I already finished Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, and all I can say it was bittersweet. And did I mention it was just a prologue for the Phantom Pain? Being a huge fan of the Metal Gear franchise, Ground Zeroes was simply the best of its league. For being a short game, you can actually finish it under 2 – 3 hours. We’ll that is simply not much, but for a prologue or teaser of the game, then it is sufficient enough to get your daily dose of stealth with a beautifully executed cut-scene.
Bridging the Gap
Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes fills the gap of the Phantom Pain and introduces players to a new stealth mechanic and open-world gameplay. The new format is perfect, giving veteran players of the franchise with a brand new way of approaching objectives and side-missions.
The introduction was spectacular, with Kojima playing all the strings of the game’s narrative and captures the essence of a great storytelling. Players take the role of Big Boss; a battle-harden soldier who is rejected by the US Government and has created his own private army in an offshore oil platform.
The mission starts with the same old long-cutscene in a dark stormy night on the rocky hills of Camp Omega. A military black site near the coast of Cuba. Your mission is to infiltrate the heavily armed base to rescue Chico and using the cassette player, you need to decipher and find a way to your next objective utilizing the skills of stealth, interrogation, or go full Rambo.
What makes Ground Zeroes unique from previous games of the franchise is the fact how it immerses players of the game giving them that realistic feel of keeping yourself from being detected. After all it is a stealth game. But if you still stalking in the dark and stormy night tiresome, we’ll like I said you can always opt to go Rambo-style shooting all the things you can see. Not to mention, you can hijack an APC and go trigger happy with its built in cannons.
The HUD is strip out of its bare minimum, giving you a full wide angle of what is happening to the base. Unlike previous games where you have this handy minimap sitting on the corner of your screen that monitors enemy’s movement; you are left with a portable map projector or as the game call it as the “iDroid device”giving you the illusion that it is projected on screen. The only way to register an enemy and track them on the map is to spot them with your binoculars and marking them. Which is comparable to Far Cry 4’s mechanic of tagging your enemies with your camera. Nothing feels comfortable of having to know your enemies movements, but there will always be those “AHA” moments where every tight corner will prove to be fatal, with random AI movements or possible challenges that you need get through to stay undetected.
Stealth or Go Rambo!
If you do get spotted, guards will call in for backup and the whole base will be on high alert. Guards will come in swarms on your last known position and sometimes, they like to bring out the heavy cavalry like sending in APC’s or helicopters. The handy countdown timer that tells you how much time left that the guards are on alert can no longer be found. Instead, you have to rely on actual radio chatter or guard behavior patterns. Which I find it really helpful and downright annoying at some point.
Staying out of plain sight is the key and Big Boss has every tools of the trade to get you away with it in every situation. Sticking to the shadows, hiding in grass, crawling, or using the famous cardboard box are just one of the many things to keep you hidden in the dark. But there are just one of those moments that you need to shoot your way out of a sticky situation. Not to worry, as Big Boss second in command Kazuhira Miller is there to guide you through the codec. Miller is the man behind the radio, and is useful in handing-out bits of information and calling in for backup. Which is pretty useful, as there are many ways to go around with an objective.
Your rank is determined by the way you played the game. These includes the number of times you have been spotted or the number of people you have executed or subdue will play an important role after you finish the game. Rewards are given influenced by your rank and these include power new weapons and other features that makes replayability fun and exciting the second time around.
Additionally, there are 5 side missions that you can play with. And these missions are set during daytime that includes a VIP rescue mission, and a “Déjà vu” and “Jamais Vu” missions which pays tribute to the classical Metal Gear Solid and lets you play as Raiden to eliminate “Body-Snatchers” respectively. Lastly, I just couldn’t miss pointing how Kojima handles the franchise like a masterpiece. With strong narrative dialogues (not to mention David Hayter was replaced was Keifer Sutherland) and action packed cut scenes makes Ground Zeroes more than just a teaser. I’ll leave the ending for you to discover.
Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes is an addictive new taste of the already satisfying stealth genre of the franchise. The added open-world gameplay and new stealth mechanics are just one of those special ingredients that makes Ground Zeroes a worthy appetizer for the real thing. If Ground Zeroes has already been this good, then certainly I cannot wait for Metal Gear Solid: Phantom Pain.