There was a lot of speculation going around as to where Konami are going to go with the Metal Gear franchise after Hideo Kojima’s removal from the company. The answer: Metal Gear: Survive. It’s an online multiplayer experience, with strategy/tower defense thrown in. You will participate in a group of up to four players to defend yourself inside a base from all sorts of ravenous enemies and creatures. First you’ll have to choose the character that best fits your gameplay style, follow that up by building up your defense to protect your cores, then luring your enemy into your traps, and then blasting away the leftovers. A lot of different and often mystical and horror elements in a somewhat grounded game is an odd spin on the franchise.
Metal Gear: Survive is a spin-off story set after the events of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. Big Boss and Kaz Miller are escaping from the Mother Base as it’s going up in flames as they’re out to save only themselves. Every soldier of theirs is left to fend for themselves. It turns out that those of the leftovers were sucked through a vortex of sorts along with pieces of the destroyed base. Here they find out that they’ve been trapped in a whole new world where zombie-like enemies and odd looking creatures are out to get them. And their hope is to defeat them and get back to the real world.
"The customization screen isn’t privy to yourself alone. It’s a large white room where all four players can try on new equipment, set traps, and practice strategies."
Before playing the preview version, we were told that load times are much longer than they will be in the final product.. Load times in the preview version lasted for several minutes, where we were staring at blank screens for extended periods of time. When at last we were able to choose our characters, we were informed that we could completely customize our characters, but for the sake of time four presets were already available. I chose the woman that carried a knife or dagger and a small sidearm pistol. Along with choosing a character, I was able to choose other equipment such as explosives, special weapons and more.
The customization screen isn’t privy to yourself alone. It’s a large white room where all four players can try on new equipment, set traps, and practice strategies. Here, you can have friends walk on your traps to see what happens or even shoot them. Though there are friendly fire reactions to shooting and trapping friends, there is no possibility of death.
Once the game started we at last got a chance to see what the game’s world looked like. Being in another dimension, it wasn’t much different from the dry, dusty, wasteland deserts of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain game. There wasn’t enough time to explore just how big the map really was, but from what I played, it seems to be pretty big. Just a short distance away was our home base and we set our sights to it. Along the way there are left overs from the other world. Debris that often contains random items that can be helpful (equipment and refills or sorts).
At last we reached the base. It’s essentially in bare bones states, torn down walls, half stairs, and blown up fences. It was a disaster. There wasn’t much protecting the core generator we were sent to take care of. This is where we have to set our traps within the half-walls and open paths to trap the hordes of enemies that would soon come. And this is where I had the most trouble. The selection wheel is broken down into several different key parts. There is the wheel that is controlled by a button selection, followed by the directional pad. Even now I am still confused on how to choose what and where. I sat down one trap and was never able to figure it out again. Luckily, my teammates had better luck than myself and our base was fully shielded before the first wave.
"With a set of overly complicated controls and enemies that seem way too easy to defeat, I’m not sure where Konami wants Metal Gear Survive to go. Only time will tell."
The first wave of enemies came from only one direction, and we finished them off swiftly without letting them damage our traps too severely. If traps are badly damaged, they can be repaired in between matches if you have enough funding. Money is gained during each round depending on time, skill, and many other factors.
Each wave thereafter, enemy hordes become more diverse, enemies with different skills and killing methods emerge — some enemies begin to explode onto you, and some are just more viscous; and the locations from which they came began to expand. There weren’t too many variations within the preview version, but for the most part they’d ended up coming from almost all angles by the last wave.
By the second wave, side missions began to appear. It was suggested that two of the four team members head out to the side mission location and recover the ammo box, and bring it back to base for everyone to load up on. By the third wave, the next side mission was to recover two military grade robotic suits that came in very handy. Getting into the suit allowed me to trample my enemies and melee smash them into bits. And though the suits can overheat and breakdown, we took care of the horde before that happened.
Each wave grew progressively harder, but the game never had any enemy that really felt like much of a challenge. I’m not sure how this will change in the final version, but hopefully the enemies become much more dynamic, random and harder to defeat. Four players should be able to take down a difficult enemy pretty easily, so an easy enemy is no challenge at all. Finishing the wave and collecting the loot at the end of each round, and even the special loot for finishing the game and seeing upgraded stats never really felt rewarding. It was all too easy.
With a set of overly complicated controls and enemies that seem way too easy to defeat, I’m not sure where Konami wants Metal Gear Survive to go. Only time will tell.
This game was previewed on the PlayStation 4.