Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is a prequel to MGSV: The Phantom Pain developed by Kojima Productions. Ground Zeroes takes place in 1975 which is 20 years prior to the original Metal Gear and 39 years before Metal Gear Solid IV. In Ground Zeroes you control Naked Snake, aka, Big Boss on a mission to rescue Chico and Paz from a Naval Prison in northern Cuba. The story line, like all MGS games, is extremely confusing for those who are new to the series thanks to all the code name usage (no Big Boss isn’t Solid Snake nor Liquid Snake, however, he’s sometimes referred to as “Snake”) and secretive nature of the game. Luckily, there is a short in-game comic to catch you up to speed. If you want to understand the FULL MGS Timeline you should probably check out the MGS Wikipedia page.
Ground Zeroes’ controls were a little confusing after admittedly not having played a MGS game in almost 6 years, but, Kojima & Konami understand this and show you how to access the in-game manual within the first 2 minutes gameplay. Once you see the controls you get used to them quickly.
The map they place you in is a Secret US Prison in Cuba (which you can see some of in the picture above) made to resemble Guantanamo. It is rather large as well as very open, which is slightly different than most MGS games. The openness adds a very nice and modern twist to a long running franchise as it allows for players to learn of secret paths and play through the game however they please. Run and gun through the map if you dare, or sneak around every little crevice to stay unspotted, or do as I did and mix both.
This open map isn’t the only thing different in the new game. The series seems to be taking a darker, more serious direction:
-Missing some things that “made” the MGS series:
Ground Zeroes is missing many of the key components that makes the MGS franchise the MGS franchise. They stripped out the fan favorite CARDBOARD BOX… I KNOW RIGHT, HOW IS THIS A MGS GAME WITHOUT THE CARDBOARD BOX?! They also seemingly did away with the pin-up posters and “magazines”. Not only did they strip out the funny and unique stuff, but they also removed the health bar and the need for objects that heal you, like the rations. Now the screen goes red and shows little blood blotches when you get shot and (wouldn’t you know) if you take cover for long enough the screen goes back to normal color and you heal. Yeah you heard me correctly, Big Boss joined the Weapon X program when none of us were looking and now has regenerative powers.
-There are not enough one liners:
The game’s dialog is serious and sometimes even a bit dark, there are the occasional comments that are made to lift the mood such as, “Kept you waiting, huh?”, but they are not nearly enough.
The MGS Franchise moved away from David Hayter as the voice of Naked Snake and instead went in the direction of Kiefer Sutherland. This swap isn’t impossible to wrap your head around since Sutherland plays Jack Bauer on 24 and I could totally see Jack Bauer becoming Big Boss one day. It is rather strange that they did not bring back David Hayter though, considering he had voiced both Naked Snake and Solid Snake throughout the majority of the Franchise.
-No more awesome Codec conversations:
Yes, there are still conversations going on through a walkie-talkie device called the iDroid, but no more awesome cut scenes showing the Codec device and each character that’s talking. Now the conversations tend to be happening either during an epic, action packed cut scene, or when you are in your iDroid menu.
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is easily one of the shortest games I’ve played. I heard everywhere that it would take between an hour and a half to two hours to complete, then I went and tried it. It took me a mere 63 minutes to complete with a Rank of ‘B’, and this wasn’t even a speed run… I was learning controls and studying the layout of the rather large map. While the game is extremely short, you get a ranking based off your stats which in turn unlocks new missions. This in turn helps the re-play value of the game by adding at least 6 extra hours of gameplay if you decide to embark on every new mission.
Ground Zeroes also feels like one of the only solely single player games in existence right now. In all honesty while single player games are very much enjoyable in this day-and-age since they are so unique, it would have been nice to have a way to compare your gameplay stats to that of your friends who also have played the game, that way you feel challenged to run through the map again and do better.
A Gamer’s Opinion:
Ground Zeroes feels like it was entirely made to hype you up for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. However, it was released way too early to do so since it is a very short game and The Phantom Pain may not be out until 2015! This game could have easily been made into an intro quest to The Phantom Pain, downloadable content, or even an hour long film (the cut scenes alone were about 45 minutes). Instead they decided to make it into a “game” and charge $30 for it. While the story was extremely awesome, it completely dulls down after the first play through. In my opinion the game is awesome, but you should wait until the week prior to The Phantom Pain before buying or playing it, that way the price MAY drop and it will be fresh in your mind (the MGS story is too confusing as is, add in a year and you are likely to forget everything that happened).
- Leaves you hyped for MGSV: The Phantom Pain
- High Re-Playability
- Open to all play styles
- Extremely Short
- Missing some things that “made” the MGS series: R.I.P. Cardboard Box.
- Did I mention it’s short?