23 June 2014 | FormerlyDoh11
A taste of what's to come
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes' story will take the average player only two hours or so to complete. This in and of itself is disappointing, but what this game's purpose is to give you a glimpse of what's to come in the massive 100 hour plus experience that is dropping next year: MGS V: The Phantom Pain.
That being said, Ground Zeroes' very existence is questionable. Why release this game when you have so much more to show us when The Phantom Pain is only another year or so away from being released?
There are also 6 or 7 side missions that are fantastic for the most part, but when you play through Ground Zeroes, you feel like you get an underwhelming experience overall from a story perspective.
But from a game play standpoint, this is arguably the best MGS game to date. CQC has been revamped a bit to function as smoothly and as satisfying as ever. The gun controls are extremely functional and well coded. The design itself of the one level you play in is absolutely massive. The openness of the world leads to the toughest infiltration in any Metal Gear game ever.
Because the level is so open, you have to contend with so much more than just guys walking around. There are also vehicles driving around that monitor the area, and you can even high jack these vehicles as well, a new first for MGS.
The binoculars are for the first time in the series, very useful and not cumbersome to use. Pressing the R2 button on the PS3 brings it up, and allows you to tag enemies so that you know where they are on your radar.
This is extremely helpful for plotting your next move.
The exploration of this finely constructed level is exhilarating. You never know where enemies are going to be, and you have to plot out your next move very carefully. The level is so open, and there are so many ways to explore it, that Ground Zeroes is highly replayable, even if it is short.
The story picks up directly after Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. Chico and Paz have been captured by a clandestine special force known as XOF that may or may not have ties to Cipher. At the same time, Mother Base is being inspected by the UN while Big Boss is sent to the base to retrieve his captured companions.
This premise is simple enough and for the most part, it's handled pretty well, particularly the opening cinematic. Kojima continues to step up his filmmaking in many respects. Although he falls way too in love with slow motion that really takes the players out of the moment in the final cutscenes.
What should have been really powerful comes off as cheesy and a bit overextended because of the heavy reliance on slow motion when it wasn't really needed. it takes you out of the action. Kojima has used slow motion at times throughout Metal Gear, but it always felt appropriate. Here, it just feels shoehorned into the presentation and feels incredibly arbitrary.
So the story and presentation, while impressive, are not without their creative faults.
The graphics are incredible. Fans of visuals and hyper realistic textures and lighting should take note here. GZ is one of the best looking games I've ever played. The character models are tremendous, the particle effects and shaders are of the highest quality. The lighting itself is the best lighting I've ever seen in a video game. The tradition of excellence from art director Yoji Shinkawa is in top form here. Although one nitpick would be the blood on the screen when you get shot, looks terrible (why do developers continue to do this?), other than that, this is one of the best looking games ever created.
The voice acting is solid. Keifer Sutherland at times does a good job as Big Boss, particularly in the opening cinematic. But there are times when he seemingly breaks Snake's character and goes into Jack Bauer mode. This only really happens in the final couple of cutscenes, but it will be interesting to see how he fares in Phantom Pain. The jury is still out for me on Sutherland over former Solid Snake and Big Boss VA David Hayter, who is sorely missed.
The rest of the Peace Walker cast is back and they do a very good job. Robert Atkin Downes as Kaz MIller has a few terribly cheesy line deliveries but for the most part does a fine job. Tara Strong as Paz does well and Anthony Del Rio takes Chico into some new and brave territory for the little soldier.
The mysterious antagonist Skull Face (please I hope that's not his real name), sounds like someone out of a bad pornography film. For a character that seems very interesting and is actually well written for the most part, his voice actor makes you not take him as seriously as you want to take him.
The voice acting is a decidedly mixed bag this time around because of some of Sutherland's and Downes performances, as well as the entire performance of Skull Face's James Horan.
The best thing about GZ is that it continues the masterful design doctrine that Kojima introduced in MGS4. Play however you want (action or stealth) and go through a level anyway you want (non linear), but get to the same conclusion.
It's hard not to be excited for Phantom Pain after the taste the Ground Zeroes has given us.