Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, the last chapter in Metal Gear Solid series (that we know of) is coming out on September 1st, 2015. At the time of writing this review, that’s only 4 days away. Now in a first for the series, a playable prologue was released to the public the year to wet out appetites for the full game. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is one part tech demo, the other part tutorial for what we can expect in The Phantom Pain. It was recently available for free for Playstation Plus members, so I was more than happy to download the title. While I may have held out to play Ground Zeroes, I’m a fan of the Metal Gear Franchise and was hoping that Ground Zeroes would give me enough reason to be excited for The Phantom Pain. As much as I enjoyed MGS3, I’ve always been more of a Solid Snake fan than a Big Boss fan. Lucky for me, not only did I get a great game for free, but it absolutely has me excited for the full game when it comes out on Tuesday.
Now I’m not going to talk too much about the setting. First, because spoilers, and second, if you’re not a fan of the franchise you’re going to have no idea what I’m talking about even if I attempt to explain the story to you. If you want to get a briefing (which will take a while due to the story’s complexity), there are some great summaries on youtube. For fans of the franchise, the story of Ground Zeroes is nice in that while we only see an excerpt of it through gameplay, collectable cassette tapes (this game takes place in the 70s) do a fantastic job of providing further context to the plot. While I know a ton of people who dislike the convoluted and confusing story, I personally enjoy it’s intricacies and details. But I will admit of it is really stupid. But, in not focusing too much on story for Ground Zeroes we can focus on what really matters: gameplay.
First, the game looks absolutely amazing. Using the proprietary Fox Engine, the graphics are phenomenal, especially as the main game takes place at night and in the rain. Lighting is incredibly realistic and the water effect make everything look even more beautiful. As beautiful as a military prison camp can look that is. Moving on, the controls are solid (pun totally intended). While the camera is still a pain in ass sometimes (such is metal gear), additions to Big Boss’ feature set allow for more efficient handling of certain scenarios. However, one area I’m going to take issue with is the stealth mechanics.
Now, I’m not good at stealth in games, I’m going to just through that out there. But, there are some moments with the AI that either make the game too easy or impossible depending on the scenario. For example, there was a part where I triggered an alarm and had to kill a bunch of guards, so they (the enemy) knew that there were casualties. But after the alert went away, five seconds later there was an alert because “they’d discovered dead bodies and thought someone might be attacking them.” Now while the game would be almost impossible if you had to go without fighting anyone (though it can be done), that’s just sloppy AI for enemies that can tell when you step too loudly. Mind you, it came in handy at the end when I just decided to run through enemy gunfire and survived.
Either way the game is a ton of fun to play. The story is great, the gameplay is fun, and the main campaign is only and hour and half long. Now while that might seem like it’s too short, there’s tons of modes and side missions to play that add a ton of extra gameplay. And on top of that, I’m really excited for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Here’s to you Kojima, for making a great prologue to what looks like an awesome game.
P.S. The music is awesome too (see below)