Kept you waiting huh? The latest title in the long running, critically acclaimed Metal Gear franchise is finally here, titled Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (GZ).
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Once again, you are in control of Big Boss aka Naked Snake in this outing. Set in March 1975, the game follows immediately after Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker where Snake is sent to infiltrate an American black site, Camp Omega. His mission is to extract Paz Ortega Andrade, who has information regarding the location of Cipher and Chico, a Sandinista and former child soldier who was captured by Skull Face, a shadowy commander of the XOF unit. Snake is supported by Kazuhira Miller in this mission.
Unlike the previous Metal Gear titles, this game is open world.
It is not the same open world as the Assassin’s Creed series or the Grand Theft Auto series where your character already exists in this huge sandbox from where you take missions. In Ground Zeroes, you have a Mission Select menu where you choose a mission and then you are placed in this open world where you have an objective and you are free to choose which course of action to take and how you wish to proceed to complete the objective.
While the open world may come as a shock to some fans, I really enjoy the open world in GZ. The ability to choose your own path to the objective is really great. You can use the iDroid, the menu/map interface during the game, to plan out your route and reach your objective accordingly. Hideo Kojima definitely did not disappoint in making this the “Stealth Simulator in the open world”.
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Kojima Productions didn’t slouch in the graphics department too. They promised to go for a photorealistic game experience and they certainly managed to do just that. The character models and the environments in the game look scarily realistic and it’s even bordering the uncanny valley. You might find yourself staring at the impressive visuals for some time even.
The controls in Ground Zeroes feel the tightest amongst the entire series as well. The triggers are used to ready the weapon and fire; the directional buttons are used for the weapons and items instead of the triggers now, which feel like a much needed upgrade. You even have the ability to run (L3) and quick dive (R2)! Most of the controls have been streamlined in Ground Zeroes for better or worse.
My only gripe is that rolling is mapped to the L3 which makes it uncomfortable to do so and because of the streamlined controls, quite a few actions are mapped to the same button which may confuse the game when you have two actions you can do and the game selects the wrong one.
Some of the older features were removed from the game, which I did not enjoy, as they were some key features which stood out in the franchise. Mainstays such as the wall knock and even the Cardboard Box are not in the game at all! You aren’t allowed to use your knife as a melee weapon either. At the least you can throw your empty magazine to replace the knock but the lack of a box is a little disappointing. It will return in The Phantom Pain however.
The game’s traditional health and stamina gauge were removed as well to make way for a shooter style bleeding screen. This is one change I don’t appreciate. Sure the rations were a cheesy way to heal health but I much prefer being able to see the health gauge of my character instead of a bleeding screen. I can’t see the stamina gauge of the enemies as well so I don’t know how long they’re knocked out. It’s a shame it was removed to create a HUD-less game screen.
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The main complaint many have with Ground Zeroes is the length. Before I continue I will say that the game only has 7 missions. One is actual Ground Zeroes mission, four of them are side missions and the last two are the Deja-Vu and Jamais-Vu mission. You could probably clear them all within a day or take your own sweet time. The game does have challenges in the way of trials where you can have bragging rights amongst all the players. You can also try different ways of approaching the missions as you originally would. Ultimately it is up to you to decide how long you want to enjoy the game.
I am glad that Kojima Productions are taking suggestions to improve the game for The Phantom Pain at least. So expect to see improvements when it comes around to it’s release. In all, Kojima Productions has made a fantastic start to Metal Gear’s next gen approach. While it lacks content in the way of mission variety and story content, the gameplay and re-playability makes up for that. Diehards will definitely need to get their hands on this title. It is a Solid experience in an affordable price range.
Recommend? – YES!
[hr]Details: Title: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (メタルギアソリッド5：グラウンド・ゼロズ) Platform: Playstation 4, Xbox One, Playstation 3, Xbox 360 Players: 1 Developer: Kojima Productions Publisher: Konami Release Date: 18th March 2014/20th March 2014 (EN/JP)