Review: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

Review: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
Screenshot of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes.

Fans of Brazilian churrascaria will understand this. The server walks by with a beef hump and slices off a small piece on your plate. When you ask for more, he tells you that the rest is not cooked yet and you have to wait.

With Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (MGSV:GZ) though, there is no "more".

MGSV:GZ is effectively a prologue for the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain full game and even casual players will be surprised at how short this $42 game is.

Playing as Snake aka Big Boss, players must infiltrate a camp to save two hostages. Then, it is game over.

While I was aware that it was short, I was not prepared to see the credits roll right after the rescue. Your satisfaction with the game will depend on how you feel about replaying the game.

To his credit, director Hideo Kojima has created a massive sandbox for players to roll about in, as there are many ways to infiltrate the camp to get to the two hostages. Players can even decide which one to save first, as each is kept in a different part of the compound.

There is the usual stuff - you sneak around and knock out armed guards. But you get plenty of leeway to decide which route to take and how to get there. The first time you play the game, you have to listen closely to the guards, who will drop clues about the prisoners' locations. Players can sneak out in the open but hidden in the shadows, or use small underground drains to escape the spotlights that shine on every corner of Camp Omega.

Personally, I feel that one cannot complete the game without attempting to steal a vehicle and driving it to the spot where one of the hostages is held.

As for my own playing style, I prefer to sneak around corners and behind soldiers out on patrol, daring anyone to spot me.

However, when I did get spotted, the soldiers started to shoot at me.

When I stayed hidden, the soldiers would give up on the hunt. This is also what happens in many stealth games. But I feel this is unrealistic and not what would happen in real life.

With a compound so huge, there are many paths to take, but the game does not make full use of this.

For example, whatever path you take, there will be soldiers waiting for you. What the game does not do - and it should - is make other soldiers come at you from the path you did not take. This is what one would have expected from a game of this pedigree.

Once you beat the game, you can unlock additional side missions. Or you can replay the game, complete the side quests and unlock the many achievements within the game.

Despite its sharp visuals and excellent voice acting, there is no escaping that MGSV:GZ is actually a demo that you had to pay for.

Rating: 7/10

Price: $42 (PS3); $42 (PS4, version tested)

Genre: Action

This article was published on April 30 in Digital Life, The Straits Times.

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