Hideo Kojima is highly regarded as one of gaming's most prolific and creative developers/producers. His dedication to the Metal Gear Solid series has resulted in a collection of titles that have been universally praised by an ardent fanbase.
The fifth chapter in the MGS series, The Phantom Pain, is much bigger than anyone ever imagined. Which is why Kojima and Konami have decided to split off a portion of their grand MGS project and offer it as an extended look at what’s to come. Welcome to Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes.
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, is a brief, yet still entertaining, chapter that puts Big Boss back in the driver’s seat. From the first sight of the rainy backdrop and shady characters down to the downtrodden base and Big Boss’ helicopter arrival, you’ll be amazed at how great the visuals shine. On next-gen consoles, MGS comes to life with improved facial/body animations for the characters and an even more realistic looking military-themed locale. The main base that your brief mission takes place on looks phenomenal. As you sneak around every facet of your new personal playground, you’ll marvel at every little nook and cranny you come across.
It’s pretty alarming to hear 24 star Kiefer Sutherland adopt his new vocal duties as Big Boss. He plays the part well, but it’s hard to not envision Jack Bauer every time Big Boss utters a line. This radical change to Big Boss’ main voice talent definitely takes some getting used to, but Sutherland does an admirable job. As for the rest of the game’s audio presentation, everything works just fine. The sounds of bullets whizzing by, trucks driving over dirt roads and enemy soldiers calling for backup all provide the atmosphere needed for such a stealthy venture.
Now there’s been much said about the true value of Ground Zeroes. Some say this adventure is way too short and not worth the full asking price. Diehard Kojima/MGS fans back this game due to just how good it is and how much replayability it offers. As for this reviewer, my viewpoint is tied to the opinions of both camps. As a game, Ground Zeroes is excellent. The sneaking mechanics make you feel incredibly involved, thanks to the many tactical options available to Big Boss. You can go in guns blazing and retrieve your chosen targets, or use your brains to sneak around unseen. The modernized control scheme also brings Metal Gear Solid into a new focus and makes it easier to select/aim/shoot weapons and perform any other assorted actions.
On the other hand, it’s hard to ignore just how short the main core mission is. For players who just want to complete the main search and rescue task at hand, they’ll most likely complete in an hour. What’s even more disappointing about this main mission is the unplayable yet awesome sequence that follows the completion of your mission. The scene that erupts in front of you makes you anxious to take control, but you aren’t given the chance. With no boss fights or memorable plot moments to hang onto, this experience will make most gamers feel deflated and quite upset.
Sure, there are a bevy of extra missions in tow for dedicated players. These missions run the gamut of assassinations, more search and rescue operations, and even all-out action sequences. These provide a tad bit more entertainment and bang for your buck, but the fact that they all take place in the same location makes everything feel stale after a while.
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, at its core, is a great game that’s a fine indicator of just how great The Phantom Pain will be. But the insanely brief playthrough you’ll get out of this game and the recycled location you’ll play over and over again knocks this MSG entry down a peg. It’s still worth a look, though. Just keep your anticipation in check and enjoy this quick ride for what it is.