Kept you waiting huh?
These are going to be very brief thoughts on the game’s main mission as I haven’t had a chance to do the side-ops yet due to a related freelance commission on the game you can now see on VG247 (and stay tuned for more on there from me on GZ). No general final thoughts.
From a gameplay aspect, for the most part, I enjoyed it. There are numerous ways to branch off the beaten path and take another route when it shows itself to sneak around the Camp Omega fortress. You aren’t given much gear to take in with you compared to hoarding all the gear in past MGS titles. You’re given a rifle, a tranquilliser gun, grenades and night-vision goggles. When you come across a fallen enemy’s gun, for example, you’re able to swap it with what you had on you. No hoarding for you soldier.
Ground Zeroes also introduces a mechanic that slows down time when the enemy spots you, giving you the chance to take him down before he’s able to raise the alarm to his fellow guards. I’m not a massive fan of it. Thankfully, it can be turned off for those who want to go hardcore.
The game is also a looker, big time. Teased as a modified engine for last year’s Pro Evolution Soccer, the Fox Engine is just stunning. 720p at 30fps on a video doesn’t do it justice (and even then, it’s bafflingly great to look at). With 1080p at 60fps on PlayStation 4, it’s just bonkers mad how incredible it looks. The environments, the character models and – more than anything – the lighting. GZ has laid down a massive early marker in graphical power with the new machines.
For all the talk of time leading into the game’s release, I finished its main mission first time in just under an hour, whilst a second runthrough was done in 40 minutes. I didn’t feel like I was rushing it too hard, at least the first time anyways, yet the clock rattled at under an hour each playthrough.
But despite that, finishing the main mission only results in a 10% completion rate with the game making up the rest of the effort in side-ops, missions that take place within Camp Omega outside the game’s main story, as well as other bits.
For the worries in the world of massive cut-scenes that come with each Metal Gear, there’s only two of them in the entirety of Ground Zeroes: one to kick off the game and its ending just after the mission wraps up. Both of them can’t be anymore than around 25 minutes in length combined.
Which brings us to that scene at the beginning of the game’s end with Paz. It was teased a bit in last year’s Red Band trailer for The Phantom Pain at E3, which in itself made me look away each time in how gruesome it was. In fact, I remember having a discussion with a fellow peer about it in the press area at last year’s Eurogamer Expo about that scene.
Yet, you ain’t see nothing yet. The scene is absolutely one of the most gruesome, toe-curling scenes I’ve ever seen in a game.
Kojima had previously said between 2009 and 2012 he wanted to explore taboo subjects in his next game, but whatever you say of that – and I have a feeling this could go either way in other reviews – it’s something that is definitely out there. And that, at the very least, is worth some respect on the part of its director and Kojima Productions.
[Disclosure: This is based on a final PlayStation 4 retail copy of Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes, provided by Konami. Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes releases in Europe on Friday and in the US today on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.