Well well, what do we have here. A demo with a price tag would be the most accurate description anyone could give to a game like Ground Zeroes. A shame really as it’s part of a famously popular series with a long-awaited fifth installment soon to arrive.
Instead of releasing a prequel for free or as DLC, or even better, as the first mission of the fifth game, the first mission has been released as a standalone title with little more than two hours of fresh content for the average user.
Despite its short life span, what story you do get, is fantastic.
The one mission is pretty key to understanding what is going on when the fifth game starts, with the ending of Ground Zeroes feeding directly into the full game. Not playing Ground Zeroes could mean you’ll start the fifth game without an idea on why your there or what is going on.
Ideally, this mission needs to be included with the fifth game when it’s released later this year or beginning of next year. But maybe that’s why it was released on its own, as a sneaky cash cow and only method of experiencing the full Metal Gear Solid experience.
Surprisingly, this is actually the best Metal Gear experience you can get to date.
The core gameplay of sneaking has returned and with excellent controls, making a nice change from most of the past installments in this regard.
Cover is also used well with a simple movement against a wall and your character will cover automatically against it. Gun controls feel smooth with the weapons feeling slightly weighty, without the quite real feel of something like Battlefield. A much better improvement over four and below.
The missions included on this disk allow you to experience the game from a couple different view points. The main mission will have you using stealth mixed with take downs and evacuation of civilians onto several possible heli pickup points. Being able to choose where to get a pickup from is a nice decision, giving you the choose of a quick pickup or a safe one.
As for the side missions, they allow you to use a helicopter to receive some intel from an undercover agent, have a nice shoot out with some intelligent AI or take on some armoured vehicles on foot. All taking place on one island and often feeling as if it could have all been better incorporated into one larger and more enjoyable mission.
With that said, I can honestly say that Ground Zeroes was rather fun for the most part.
There were some down sides other than the length of the game.
A major one for me was the ease of taking down enemies. Don’t get me wrong, I only played on Normal, but surely even that should have been harder. Instead, I breezed passed most guards, either taking them down via hand to hand or via a silenced weapon. Completed my objective and speed away in my own personal helicopter.
One of the features that made the game so easy was the slow down effect given when spotted. When an enemy guard realises your there, you get a good couple of seconds of slowed down time to take him out before he raises the alarm. You can quite happily take your time and aim neatly for the head, only occasionally missing and running out of time. In fact, the feature is so easy to use you can run along, let one enemy spot you, take him out, continue to run and repeat for every enemy that is on duty alone, which just happens to be 90% of the base.
This really does make the game a breeze if you’re not interested in any of the secret items or bonus objectives hidden around the island.
Having played this on my new shiny PS4, I can easily say that it looked smashing.
Textures looked rich in detail, lighting worked well and gave a nice dark atmosphere to the games environment and enemies moved rather naturally.
Some items were even destructible which added some nice advantages to both sides.
Snake himself has never looked this good in fact. Gone is the fantastic camo suit from number four, as this is a prequel, but back again is his sleek stealth suit that allows him to crawl around almost completely unnoticed. The dust effects when heli’s come down to land looks great, the water rippling against the shore looks unbelievably real and the whole island screams of beauty. So far it uses the next-gen power wisely and the fifth installment really does look like it could be a cracker of a game.
As you would expect from a Metal Gear Solid game, the music is deep and emotional with the right undertones to perfectly accompany the cutscenes and regular gameplay.
The sound effects for weapons could do with a slight overhaul, but again, I’m probably just used to Battlefields ultra real weapon sounds to make that a fair comment. The iconic spotted alert is of course there among the background sounds of birds, grass and water sloshing against the coast.
My one complaint is a biggie for any true Metal Gear fans though. Snake simply does not sound the same without David Hayter at the helm. The usual raspiness and grounded sound of the man of the series has lost that unique touch that made listening to him such a charm. I’m not saying that Sutherland does anything wrong, just that he isn’t Snake and never will be.
As the reviewer, it is my job to explain my experiences with a game and inform you as best as I can.
The price of Ground Zeroes is about £25/$30 in most stores, which is of course a complete and utter rip off.
Yes, it is a fantastic experience that for any fan, can’t be missed or you’ll not understand what’s happening in the full game. But it is nowhere near the worth of a decent budgeted indie game or discounted AAA game. When you get less content out of a game than you would out of the singleplayer portion of a Call of Duty or Battlefield game, for just over half the cost, alarm bells should ring long, and loud.
As a fan of the series and someone who didn’t rush my way through it, Ground Zeroes took me just over two hours to complete. That is to finish each side mission and the main story mission once. I don’t replay normal missions usually because once you’ve enjoyed that mission, that is pretty much it. From what I know, this is how most gamers work.
Of course the die-hard fans will be able to milk much more out of Ground Zeroes than 99% of the rest of us, but hey, they’ve probably already bought the game so they don’t need this review to guide them. For the rest of you, wait. That is my advice. Wait until you can pick the game up for £5/$5 just before the release of Metal Gear Solid 5. Anymore than that and your being screwed.
- Great Visuals
- Smoothest MGS Controls So Far
- Deep & Emotional Music
- Snakes Voice
- Length Of Play
- The Ridiculous Price