Developer: Kojima Productions
Release Date: 3/18/2014
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When I first heard about Ground Zeroes being released, I thought of one other game: Gran Turismo 5 Prologue. A glorified demo that showcased the tech behind the game. This usually happens when games take way too long to release and the developers need some feedback. So, they release a chunk of the game for about $30 and get the world’s reaction. Ground Zeroes is actually a glorified demo of the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. If you aren’t a Metal Gear fan…well what the hell are you reading this for?!
Ground Zeroes is actually taking place after the PSP game Peace Walker which really surprised me. The game is made up of one giant mission in a large military compound. You must rescue to children, Chico and Paz who were the main character in Peace Walker. The first thing I noticed about GZ was how much everything has improved from visuals to controls and animations. The entire familiar gameplay is streamlined like it should have been years ago. No longer do you have the radio menu where you dial in and talk to people with long dialogue sequences. Just press a button to get hints on what to do, genius. The aiming is also a lot better this time around, as well as inventory swapping and interacting with objects. Again, it’s all very familiar but just more streamlined. My favorite combat feature is when you are alerting a guard the game will slow down and turn towards the guard you alerted. You get about 10 seconds to put the guy down before he raises the alarm. Thanks to the more open environments it’s much easier to see where everyone is. Climb up a watchtower and use your binoculars to tag enemies is just what the series has needed for awhile.
That’s another thing some MGS fans will not like, the open endedness of the levels. The compound is huge with many rooms, areas, and buildings. A new feature in MGSV is to interrogate an enemy but sneaking up on them and grabbing them. They will tell you where something valuable in the area is like an armory, weapon, or enemy placements. You can choose to kill enemies or knock them out with your tranq pistol (like the good ‘Ol days). Figuring out where to go wasn’t too difficult. My first objective was getting Chico from a prison camp not too far from where I started. The second objective, finding Paz, was a real pain as I had to use sound clues from a cassette recording to find out where she was. I finally figured out what area, but it was getting to the right building that was tough. Silencers in this game eventually break so I was stuck with just a tranq dart and couldn’t disable cameras. I had to run around finding an armory that had another silenced weapon to continue and I died many times doing so.
Once I got Paz I called in a chopper to pick her up. I jumped on an AA gun since her being missing was discovered and the whole base was on alert. Thankfully no one took the chopper down and I was able to squirrel away to the starting point to end the one hour mission. After the final cutscene the game ended and I thought that if I had paid for this game I would have been really pissed off.
With that said, Ground Zeroes shows us just what Phantom Pain will be like and I also have to mention that Kiefer Sutherland pulls off a better Snake than David Hayter. Yes, I said it, bite me.