MGS V: Ground Zeroes, now available for 360, PS3, Xbox One and PS4

This isn’t necessarily a review, so much as an informal “after the experience” take regarding MGS V: Ground Zeroes. I’ve already reviewed this title on my personal blog, and I’m certain that a fellow author is already working on an official Review for Gamer Headlines.

When Ground Zeroes was first announced at E3 2012, I was immediately sold. Then again, Metal Gear is one of my favorite video game sagas to-date. Now that I finally own said game, and have run through it a few times, I can happily say that I was impressed with what Konami and Kojima Productions had to offer. The version that I played was for Xbox 360; as you can expect, it lacks the phenomenal visuals that the PS4 and Xbox One can produce. However, this is one of the best-looking 360 games that I’ve ever played, rivaling that of Grand Theft Auto V. Sadly, some of the cutscenes- what few there are- are marred by screen-tearing and a choppy frame-rate. It’s apparent that Kojima Productions spent some time with the current-gen version, as it’s not just a watered-down, stripped version of the next-gen counterpart.

Fans have had several questions regarding the true length of Ground Zeroes: The main “Ground Zeroes” mission is fairly short. As some of you have probably seen by now, a staff member from Eurogamer completed the main campaign in just over 10 min. Granted, the player chose to completely disregard every element of stealth in the game, but it makes for a super-entertaining watch…assuming you’re alright with spoilers. I typically have a slower, more methodical approach to stealth games; my finishing play time for the “Ground Zeroes” mission was 2 hrs, 9 min. Really, the length of the story just depends on whoever is playing.

As many liberties as Ground Zeroes takes from the previous Metal Gear Solid titles, it still feels like another MGS game. Perhaps this is because it still features the same stealth tactics at its core as with the other MGS games. However, literally everything else from Metal Gear Solid has been removed or altered in some way. Where the other titles had a stationary health bar, that could only be replenished through Rations (or by hunting animals in Snake Eater), Ground Zeroes features regenerating health. As with the majority of modern action games, health is indicated by screen-effects. In this case, when Snake takes damage, the screen’s hue shifts, and burn-spots appear. The Codec has been replaced by the iDroid, which for the most part, has the same functionality of the Codec. However, using the iDroid does not pause the game, which I found out the hard way. The iconic Soliton Radar system is gone, along with the enemy “cone of view”, in favor of a halo that indicates the direction of the guard or camera that spots the player. I found it bizarre to have all of these “modern” mechanics in a Metal Gear Solid title, but it compliments the open-world setting very well.

I really shouldn’t dive deeper into the gameplay, as that would take away from the official review, but I’ll end on this; is Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes worth the $29.99?

If you thoroughly enjoy following the rise and fall of Big Boss, then yes. If you planned on getting Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain whenever that releases, then yes. The main campaign is notably short, but Ground Zeroes serves two main purposes; to get fans ready for the epic that is The Phantom Pain, and to introduce players to the wide variety of new gameplay features. There’s a slew of unlockable missions, including the Sony/Microsoft-exclusive ones to grind through once “Ground Zeroes” has been completed. As extra incentive, according to the case, playing MGS V: Ground Zeroes will unlock extra content for MGS V: The Phantom Pain.

Those of you who are currently playing, or have already finished Ground Zeroes, what are your thoughts? Was it $30 well-spent, or did you find it to be nothing more than an over-priced demo? Do you prefer the new gameplay mechanics, or would you have rather had the “classic” style of gameplay? Leave a comment below, and let the discussion begin!