Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Review

Mgs v Ground Zeroes

Theft in broad daylight. Paid demo version. Twenty-dollar scrap. Conveyor. Cash cow. What else was Ground Zeroes called? Oh, yes. The best stealth game of recent years and another masterpiece by Kojima Productions.

It’s no secret to anyone that the new Metal Gear Solid is just a tiny prologue to the upcoming The Phantom Pain, for which they ask a quite serious sum of money. This situation has caused an outraged uproar among many, but an equal number of fans have discovered a miniature work of art. Understanding the feelings of both the disappointed and the enthralled, we find ourselves somewhere in the middle. Kojima may be an extremely talented game designer, and MGS may be the object of adoration for millions – and yet, the short prelude to the upcoming release leaves a mixed impression.

One medium-sized map. One story mission, which, even with all the desire, cannot be completed in more than two hours. And what comes next? It all depends on how willing you are to delve into self-improvement and side missions – because Ground Zeroes emphasizes exactly that.

Through the guarded gate you can penetrate at least in three ways. One of them is in the back of this truck.

There are at least three ways to enter the protected area. One of them is in the trunk of this truck.

Yes, for fans of fast runs, the game only prepares the fastest final credits and a bright memory of money wasted in vain. There’s really nothing to do here: we infiltrate an American military facility, rescue two prisoners, escape on a helicopter, and watch a short film with no hint of interactivity. And no one guarantees the promised two hours. Look, the most agile players manage to complete it in three to four minutes:

What really makes Ground Zeroes interesting is the sandbox, which can only be appreciated through repeated playthroughs.

It seems simple enough: standard stealth mechanics, typical third-person view, cover and rolls. If you’re even remotely familiar with the series or the genre as a whole, you roughly know how things work here. And that’s enough to successfully complete the mission without delving too much into what’s happening. But no matter how hard you try, the first attempt will still end with a bunch of penalties and a mercilessly low rating. That’s how it should be – the game is just beginning. Only repeated attempts will teach you to avoid obvious mistakes, fully utilize the entrusted arsenal, and interact with the tiny world.

Despite the fact that traditionally shooter methods now have the right to exist, stealth still remains the main argument in the fight against the enemy. The current MGS won’t judge you if you fly into the heart of the enemy base on a truck and engage in a lead exchange, but the real taste is in the covert approach. Suddenly, the purpose of the tranquilizer gun becomes clear, it turns out that each soldier can be interrogated or used as bait, and a useful ventilation system is discovered away from the helipad. The random set of functions gradually grows into options for application and results in a huge number of effective tactics, and you can’t try them all in one go.

Sustained Snayka reflexes allow to eliminate the threat faster than anxiety rises

Snake’s heightened reflexes allow it to react to a threat faster than alarm can be raised.

Ground Zeroes does not force you to repeatedly go through the same thing, but it really wants to provoke your dissatisfaction with its result. Deliberately strict, it punishes mindless killers, inflicts pain for raising an alarm, and shreds points when loading a checkpoint – a real challenge for perfectionists. Chasing an S-rank rating will take not just one hour and will require a lot of endurance, but the pleasure of a perfect playthrough will definitely cover all expenses.

And this is without taking into account the increased difficulty and additional missions that are unlocked in the process. The setting of the side missions (or, excuse me, “pseudo-historical reconstructions”) remains the same, but the conditions change. For example, you will have to eliminate enemy generals during the day when the risk of detection is greater than ever, but there are no patrols from the “rainy” level anymore – and the evacuation of the special agent will turn into an action movie more intense than your Call of Duty. With an unwavering desire for S-ranks, the total playtime of all this goodness will amount to about 10-12 hours. Quite a lengthy demo version, don’t you think?

There was enough space even for Cabbage Camo's legendary kodzima

There was even enough room for a cameo by the legendary Kojima. By the way, you can kick him if you want.

But the problem still remains, and it is serious. Perfecting skills on a rehearsed polygon is an entertainment, to put it mildly, not for everyone, and it is not surprising that many turn up their noses at Ground Zeroes. Without the necessary perseverance, the game is not much more valuable than something like Hitman: Sniper Challenge, even for true MGS fans. It is clearly too confined within the given framework, so all the charms of the mechanics are revealed only after numerous repetitions.

Among the minor drawbacks, the only thing worth mentioning is the not-so-reasonable AI. Of course, there is no limit to intelligence, but the local soldiers sometimes do very strange things. They either step on a sleeping comrade without a care, or remain idle when a jeep is raging right in front of them, or simply allow Snake to shoot the guards without punishment just half a meter away. Although overall, it is worth giving credit, the enemies behave very decently – it won’t be without a challenge.

Mgs v Ground Zeroes Day

Fortunately, PC users will not encounter any technical challenges with the Ground Zeroes port. It boasts top-notch performance even on machines that barely meet the minimum system requirements, and that’s with such graphics. The crystal-clear picture is accompanied by flawless stability and decent adaptation to keyboard and mouse. However, for understandable reasons, they are not a replacement for a gamepad.

You can’t really call it a full-fledged prologue to the game. It is more fitting to consider it a loud experiment, a test of the updated engine and innovations in gameplay. If you can’t wait for Phantom Pain any longer, you can familiarize yourself with Ground Zeroes. But if you are not deterred by the need for multiple playthroughs, you must familiarize yourself with Ground Zeroes. Just don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Mgs v Ground Zeroes Snake

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Action, Adventure
Kojima Productions
Release Date:
Editor's rating:
Is it worth playing? (If the score is more than 70%)



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