled at using stealth, I feel as though previous installments allowed you to be slightly action-oriented in your approach. In Ground Zeroes, if one guy spots you and he’s not taken out right away, a whole army comes after you and I found it extremely difficult to escape them afterwards. I’m embarrassed to say how many times I must have failed the game’s only main mission or died trying.

Despite my mixed feelings about stripped action and increased difficulty, there is still a lot to love here even if it’s all far from perfect. For instance, I love that they added a backstory in the main menu that explains what happened in Peace Walker. While I thoroughly enjoyed Peace Walker, I feel as though it wasn’t exactly as huge a hit as other installments. Even with the backstory, I still strongly recommend that you play Peace Walker if you haven’t as I feel as though the backstory doesn’t explains things that well or does the story justice, but it is better than nothing.

In addition, the voice acting is well done. Kiefer Sutherland is not bad at all as Snake, also known as Big Boss. The music is cool too and really gets you pumped, tense, and craving action.

One thing in particular that I truly can’t fault at all would have to be the graphics. Played via my PS4, everything ran very smoothly and looked amazingly realistic. The new Fox Engine from Kojima Productions should do The Phantom Pain over very, very well.

Lastly, and this is extremely important, there is a lot of extra content unlocked once you beat Ground Zeroes and the main mission itself is certainly replayable especially if you want to experiment with the Ground Zeroes app for smartphones and tablets. I personally feel mixed on if the side content is that appealing or if I want to play the main mission over and over again, but the options are always there.

Ground Zeroes really is a good game overall. It really, really is. It’s just short, difficult, and mildly unsatisfying. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes receives an 8 out of 10.

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