Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Review


Developer: Kojima Productions

Publisher: Konami

Platforms: Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS3

Release Date: March 18, 2014

“Snaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaake” is one of the most infamous dialogue snippets from the Metal Gear Solid franchise and could be heard in many of the games when succumbing to your demise during gameplay.  Tactical espionage action has been the core foundation for all of the MGS games and Ground Zeroes is no different.  Ground Zeroes changes the nature of what we have come to love about the franchise and replaces many aspects of the game with replacements hoping it all works in the end.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is a prologue to the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain and was created to hold people over until the finished game can be released.  However, does Ground Zeroes really help people anxiously awaiting Phantom Pain?

Set during the Peace Walker era, Big Boss is sent to infiltrate Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.  Recently turned into a Black site and operating under law outside of the United States, Boss is tasked to rescue Paz and Chico from the base.  Cipher and the XOF are linked to the base in some way, with the mission slightly hinting at various plots in Phantom Pain without revealing any true details.

Equipped with the normal arsenal – a silenced tranquilizer gun and a silenced assault rifle – Boss must utilize the shadows and the environment to complete the mission.  Your set of binoculars become oh so useful as you can tag enemies that allow you to see their every movement through walls with your sense abilities.  If you happen to slip out of the shadows and get spotted, Ground Zeroes utilizes a bullet time slow motion for you to eliminate the target before they call for help.

Many different approaches to the mission is what makes the franchise phenomenal and caters to people’s different play styles.  Interested in performing the mission without killing a single Marine?  There’s a way to accomplish it.  Interested in just running and gunning and hope your helicopter saves the day?  Then go for it and spray and pray.  However, keep in mind the game ranks you at the end of each mission based on your stealth approach.  The run and gun approach isn’t as rewarding as you might think in the end.  This does create a few hours of replayability to try and find the best routes to complete the mission.

In addition to the main mission, there are a few side missions that you can play.  However, every side mission is cast at the same base just with a different story.  Interesting approach but definitely becomes boring after a couple of playthroughs.

Want a more difficult challenge?  Unlock Hard mode for you natural MGS fans where the enemies can see you from a mile away.  Sneaking has never been such a difficult task!  The sheer heart-pounding fun involved is worth noting.

Each console comes with their own specific side op mission.  Xbox – Jamais Vu and Sony – Deja Vu.  However in order to unlock the mission, the player must find the XOF patches that were tossed out of the helicopter in the main cutscene of the Ground Zeroes mission.  This became a great way to complete time trials and speed runs during the game while trying to locate the patches.  My suggestion – find the patches on normal mode!

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes lacks many fundamentals that I have come to love about the franchise.  The alert timer is gone, hiding places such as the infamous box or locker are no where to be find, and hiding bodies (if you do decide to put someone to sleep or kill them) is not an easy task.  In addition, if and when you do die, the fun and quirky dialogue is absent.  Quite disappointing as I’ve come to expect these in a Metal Gear game.

Overall,  Ground Zeroes is a solid prologue to the game and builds the base for what is to come in Phantom Pain.  Yes the game is short – clocking in at just under two hours.  However, what did you expect for a thirty dollar game?  The action is intense and the fundamentals to Phantom Pain really shine.  Lets hope Phantom Pain incorporates all the little details us MGS fans have come to love.

(A copy of this game was provided to GameSided for the purpose of this review.)