It has been almost 6 years since the exceptional Metal Gear Solid 4 was released on the PS3. That’s kind of way too long of a gap between two mainline Metal Gear Solid games. However, the successor to the PS3 is out and so is a new MGS game for it.
There’s a catch.
Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes is just two hours long and is a prologue to the full game: Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, which does not have a release date yet.
It’s not a full priced game and the content will be unique and won’t appear in TPP. So, should you spend money on a game like this?
Metal Gear fans would have already procured the game. It’s in their DNA. But what about people looking for something new to play on their PS4 or Xbox One. The game will also be released on the PS3 and Xbox 360, but you know where you should play this.
The game tells the story of Big Boss aka Naked Snake, who infiltrates a military base in Cuba to extract important hostages. While the story in Metal Gear Solid games are usually convoluted, they are also something very vital, so I won’t spoil much here.
It is a direct sequel to Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, which was released on the PSP, and which I doubt most people played. You should play it if you haven’t.
If you’ve played MGS4, you probably know what the game director, Hideo Kojima, added to the gameplay mechanics over MGS3. You could play the game as a shooter or do a pure stealth run. All those mechanics are back in Ground Zeroes, and the game looks absolutely spectacular, running on Kojima Productions’ latest Fox Engine.
You can mark enemies with your binoculars, and view them on a nifty 3D map. It does feel a bit unrealistic seeing enemies through solid objects after your mark them but this can be disabled in the options, and will also give you a higher score at the end of the mission.
“Spectacular” isn’t enough of a superlative for the graphics. It has to be seen. Especially on next-gen consoles. The PS4 version, which I played, runs at a smooth 1080p and 60 fps, and is probably the best version considering the Xbox One runs at 720p and 60 fps, but resolution should never affect your decision.
The game can be replayed many times, and you can employ different strategies. Go on the aggressive and cause havoc on the base using a chopper, then jump down to extract your target, or simply do what Big Boss does best: be a snake. They shouldn’t know what hit them.
The base is well designed and you can drive vehicles like jeeps and armored cars. Obviously, since this is a demo, your options are limited but it gives a good taste of what to expect in TPP.
I actually completed the main mission in 86 minutes and fumbled the second extraction, but ended up being impressed by the AI which was relentless. The AI is slightly better than the one in MGS4 and will try to attack you from all directions. I even saw a soldier use The Last Stand perk from COD 4, if you know what I mean.
Kojima’s games are all about attention to detail and it’s the same here. You can take out the massive lights on towers or distract guards and you will usually find such playstyle to be very satisfying. Ground Zeroes is a linear game compared to TPP which is supposed to be 200 times larger, in Kojima’s words.
If you want a taste of the next-gen Metal Gear Solid game, then Ground Zeroes will offer you a decent story, gorgeous graphics, and high replayability, but Konami really messed up with the pricing. If this is a sign of things to come I really fear for the future. At least, Gran Turismo 5 Prologue had tons of content to justify the price, but here, a 2 hour main mission isn’t enough for a publisher to charge $30 (Rs 1,999), even taking into account the replayability factor.
No doubt many reviews are going to rant about the price, but it’s a Metal Gear Solid game directed by Hideo Kojima, and that makes it awesome by default. Oh yeah, I’m definitely not an MGS fanboy *cough*. However, I’m a bit worried as this may set a precedent in future for publishers to release paid demos and I absolutely do not want that to happen.