Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (PC) Review

By Athanasios 13.01.2015 1

Review for Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes on PC

Hideo Kojima's flagship franchise, Metal Gear, has turned him into a star amongst game designers, yet that doesn't exclude his work from criticism. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, which serves as an intro - gameplay and story-wise - to the highly anticipated Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, has divided the console gaming community between those who think that Konami asks gamers to pay for what is actually a demo, and those who see in its small size something of immense quality and depth that justifies the price tag. The PC port refuels this debate and Cubed3 joins in once more.

Companies, in their eternal, greedy search for a magic, money-making formula, have taken a lot of bad decisions and have inevitably attracted quite the negative feedback, with free-to-play garbage - that are not free - and the millions of worthless DLC offerings being some of the most recent examples. The latest Metal Gear is considered by many to be another of those bad moves, since it is - in many ways - only a fragment of the final product. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes serves as an introduction to the storyline, graphic engine, and gameplay mechanics of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, thus it's smaller than a full release, and obviously comes at a reduced price. The question is whether it is any good…

Before going any further, though, what is the setting of Kojima's new creation? The answer is a Guantanamo Bay-like, U.S. black site in Cuba, which the famous mercenary Snake must infiltrate in order to rescue two characters from Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. Greenhorns will have to read an 11-page plot summary to understand the whole deal, while veterans will find a not so story-driven title as before, rather a big chunk of gameplay between two cut-scenes. Fortunately, the presentation is top-notch, bringing shame to Hollywood, while retaining the series' famous blend of military-fetishism and anti-war atmosphere. Furthermore, this mouth-watering appetiser has a much more grim tone than before, promising an even darker tale from The Phantom Pain.

Screenshot for Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes on PC

Long-term fans might not like the lighter emphasis in the plot, but they can rejoice in the fact that the action part is awesome - let alone quite different than before. The '70s setting brings the element of stealth back to basics, forcing Snake to carefully plan his moves and observe his surroundings, instead of relying on an arsenal of high-tech gizmos - although there are still a couple of them lying around, like a crafty set of binoculars that can tag enemies, as well being able to eavesdrop from a distance to get some helpful info. This process of scouting the area might sound simple on paper, but proves to be an insanely entertaining element.

A noticeably improved AI turns the only available stage into a living, breathing organism, where guards don't behave so much as automatons, but as actual humans. They react to anything strange quite realistically, turning their flashlights on, checking around the place and informing their CP about their findings. Leaving dead bodies around, killing someone during a search, or firing non-silenced weapons, will all draw the attention of even more soldiers and, of course, if Snake is eventually found the whole base will be on full alert. Therefore, it's important to stay low, silent and undetected, or at least avoid raising a commotion, by strangling enemies or, even better, by putting them to sleep with the tranquiliser pistol.

Screenshot for Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes on PC

The biggest change, though, is also the best one. Omega camp is a magnificently non-linear world that begs for multiple ways of dealing with a problem. How should an area be approached? By hiding in the shadows, with all guns blazing, from a secondary route, or by hiding in the back of a truck's trunk? Should Snake plant explosives in AA turrets, eavesdrop on enemies, threaten a captured solider into spilling out additional info, or should he just force this poor fellow to call for help and then venture elsewhere, while guards run to their knocked out - or dead - friend? It's all up to the player's skill, imagination, patience and eagerness to explore and mess around.

Snake can also "sense" people around him or get an indication that a nearby enemy is slightly alarmed. Sooner or later, though, he will be detected. What happens then? While there's always the typical run-and-hide routine, it's also possible to let his inner Rambo have its fun, something that is surprisingly entertaining for a Metal Gear title - just keep in mind, that the ranking system only awards the most stealthy and bloodless runs. One last-chance feature, called Reflex Mode, lets gamers enter a bullet time-like slowdown in order to dispose of the bad guy before he alerts even more 'Men in Khaki,' but purists will surely disable that in order to get an S-Rank.

Screenshot for Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes on PC

Regarding the console-to-PC transition, those with a high-end system will get to see - the already beautiful - Ground Zeroes at its very best. Unfortunately, like with almost all PC ports, this is a rushed job and has a fair share of problems. Users who prefer the keyboard and mouse will be disappointed, since everything here was made with a GamePad in mind, not to mention that the controls aren't as customisable as they should, and, to nit-pick even more, while this version has all the available missions and unlockables, the option of using custom music has sadly been left out. Hopefully, this will come back, maybe alongside a patch for the few not-so-serious, but still annoying bugs.

The elephant in the room, though, is still the fact that the main mission is one-to-two hours long and with only one base available to explore. Additional missions can be unlocked and replayed again for better ranks and bonus items, but these only add a couple of more hours to the mix. However, all these would be worthless if the game's open-ended structure wasn't so damn good. Gamers can spend hours in replaying each mission, trying out different strategies, or just having some plain old fun. In the end, though, while Ground Zeroes is very enjoyable, it's not for everyone and thus can't avoid being a typical example of a love-it-or-hate-it kind of situation.

Screenshot for Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes on PC

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

While it looks like one, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is not a demo. It could - and should - be cheaper, but that can't erase the fact that this is a product of a very high-quality and depth. The lack of an adequate storyline and secondary areas will disappoint most gamers, but those who accept it for what it is and not for what they would want it to be, will discover an exciting, non-linear environment alongside some great, stealth-focused gameplay. Those still not convinced can simply wait for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain - hopefully with Ground Zeroes included - which, judging from this small sample, could very well be the definitive Metal Gear experience.

Developer

Kojima Productions

Publisher

Konami

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

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   

Comments

Christos (guest) 28.08.2018#1

As said in other Ofisil reviews, he shouldn't review games, period.

Glorified paid demo* : 8/10
Great AAA game (Mankind Divided) : 6/10

Nothing more to say here. No need.

*that ended being a total mispresentation of the full game because the full game is a repetitive slog

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