Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Review
The latest chapter of the Metal Gear series was released with lukewarm reception from fans of the series. Many people were put off by the 2 hour campaign of Ground Zeroes and some even opted to just pass on this game all together in favor of waiting for ‘The Phantom Pain.’ Now the answer to the question will be answered, is this game truly worth the $20-$40 price tag depending on your console of choice to get the game?
Taking place one year after the events of the Playstation Portable entry ‘Peace Walker’, Ground Zeroes takes Big Boss (or Snake depending on your preference) to Camp Omega to rescue Chico and Paz. Right out the gate you can’t help but marvel at the beauty of the environment; from the rain coming down, to the brightness of the lights and the details of all the little things around the base. This game was definitely built to be enjoyed on the next-gen consoles.
At first glance it feels like any other Metal Gear game where you have a set path on where to go as you sneak past enemies. However that is not the case. The approach of Ground Zeroes is similar to that of the beginning of Metal Gear Solid for the original Playstation, as you have multiple paths of how to reach your objective and it is up to you to decide which path you take and how you approach it.
Enemies are brutal and more vigilant. They are not afraid to investigate an area if you slip up and think they see you. The enemies are well aware it is night and even believe that the darkness might be playing tricks on them and will even take that into account when investigating. However if you just stay out in the open with no cover, eventually they will be able to make out it’s you and will begin the attack and notify their fellow soldiers of an intruder.
The new reflex mode allows you to quickly silence enemies that spot you before an alarm is raised as time slows down to place a more accurate shot. Its a fluff addition to the stealth series as you have a chance to actually save yourself rather than being penalized and thrown into “alert” status from the instant you’re spotted.
The life bar is no longer existent and has been changed towards the more action oriented health system as seen in ‘Splinter Cell’ and ‘Gears of War’ where you must seek cover to replenish your health. There are times where Big Boss will suffer an injury so severe he must use a first aid spray which has only one use per mission. When inflicted with a sever injury it is possible to die and bleed out from said injury if the spray is not applied.
Like the other entries you can run around guns blazing, but will be penalized in the post mission recap severely for number of times spotted, number of enemies killed and number of game overs. Stealth is vital and key in Ground Zeroes and is highly encouraged for the big rewards that can be obtained in the game.
You have no radar to rely on, but have a few nifty devices that come to your aid to track enemy movement. Binoculars, which help tag and scout enemy patrol as well being able to listen in to conversations to gain vital information about Camp Omega. The iDroid, will be be your best friend in terms of finding mission objectives, calling in a helicopter and planning your route. However, using the iDroid takes caution as using the device is in real time and does not halt the action of the game, so if you’re out in the open you do run the risk of getting spotted.
In this open world environment Big Boss now has the ability to operate vehicles. These vehicles allow quicker transportation from Point A to Point B and can even help you blend in as you infiltrate the base to complete objectives. However controls feel stiff and when driving at high speeds, the vehicles just become a pain and get sloppy to control when making turns. We can only hope that the time from ‘Ground Zeroes’ and ‘The Phantom Pain’ that the controls and feel of driving will get polished up for a smoother ride.
One of the biggest changes in this entry is the replacement of the long time voice actor of Snake and Big Boss, David Hayter. Kojima replaced Hayter for Kiefer Sutherland to try to have a more aged and gritter Big Boss. Although in Ground Zeroes, you don’t really get to experience Sutherland’s take on the character so you can’t really determine how Sutherland’s performance or interpretation of Big Boss is because there isn’t enough substance to form an opinion on the matter.
After completing the campaign mission, you will unlock 4 Side Ops missions that contain more rewards and bonus unlockables for ‘The Phantom Pain.’ These mission also allow you to experience Camp Omega at different times of the day such as midday and dusk. Midday missions prove to be most that brutal as you can no longer rely on the shadows and the cover of darkness to sneak around, but rather your wits to complete the objective. Eventually it gets to the point where you know just about every nook and cranny of the base and begin itching for a new map or environment to test your skills in.
The ending served as not only closure to the PSP entries of Metal Gear but also left the foundation and groundwork for the main entry of Metal Gear Solid V.
‘Ground Zeroes’ is an excellent transition from the series norm to what is has become now and what it is expected to be in ‘The Phantom Pain.’ For series fans this is definitely a must buy. For newcomers and the skeptics, this is definitely worth a five day rental.
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes gets a 4 out of 5.