Before we start talking about Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes I think I owe everyone a disclaimer. I am a big fan of the series. I thought the maligned-in-retrospect Metal Gear Solid 4 was a bit of misunderstood classic. So my opinion of this — let's face facts — criminally short experience might be tainted by that.
Still, let's get that out of the way — the issue of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes length.
The main mission is short. Way, way too short to justify the price Konami is asking consumers to pay for it. And it's not just the fact that it's short, it's the mission itself: dull, unimaginative. Konami can dress it up with added missions, different settings, different objectives but it's not worth the money. It's just not.
And don't get me wrong, I have no problem with short games, short experiences. To be honest, I prefer them. Journey is one of my favourite games of the last generation, but that was an experience that felt perfectly tailored to it's two hour completion time. Ground Zeroes does not.
Ground Zeroes feels like a dressed up, over priced demo. There's no getting past it. I can't help feeling like it's a mistake on a number of levels: it has confused mainstream audiences by being Metal Gear Solid V but not being Metal Gear Solid V. It's made some fans a little angry for being overcharged.
I understand the intent: Kojima wants to provide players with a stepping stone, something to teach new/old players how to navigate Snake in what is a completely transformed Metal Gear Solid world — new control scheme, new type of environments, new everything. That is a noble goal. I don't know if it's noble to charge such a premium for that experience. Ground Zeroes feels like a glorified tutorial, or a demo, with bells on.
Which is a shame, because the controls, and Metal Gear Solid's trademark depth — it remains. You literally could replay Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes over and over again and get a different experience. But if you want to get your money's worth, you're going to have to.