Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Review

Ground Zeroes sets up The Phantom Pain nicely with revamped stealth mechanics and open ended gameplay.

Posted By | On 18th, Mar. 2014 Under Article, Reviews | Follow This Author @GamingBoltTweet


There needs to be a clear understanding on what Hideo Kojima is aiming for with Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes. It’s not a fully fledged experience, it’s a prologue and as such you should not expect all the bells and whistles that come along with a Metal Gear Solid title. There is widespread confusion that this is a paid demo but after investing ten odd hours into the game that claim is far from the reality.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is more of a technical showcase of what Kojima Productions’ brand new Fox Engine is capable of and what players can expect from The Phantom Pain. Ground Zeroes is not an open world title but an open level set on an island. Earlier games in the series had a fix set of structures which made the player move from point A to point B with a bit of freedom in between but Ground Zeroes opens up multiple ways that the player can tackle a mission.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

"For the first time in the series, Snake can drive armored vehicles, jeeps, and trucks and call in helicopter support to make his way out of the island. Each option results into different consequences."

Ground Zeroes features a campaign mode, four side ops and an exclusive mission based on which platform you plan to buy the game on [Déjà Vu mission featuring Solid Snake for PS3/PS4 and Jamais Vu mission featuring Raiden for Xbox One/Xbox 360 versions] and are set during different times of the day. The story mission requires Snake to rescue Chico and Paz whereas the side ops are your basic assassination, rescue and blowing up ground-to-air units mission types.

These missions may sound simple on paper but there are different routes that the player can take with each of them. For the first time in the series, Snake can drive armored vehicles, jeeps, and trucks and call in helicopter support to make his way out of the island. Each option results into different consequences. For example, in one of the missions, the player needs to get out of the base as quickly as possible. The player can do so via a helicopter or a vehicle with each of them having their own share of ups and downs. The former requires the player to call in a helicopter far away from the hot zone whereas in the latter the player will need to get past sentries. Both approaches result in some exciting on-ground action increasing the replayability of these missions.

For the first time in the franchise, the player can tag enemy soldiers using the binoculars and thus keep track of their movements at all times. I had my doubts about tagging enemies in a Metal Gear Solid game since the series is more about the element of surprise and unawareness of what is coming next. But given the open ended nature of the level, I can understand now why Kojima Productions went ahead with it and its inclusion is justified. Instead of making the game any easier, tagging actually helped to approach a situation more pro-actively, whilst maintaining the suspense factor that the series is known for.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

"Reflex undoubtedly makes the game easier and as such should not have a place in a Metal Gear Solid game. The tagging already does a great job of adding tension into the gameplay but the Reflex ability just kills the essence of the series, giving the player the opportunity to go in all Rambo without actually putting the effort into playing the game the way it’s meant to be played."

Another new addition is the Reflex wherein if Snake is spotted, the game freezes for a few seconds, giving enough time to the player to shoot the enemy before he calls for backup. Reflex undoubtedly makes the game easier and as such should not have a place in a Metal Gear Solid game. The tagging already does a great job of adding tension into the gameplay but the Reflex ability just kills the essence of the series, giving the player the opportunity to go in all Rambo without actually putting the effort into playing the game the way it’s meant to be played. Fortunately, the Reflex option can be disabled and when I played one of the missions again with this unwanted feature turned off, Ground Zeroes was a different game all together.

One of the biggest improvements when compared to the previous entries are the fluid animations. Gone are the days when controlling Snake felt like navigating a train. Snake can now jump, sprint and automatically take cover. The transition to crouching is unbelievably smooth. Enemy AI is at an all-together different level with soldiers actively searching for Snake and even if they catch the faintest view of our hero, they will make it a point to investigate. What caught me off guard is that the enemy AI is different during different times of the day. During night, Snake will be hard to spot but your enemies are smart enough to use torches and spot lights to find you whereas during day time, the distance from which an enemy can spot Snake increases.

If you get spotted by an enemy, the entire base will come running after you, which also includes armored tanks in some missions. Your best option is to either tackle the situation head-on or run away from that area and hide somewhere. You don’t have a camouflage system this time around and Snake will require grass and cover to keep him hidden. The combination of enemy AI, Snake’s animations and the open ended environment all bring an unprecedented level of brilliance to the series’ stealth mechanics.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

"As expected with any Metal Gear Solid game, the production values are top notch. When Hideo Kojima stated that he wanted to make the Fox Engine the best engine in the world he wasn't kidding. The lighting in the game is hands down one of the best I have witnessed in video games."

As expected with any Metal Gear Solid game, the production values are top notch. When Hideo Kojima stated that he wanted to make the Fox Engine the best engine in the world he wasn’t kidding. The lighting in the game is hands down one of the best I have witnessed in video games. Whether it is early morning or a night soaked in rain, Fox Engine proves to be a force to reckon with. The photo-realistic visuals backed up by amazing motion capture lifts the series’ benchmark to an all together different magnitude.

Unfortunately there is a lack of narrative momentum in Ground Zeroes, mainly because most of the plot was already shown by Konami in trailers and gameplay footage.  There is a good chance that the player will already know what will happen in the campaign and said narrative momentum feels somewhat negligible. Voice acting for the most part is underwhelming and I am still not sure whether Kiefer Sutherland is a good fit for the legendary hero. The problem is that Snake rarely speaks in the game making it difficult to judge whether Sutherland is doing justice to this character. Perhaps we will know more in The Phantom Pain.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes has a decent amount of content and its life time can be greatly expanded if the player finds all the record tapes and other collectibles. The game obviously does not have content on par with its predecessors but whatever is there is genuinely intriguing. Ground Zeroes gives you a good indication about how The Phantom Pain is going to shape up and if the current mechanics are anything to go by, fans and gamers alike are in for a treat. Ground Zeroes on its own is a game that you should buy if you are a fan or if you’re frustrated at the lack of genuine stealth games. Others can wait till The Phantom Pain arrives.

This game was reviewed on the PlayStation 4.

THE GOOD

Open ended mission structure adds dynamism to gameplay, Stealth mechanics are second to none, Enemy AI is challenging and nuanced depending on time of day, Tons of replay value, Photo realistic visuals and lighting.

THE BAD

Voice acting is under whelming, lack of suspense factor in story mode, Reflex feels too easy, not as compelling a narrative as previous games.

Final Verdict

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is developed purely for the fans. It won’t bring in any new audiences but it wasn’t meant to in the first place. It features a decent amount of content which will make the wait less taxing for The Phantom Pain.

A copy of this game was provided by developer/publisher for review purposes. Click here to know more about our Reviews Policy.

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  • Broj

    One if the best lighting and graphics ever seen. PC master race sheds a tear today. Do not worry you will get it 2017. runs at 1080p at 60fps on ps4 as well.

    • Psionicinversion

      looks absolutely rubbish, did there children design this game? have fun playing your £25 game on 30 minute speed run!!!

    • BroJ

      Have fun playing nothing Troll.

    • Psionicinversion

      i do have fun playing nothing actually its awesome :d something thats 1/4 the length of a normal game is half the price of a normal game. Have fun getting ripped off

    • Xtreme Derp

      lol

    • BroJ

      Well the jokes on you.

      1. I live by a Family Video which gets games on day one and I rented this.
      2. They never bragged about this being a long game. People know what they are getting.
      3. If you are a Die Hard MGS fan this is worth every penny.
      4. You play on PC so GTFO console articles.

    • Psionicinversion

      do they really know what there getting? the average game player walks in oh this is cool only £25 then completes it in 2-3 hours. WTF, what happened there, returned… die hard MGS players fair enough theyll buy anything. I do play on PC but my arguements are still alid, im fighting for the average consumer here..

    • BroJ

      They know if they read reviews. Every review will be different for this game. You can rush through it or take your time. Plus there is side missions. It is more then a demo. I agree the 30$ price tag is steep but this is MGS and done by the great Hideo Kojima. I have played it tonight and it is easily the best looking next gen game yet and you can tell the production values are through the roof. Phantom Pain is going to be the bread and butter when it releases. This is just a tease till next year.

    • Psionicinversion

      wjhat if they dont read review though? i wonder how many people bought ghosts based on the franchise and turned out to absolutely rubbish. Not saying MGS is but it is way to short and people will prolly be shocked at the length versus the cost. Its like your paying for the development of phantom pain cus itll use that engine and game assets so its like theyve done it just to get some money in the mean time and use you guys as beta testers for the system there putting in

    • Dakan45

      die

    • Dakan45

      silence fake acount

    • BroJ

      Just like the millions who buy BF4 premium every day when that game is still in beta mode.

    • Psionicinversion

      i havnt bought premium and not going to either, well unless im drunk one day and get the urge but EA dont deserve your money

    • Dakan45

      i am being impersonated.

    • Dakan45

      yuou are a stupid muppet die alraedy idiot.

    • BroJ

      Rather be a muppet then a PC player with no soul or nobody that likes me.

    • Dakan45

      nobody likes sony F@gs like you either.

      Whats wrong kid? you are pissy about the fact that greatness will NEVER come?

    • Dakan45

      gtfo you stupid muppet, die stupid arsewipe.

    • BroJ

      Jealousy flows through you. You really need to kill your self. Just be sure to call the cops because you have no one that cares and we do not want your lifeless fat body stinking up normal peoples houses.

    • Dakan45

      the only one that is jealous is you kid, making fake acoutns to troll me? pathetic?

      what body fat i am ripped, the only one who has body fat is you since you eat dorritos while typing those messages and make fake acounts.

    • wifey

      lol your funny Broj.

    • Dakan45

      you are a fkae acount.

    • Dakan45

      he has everything you idiot you consoletards have nothing

    • Jaedre

      I got it on the xbone an i agree… It looks a little “too” realistic. It has a rubber look to it. I honestly dont see that much of a diff between xbone n ps4… Its pretty much user preference. Nothing to bash the xbone about

    • BroJ

      u jus mad cause yo baby momma indian bro

    • Dakan45

      no you mad because you are stupid and clueless

    • Dakan45

      silence stupid muppet, the fox engine is a pc engine, you got pwned again.

    • wifey

      maybe we can game sometime?

    • Dakan45

      silence you fake acount.

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  • BroJ

    yo yo yo i gets this stuff from my wife she like a hardcore gamers up in this biotch.

    • Dakan45

      as usual you cant spell for crap.

  • wifey

    Broj whats your gamertag??? please?

    • Dakan45

      its yours sine you are his fake acount.

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