Let’s not ignore that Ground Zeroes is short but it packs the punch and if you are a perfectionist then it is close to 10+ hours of gameplay to say the least. An opening cutscene, which is almost exactly the same as the original announcement trailer, sets the scene. Chico and Paz – which you’ll remember from Peace Walker– are in a prison camp, and you’ve gone in to rescue them. This is Kojima, so the story is more intricate than that, but I won’t spoil it for you. All I will say is that it ties together all the trailers you’ve seen for Metal Gear Solid V, and it has me waiting for the full title.
In a first for the series, Ground Zeroes is billed as open world, though in truth that’s a little generous. The entire prison camp map is open from the start, with the ability to approach objectives as you see fit, but it isn’t much larger than a level in MGS4, simply less linear now.
New features slink their way into existing systems with reassuring ease. Taking a cue from Brody and Bats, Snake can tag and highlight enemies with his binoculars, coating them in a Detective Vision-like glow that makes long-distance reconnaissance a breeze. For the more wonky-thumbed, Koj also introduces Reflex: a slow-mo mode that gives you a couple of seconds to shoot an alerted guard. A concession to modern sneakers, sure.
Though Big Boss can’t match WayneTech’s Brucey bonuses, he’s in no way lacking on the gizmo front. The new iDroid acts as a real-time 3D map, doling out missions objectives, hints and the ability to call in a chopper for extraction at specific landing zones. You can even serenade your eardrums with classic Metal Gear tunes via Snake’s 1979-era cassette player. It’s a cute reminder that despite the fancy tech, the game is actually set in a time when the average PC was bigger than a semi-detached bungalow.
Curious about the size of Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes‘ stealthy playground? Be assured it’s pretty roomy. While Camp Omega obviously can’t compete with the scale of Rook Island, the total real estate is probably three or four times the size of Snake Eater’s Groznyj Grad compound. Make no mistake: Ground Zeroes is very much a fully-fledged sandbox. The military site is stuffed with multiple entry points, alternate routes and hidden avenues that make replaying the teeny jaunt several times a tantalising prospect.
A quick mention for the vehicles which are really good in handling. With a robust steering model giving real weight to the small selection of jeeps and trucks you can commandeer. As long as you resist the urge to cart around like a lunatic, driving between key areas on the base is a viable, time-saving strategy. Of course, you can simply sneak into the back of a truck and let the AI ferry you around.
A lot has been said about the length of the gameplay, Metal Gear and its handful of well-executed side missions clock a little over 10 hours of (the still impressive) Splinter Cell: Blacklist. The problem is that price. If Konami slashes its price, then you are in for a winner. You can also join the debate on our forum and let us know how long did you take to complete the game.
Ground Zeroes is fantastic and one of the best-looking games ever made, there is simply nothing I would change about the gameplay at all. It had us drooling for the next version, and that means it has done its job. If you can overlook the price tag then this is absolutely worth picking up.
Developed by Kojima Productions. Published by Konami. Released March 18, 2014. Available on PS3, PS4 (reviewed), Xbox 360, Xbox One.
Note of Thanks
A big thanks to our friends at e-Xpress games for providing a review sample of the game. You can buy the game from leading onlinep ortals