Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Review - Snake Oil

Jim Sterling | 18 Mar 2014 11:59
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All of this, however, is undoubtedly just selling The Phantom Pain. There's not enough of anything in Ground Zeroes to keep an old Metal Gear Solid fan like me satisfied. The story is intriguing, but says very little, the gameplay is a promising improvement for the series, but it relies on recycling its own threadbare assets to get more than two hours' worth. Ground Zeroes is a tease, a carrot dangling on the end of a stick, and while it keeps me eager to play the real Metal Gear Solid V, it left me feeling ultimately cheated.

Length is not the most important factor when determining the quality of a game, and I am in fact very much in agreement with those who would prefer a great short game over a bad long one. The problem is, Ground Zeroes truly, honestly, does not feel like much of a game. Not a complete one. Not a full product, worthy of charging money. In today's world, a deep, engaging and lengthy experience can cost users ten dollars or less. That's the world we live in now, where independent games and digital distribution allow developers to create substantial products that end users can buy for chump change. There is simply no excuse for what has happened here.

I could talk more about the finer points of Ground Zeroes' gameplay. I could tell you about its impressive graphics, I could further detail its controls, but why? I'll be repeating myself a little later in the year when The Phantom Pain launches. I have little doubt that the full MGS is one that'll be worth paying for, and I anticipate its launch excitedly. This release, however, does not tide me over. It only makes me disappointed. I could have bought at least three real, fulfilling games with this money, but instead I have an interactive billboard on my PS4 hard drive.

Even if you're a die hard fan of Metal Gear Solid, you could skip this. Narratively, there's nothing here that a cursory scanning of Wikipedia won't tell you. The story, as told here, is glancing and vague, nothing but teaser material that you just don't need to experience firsthand. As a purchasable product, this is as unnecessary as unnecessary gets.

It's a shame, too, because Ground Zeroes is full of good things - distinct elements that are beautifully well made. It's just sad that Zone of the Enders 3 didn't come out sooner, and have this packed in with it.

Bottom Line: Audacious is the word that best describes Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. It contains quality material, but it's little more than a preview of something better, and as such, simply should not be presenting itself - deceptively - as a game in its own right.

Recommendation: If you can ever grab it for free, you should definitely snap it up. Otherwise, you ought to just wait for The Phantom Pain.

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