Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Review


Thought the wait was over, huh?

When you think of the Metal Gear Solid  franchise, you think of boxes, stealth, and less than intelligent sentries patrolling a massive area. What if I told you that everything you think you knew was gone? In a sense, it is. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes  has done away with the boxes, and the questionable IQ levels of the sentries, but the stealth is still there, and it’s implemented better than ever. Also, in this game, you’re no longer called Snake; you’re now referred to simply as Boss. Being a game dedicated to one mission, it still feels very familiar yet brand new all at the same time.

The objective of the mission is to extract Paz and Chico from the Cuban military prison camp. The prison camp abides by no laws – it’s an area where neither American nor Cuban law has any authority. For those who didn’t play or complete Peace Walker, the game provides a text based backstory to ensure that everyone knows who’s who, and what has happened to lead up to this point.

The game’s sound is phenomenal. Whether you have surround sound or not, the game makes it feel like you are playing in surround sound. The sounds of the sentry’s footsteps, or a car driving past you all come through crystal clear. It also comes through depending on which way the camera is facing. Say for instance the camera is facing to the right of Boss, and a sentry is walking about to the left of him, the sound of the footsteps are isolated to the left speaker giving you a great sense of direction. It makes it a lot easier for you to remain aware of your surroundings and avoid detection.

One thing I found interesting is if you’re playing less than stealthily, Miller will call you and urge you to find cover. He’ll call and say something along the lines of “You’re too exposed there. Get behind some cover.” Also, for those of you upset by the voice actor shift, Boss doesn’t say much throughout the mission but the times he does, it will take some getting used to for long-time fans of the series who are used to the talents of David Hayter.

The mechanics of the game have been tweaked slightly. Controlling Boss feels as smooth as the controls did in Guns of the Patriots,  just slightly upgraded – by that I mean the movements feel more natural. Whether you’re walking, running or sprinting (yes, Boss can now sprint), you always feel like you have complete control over your movements. The maneuverability is just a fluid while crouching, and speed isn’t an issue. While crouching, Boss moves at a good speed that you don’t feel too much worry ducking from one cover spot to the next. Speaking of cover spots, the cover system works well, but it takes a little getting used to.

“You’re too exposed there.
Get behind some cover.” – Miller

When you want to enter cover, you need to just push the analog stick up towards the wall you want to hug. However, it works best after you stop moving and then push the analog stick forward. If you try to keep walking towards the wall in an attempt to hug the wall for cover, Boss will walk along the wall and potentially expose himself. This mechanic is slightly dangerous when trying to stay out of sight when a sentry thinks he may have seen someone. However, once you get used to how to get Boss to hug the wall, the cover system is very helpful and has no seemingly big flaws. When in cover, moving the analog stick very slightly has Boss inch about cover very slowly and quietly, which makes maneuvering in cover during alert/search phases extremely helpful to remain aware of your surroundings.

The default aiming speed was perfect for me. Whether you need to quickly aim and shoot an enemy or you want to take your time to aim for that perfect headshot, I never felt the need to shift the speed of the aiming. One of the new things in Ground Zeroes  is Reflex Mode. It is essentially a slow down mode (think bullet time from Max Payne) that is triggered when Boss is seen by the enemy. When Reflex Mode is turned on (you have the option to turn it off), the game will prompt you to press the aiming button to enter this slow down mode, in which you have a decent length of time to line up your shot and pick them off before they alert everyone else.

When in alert mode, I found that it was extremely easy to avoid detection. The maps are very generous with hiding spots whether it be hiding under a building, or hiding in a guard post. The enemies typically don’t do a thorough search, so hiding in these crawl spots will generally be your best bet to getting out of search mode. There are 2 different modes: search mode and alert mode. After alert, when you’re hiding and trying to get away, you enter search mode. After they call CP and say they can’t find you, you re-enter alert mode (which is essentially just the enemies searching for you still), afterwards they finally give up and go back to their positions. A weird glitch happens sometimes during alert mode where a sentry will call CP to say something but they’ll abruptly stop mid-sentence. When that happens, CP will call back sounding panicked asking what’s wrong, but they don’t call for reinforcements to see why they stopped talking. I couldn’t think of a reason why this was happening because the person calling was always off screen while I was hiding to get out of alert.

While the Ground Zeroes mission itself can be done quickly or slowly (depending on the approach you take), the addition of the side ops and the collectible hunt to unlock the console exclusive mission give the game that extra edge it needed to be a game to look out for. All missions have a normal and hard difficulty; but hard is only unlocked after clearing normal. Doing specific tasks during the mission will unlock rewards. Rewards are unlocked based on end of mission scores as well as the completion of trials during replays.

SpawnFirst Recommends…

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes  is a game well worth its weight. Between the side ops and unlocking the console exclusive mission, this game gives hours of playtime. While it’s merely the prologue to The Phantom Pain, the $30 price tag is more than justified and definitely worth the experience. It’s always good to know the complete story so those who play Ground Zeroes will know where the story picks up when The Phantom Pain releases.