Metal Gear Survive (Beta) (PC) Preview

By Kevin Tsai 19.02.2018

Review for Metal Gear Survive (Beta) on PC

The Metal Gear Solid series has seen many iterations over the years, but most have stuck to a template of stealth espionage action, where sneaking around is encouraged. The newest spin-off in the series is Metal Gear Survive, a zombie survival crafting game, with a co-operative horde-based wave defence mode on the side. As sacrilegious as this may seem, it's not any more over the top as Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance's cyborg ninja-related antics. After playing the open beta recently, Cubed3 shares its thoughts on this strange new iteration.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was one of the best games released in 2015. A lacklustre story didn't keep the polished and smooth gameplay from shining through this brilliant stealth title. After creating a personal character in a similar fashion to The Phantom Pain's online component and jumping into a quick match online, it is noticeable how Metal Gear Survive looks basically identical to Metal Gear Solid V. The Fox Engine has an amazing attention to detail for characters and objects in the world, but has issues in terrain texture generation and bland looking environments. It is a lot of fun to dress up the avatar in an appropriately tacticool outfit with the additional ability to customise gloves and shoes. However, for a game released in 2018, it definitely falls behind other titles in terms of graphical fidelity.

Screenshot for Metal Gear Survive (Beta) on PC

Some of Metal Gear Survive's controls have been moved around from their previous inputs in The Phantom Pain, which is confusing at first, but makes sense eventually, considering the heavier focus on action over stealth. Still, the fluid mechanics of MGSV's seamless transition from third-person to first-person aiming has been preserved. What's less forgiveable, though, is the new inclusion of distracting HUD elements that crowd the screen. It's difficult to tell what is going on when there is so much screen real estate dedicated to presenting information to the player, especially compared to The Phantom Pain's clean and unobtrusive interface.

The open beta consisted solely of a co-operative horde mode defence against waves of zombie enemies, possibly the most mindless and ubiquitous of videogame antagonists. Players are dropped in an open area with the task of gathering supplies, and defending a wormhole miner from waves of attackers. Despite this already well-explored and established gameplay trope, Metal Gear Survive manages to offer up a surprising amount of fun. It is difficult to break the mental barrier, trained by previous experience with this series. Previous playthroughs always focused on a stealth-led, non-lethal approach, so it feels heretical to be shooting non-silenced weapons in a Metal Gear Solid title, but the basic controls and movement are still functional enough to allow the gameplay to remain enjoyable. Ammunition is now a scarce resource, so melee weapons have received an upgrade in function and usability, which makes it satisfying to stab away with improvised spear and machetes at the zombie masses.

Screenshot for Metal Gear Survive (Beta) on PC

After gathering resources scattered about the level, Metal Gear Survive showcases a surprisingly deep crafting and defence-building system, which allows the players to build simple structures and traps to hold off the zombie hordes. There is also a plethora of resources to gather, as well, all of which can be used to craft guns, equipment, and even mini-gun toting D-walkers that are all invaluable. Unfortunately, all of this is in service of dull, boring combat that does not amount to much more than standing in one place and shooting the brain dead enemies as they advance. There are multiple enemy types, including exploding zombies, but they all lurch so slowly at the group that there isn't much strategy or thought required to play the game at all; just sit in one place and shoot. The enemy's basic artificial intelligence and simplistic move-sets make combat simple, mind numbing, and dull.

Screenshot for Metal Gear Survive (Beta) on PC

The fact that the Fox Engine works in such a drastically different game, shows the strength of the gameplay systems within. There are still many moves, such as going prone and crawling around that seem pointless in this new action-packed title, as stealth is never important. The unlimited sprinting of previous releases is gone, leading the character to stop and wheeze whenever the stamina bar is depleted. This makes sense from a design perspective - the zombies are hardly any threat at all, and allowing the player to endlessly sprint would make the experience even more trivial than it already is. The vast selection of different weapons, deployables, and upgrades appear to be pointless in this closed beta. It is possible that the full game will add much more challenge in the form of different enemy types, but as of right now, it is often laughably simplistic and easy.

Screenshot for Metal Gear Survive (Beta) on PC

Final Thoughts

Metal Gear Survive has its moments, but as of right now, in its beta form, it isn't much more than something to keep an eye on until its full release. It is possible that the single-player campaign, additional co-operative modes, and vast breadth of weapons and equipment available, can amount to something that's more enjoyable than what is on display in this open beta, but all the neat gadgets and deep crafting mechanics are in service of an enemy type that isn't interesting whatsoever to fight. It's a fun game to play with friends, but friends make everything better, even when it comes to mediocre games. At this point, the Metal Gear Survive that is showcased is an engine and setting repurposed for something it was never designed to do, and will only offer all but the most dedicated of gamers a few hours of mindless fun.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   


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