Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
|a game by
|XBox 360, Playstation 3 (2014)
|8/10, based on 1 review
|9.0/10 - 2 votes
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|Hideo Kojima Games, Metal Gear Series
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is slightly different from other games in that, for all functional purposes, it is better utilized as an extensive demo rather than a full, fleshed out game. Regardless, that does not mean that it doesn’t matter in the grand scope of the series nor that it is solely a demo. In fact, the reality is that Ground Zeroes is necessary to understanding what’s going on in subsequent games.
Putting all things aside, the game is short, to the point, and sets out to introduce current players and fans of the Metal Gear series to new mechanics, ideas, and plot points they can expect to find later on. Even compared to fully developed games, there’s something special about this installment that makes it feel quite different and is still enjoyable on its own for those reasons.
Fans of other Metal Gear Solid games will know that games of the past were focused on missions that were limited in scope. There was generally a right way and a wrong way to play each mission. You could sometimes go in fully armed to the teeth, though each level definitely tried to point you towards using stealth to your advantage. Ground Zeroes was a necessary lead-in the coming MGSV: The Phantom Pain for this very reason. The whole setup is different in that you can now approach missions on your own terms with varying effects.
Ground Zeroes only has one main mission (with several other smaller missions) in it and helps bring in the open-world design to the series too. I’ll move onto the actual gameplay shortly, but the story condensed into this relatively short installment is gripping. There’s a reason many were excited for Hideo Kojima’s next release, Death Stranding, and Ground Zeroes definitely played into that excitement. This short introduction to The Phantom Pain is absolutely essential to understanding that game’s main plot and has heart-pounding action from start to finish.
Stealthy, Detailed, and Gritty
Ground Zeroes’ gameplay introduces open world aspects to the Metal Gear series. It does so well and without sacrificing what made the original games so much fun to play. Being a demo of sorts, there’s basically no slow points as you attempt to rescue two mercenaries from an enemy stronghold. What I loved was how open ended the approach to storming this compound was. The game does punish you for going in shooting anything that moves only because you have limited weapons and it then assumes you have a plan.
You’re recommended to use extreme stealth but its entirely possible not to. You could even sneak all the way through this demo without killing someone if you’ve got the time – it’ll be a slog but, again, its possible. Having pathing like this that actually lets players have freedom during missions was a huge plus for me. Throw in that this open world game (that would become the expansive MGSV: TPP) has graphics and animated styles that are top of the line and it would be hard to pass up.
The absolute only downside is that, because it acts akin to a demo, it isn’t quite worth it. There are plot developments that are important for playing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (and knowing the open world setup helps too), but its quite short all things considered and doesn’t seem worth the price.
Ground Zeroes, though a demo not quite worth its weight, is still a fantastic introduction to what MGS as a series would be introducing next. The efforts of Konami and Kojima’s developers did not go to waste and ultimately created an intricate, detailed world just enticing enough before the full release.
- Mission approach entirely left to player – no ‘punishment’ story-wise
- Story is expansive and leads directly into TPP
- Controls, graphics, and audio quality are unmatched for its time
- Essentially just a preview for the upcoming MGS game
- Enemy respawn was a bit ‘unfair’ – no way to make escape easier