Community Review: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

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.


    I don't own the game and I haven't played it. But since I'm on the internet and the general consensus has been negative, I'm going to call this a money-grubbing waste of time that nobody should ever play and its existence is killing the industry.

      I think the bigger issue is that it didn't waste enough time. :)

    I went through Ground Zeros on PS4 last night in 90mins with a craptastic C rank :p

    I need to catch up on Portable Ops and Peace Walker for this to make more sense!

    Game looks great with the locked 60fps and lots of fine touches. Takes me back to MGS2.

      I skipped both and just read the plot summary on the MGS wiki. Failing that you could always watch a lets play

      I was under the impression that Peace Walker had ousted Portable Ops' place in canon. The former seems like a basic retelling of the latter with the official Kojima stamp on it.

      Kojima has made it pretty clear that he doesn't consider Portable Ops canon, and Peace Walker is frankly a much better version of the same idea, so you could probably just play through that and understand what's going on in Ground Zeroes.

    I think your criticism of the length and the price is justified. But to call the main mission 'dull, unimaginative' requires further explanation. Did the cost/length sour the experience?

      Well i mean look at the mission compared to say, any of the different sections of Metal Gear Solid 3. Even compared to the relatively "normal" tanker mission of Metal Gear Solid 2, this mission really did have nothing about it that made it exciting. It was far too influenced by the bite-sized, hand-held titles' level design than a full Metal Gear game.

      Think about the way you had to use light to navigate through a pitch black cave in MGS 3, or moving through the swamp avoiding crocodiles, whilst also getting leeches for being in it too long. Or the way you would camouflage to avoid being seen with combinations of face paint and fatigues. Or the injury system, Something that should have never been removed from Metal Gear Solid!

      Goddamn I gotta play Snake Eater again.

      My point is that this felt like it didn't have a "hook", it didn't have something about it that spiced up the fact you were running from one waypoint to the other. Whereas Metal Gear Solid 3 pretty much had a new element in each screen that made you change your tactics. The shooting is generic and actually more difficult than ever before, camouflage has gone out the window, you're relegated to just crouching behind things. It lacks something.

      I truly believe stealth and racing games should stay far, far away from open-world mechanics. They are two genres that thrive on tightly curated content, and open world games excel at the opposite of that.

      No, he is more than correct. This game was not only far... FAR too short, but the mission was simply rescude two kids and get out. Done. Mission over.

    I'm a MASSIVE MGS fan and this was going to be the reason I was going to get a PS4 for, but now I'm not sure...

    Although with Infamous and more quality games coming out steadily I'm going to have to cave sooner or later.

      I'm thinking I might take the PS4 plunge this week sometime. This is a game I'm definitely interested in, but I'll be waiting until the price drops to below half what it is now.

      I'm holding out until it does the basic media playback which all electronic devices have had for about 10 years.

    I haven't played much of it yet but the graphics are something else on PS4. The controls are morr intuitive than previous games and definitely relies on you being very aware of the environment around you. I can't comment on the length yet but I'm hoping that the reward' you get from buying the game that comes with Phantom Pain won't be something minor like a character skin.

    So much negativity. If $30 is really worth that much to you then dont buy it now, wait til it's included with the real game. I bought it over the weekend cause I needed a small break from Dark Souls 2 and I feel like it's worth it. Its short yes, but there's so much replayability. It feels and looks great and is a lot of fun.

    Not even a huge MGS fan but this small taste has me very very keen for next year's installment.

    Got it yesterday. Played a bit last night. It looks good on the PS4. As far as gameplay goes, it's ok.

      To be honest, I like the streamlining and I really appreciate what they've done with the inventory. As much as I like Snake eater and MGS4, the CQC was clunky as hell and the inventory needed a major overhaul. Now it feels smooth, easy to use and CQC is a delight and AWESOME to watch!!! Snake moving around feels like you're some sort of supersoldier finally. Plus, placing getting soldiers to call in their friends, killing them, placing C4 under their bodies.... and BOOM!!!! Something *so* delightful about watching the enemies ride that shockwave out of there! lol

    I wonder if Konami will consider releasing a demo? Ha

    After hearing it's been completed in under 10 minutes, I've be severely put off. I have a feeling this could hurt the sales of the next game.

    It looks amazing, but sorry, I just can't justify the price.

      You can beat most Trials tracks in a minute or two, but it's not just a case of picking up a controller and playing it for two minutes. I could speed run the main mission pretty quickly but only because I've invested a lot of time learning the best paths.

      There's a mission which can be finished in about 10 minutes with a S Ranking while spending most of that time just hiding in one spot not moving, but if you do it that way you've either read a guide or played the mission enough to know where to go and the timing you need to pull it off perfectly.

    Yeh im going to wait for MGS V "full experience" edition (Ground Zeroes + Phantom Pain) that will no doubt come out.

    Last edited 31/03/14 12:17 pm

    On my 360 I have MGS2 (finished the tanker chapter), MGS3 (loitering in a very dark cave about to fight the guy who shoots bees or something) and Peace Walker (finished chapter one which was freaking huge)

    Peace Walker is the most fun of the three for those if you playing at home

    For these gargantuan games I paid the paltry sum of $15 - so whilst Ground Zeroes looks fun and amazing I'm not willing to part with $30 for it (that's tge XBLA price) but as soon as it goes on sale I'll be there!

    Last edited 31/03/14 12:22 pm

      I've payed more for Aliens: Colonial Marines when It first came out. So I guess you can say that judging a game using purely cost v time can be precarious.

      The great thing about Ground Zeroes is that if you're a MGS fan you most likely would have hear of the issue surrounding the game.

      So hurray for consumer discretion.

        Yeah don't get me wrong I would have a blast with it and easily sink more than 2 hours into it - but given the number of other MGS games ice only scratched the surface of I might show some restraint and tackle those first (also $30 on the 360 is not as onerous as the $40 next gen price tag for a fairly minor cosmetic difference)

    I feel like this games lengh is getting a bad rap.

    The original Metal Gear Solid can be finished in 2 hours without cutscenes, but i don't hear anyone complaining that it is too short.

    If people want to rush through it as quickly as possible, and then complain that it is too short, that is their problem. People seem to love complaining. Some people have become very entitled these days. I think they are missing the point of this, and they need to play another game.

    Maybe Skyrim, that games huge.

    I've been collecting everything and skulking around, listening to guards talking to each other, learning the layout of the base and just generally taking my time with it.

    I have completed all the missions, but I've still got to get "S" ranks on some, and i havent even touched hard difficulty yet, and I've clocked up just over 7 hours so far. Many more to come.

    For a $44 game (JB Price), i dont think thats too bad.

    But, like Mark Serrels, I am a massive Metal Gear fan, So maybe im biased on this.

      Isn't the problem that GZ can be finished in 6 minutes, but can take up to two hours if you really take your time? This should be have a similar price to DLC!

        Yeh, GZ itself can be finished in a couple hours, including patch collecting.
        I think my first run where i just played it through normally was 79 minutes

        But then there is the 5 side missions, which, although pretty standard stuff (rescue this, get that, etc) are pretty good, especially the Xbone exclusive, that was funny and B grade, and it felt like that classic Metal Gear cheese, given the main game has been toned up a bit more serious now (no more boxes to hid under and such)

        As far a finishing it in 6-10 minutes, thats pretty impressive, but just because you can do something doesn't mean you should.
        You'd have to know where everything is though so no-one is doing that on their first run.
        I'd like to try it, but i reckon it would take me at least 15 minutes minimum. I'm slow.

          Admittedly I'm just going from Ground Zeroes preview, where they said it took them two hours to do everything on their first play through, and the play testers could do the main story in less than five. I think its a bit dumb to judge a game on its length, but there doesn't seem to be much content for the asking price.

            There's a lot of content there it just doesn't quite feel like it because it all takes place on one map. However when I say on one map I mean mission A uses the cove, one of the camps, the prison area, where mission B uses the other camp, the helipad, the compound. It's a bit like saying Dead Rising 3 only has one map.
            It's bigger than most DLC, and way bigger than a demo, but it still falls short of it's price tag. If they just made smaller, more linear maps for each mission I think half the size complaints would vanish. It'd still be a small game but it wouldn't feel so super short.

    It's simply awesomesauce. Forget all the negativity, and general rubbishing. None of it even relates to the gameplay - everyone is just out to sook about the pricing of a game whose main story can be concluded in twenty minutes. Yes, I finished the main story in one hour, but there are five other missions as well and over the course of a week or two I have knocked up around nine hours of game time. It's just fantastic.

    It's no tanker level. It's wildly transparent that it's a overblown demo- you'll definitely be wanting more afterward, and the thought that everything rang a bit empty will also be there. The more time you invest the more you get out of it, obviously- the side missions with a few different ways to accomplish them and harder difficulties definitely make up for some of it. The good thing is that the logs you can pour through are definitely worth it to anybody following MGS's crazy, crazy story thus far (it's mostly peace walker oriented, though-) and the bonus logs you collect are all sorts of interesting.

    But in case it needs warranting, it's most definitely not worth the price. That said, I picked it up on the cheap and I enjoyed the time I got out of it.

    Also, try playing with the companion app on your ios/android device. Basically shoves all your iDroid's controls unto the other screen and it's so arbitrary but it's nice to play around with.

    It's $24 on psn. I'm ok with this

      Yeah, anyone complaining about the price shouldn't have gone to the store and paid twice the price for the disc version.

    Not interested in the slightest. I may get the Phantom Pain when it comes out but anything that I prefer value for money. I'm pretty stingy though! Then again maybe i'll wait a year or two and get the Metal Gear Solid V Game of the Year Edition that bundles both because i'd be pretty shocked if it didnt come eventually.

    I finished the main mission and I liked it. I mean sure the missions arent creative. But I liked the area and diffrent approaches you can take. I found the end cut scene very haunting, and I'm finding myself humming the "main song". All day.

    How much are people paying for it?

    *Full disclosure I am a bit of a MGS fanboy* I am still really enjoying it since picking it up last week. Gameplay is a nice step forward since MGS4, graphics are probably among of the best on PS4 so far, the story is fine for what it is (a prologue) and the PS4 exclusive mission is lots of fun. Have been playing on-and-off since release and am only around 60% I think, looking forward to replaying each mission on hard and trying different tactics (no alerts, no kills, etc). FYI, don't forget that all those people speed running it at under 10-20 minutes would definitely have been playing it already for a number of hours getting used to the controls and guard routes etc., just saying.
    Side note: I 100% Infamous Second Son (hero playthrough) in less than 2 days and have not returned to it since. I can personally see the replay value for Ground Zeroes lasting at least another week or two.

      looking forward to replaying each mission on hard and trying different tactics (no alerts, no kills, etc)

      Don't forget to try extracting enemy soldiers. I'm having a lot of fun sneaking up behind soldiers, interrogating them, then knocking them out and putting them on the helicopter before they wake up.

    It's a budget title, only $25 as a digital download unless you're a dummy who insist on paying closer to $50 at retail. They originally planned to have it as a digital only release, I wish they had stuck with that so there would be less people complaining about the price. And really, anyone who does complain about the price is a fool as there was full disclosure of the game's length before its release. The game could have been under a full NDA but it wasn't.

    It's basically a sandbox game with a small selection of missions, you can get as much fun from it as you want to. I spent close to 4 hours yesterday playing through the main mission killing every single guard on the base without raising a single alert, at the end I could do literally anything without setting off an alarm. I then hunted down some of the collectables I was missing and played around with the vehicles. Lets put it this way, I've never seen anyone complain about the lack of content in a game like Garrys Mod.

    Still, I wouldn't recommend it for anyone who isn't already a Metal Gear fan. There is heaps of content for the fans and the story only really ties up the end of Peace Walker and how it leads into The Phantom Pain. I've had heaps of fun with it so far and there is still plenty for me to unlock. But if you're not a fan, just wait for The Phantom Pain.

      I guess you got the PS3/360 version digitally. The PS4 version is $39.99 digitally here in Australia or it's US$30 if you go through the USA region store.

    While I've only just started playing the game (and very much enjoy it!) I am quite dissapointed that Snake can't tap on walls to alert guards nor hide in any sort of object (cardboard box, oil can etc)

      The hiding I'm not so cut about (although it would be hilarious to run around the entire base under a cardboard box and see how the AI reacts to it), but the removal of the wall tap seems silly. You can throw an empty magazine near your location, but it's definitely a much more finicky alternative in that situation.

    Finished it in 70 minutes, with mild exploration done, a C rank and 9% completion. Really really enjoyed, well worth the money since I haven't even touched the side missions and collectibles plus the last cut scenes were INTENSE.

    I've just bought the game and ur right it is short but I really enjoy it and can't wait until the main game comes out looking forward to seeing skill face

    This game is essentially the Prologue level to Phantom Pain, similar to the Tanker level of MGS2 except way less linear, along with half a dozen story based levels that use the same large island map. Depending on skill and how hard you go at it the main Ground Zeroes mission can be quick. It was way shorter than I expected based on reviews however the game overall is longer.
    I've heard these extra missions compared to the VR missions however that is sort of misleading. They're fully detailed with their own plots (the main Ground Zeroes mission does have more cut scenes, but the other missions aren't lacking in plot). Any one of them could have been the main mission. Each one showcases a different mechanic or play style. All they have in common is the map, and with the exception of one mission where you cover an escaping operative using a helicopter none of them really use more than 20% of the map so there's not a huge amount of overlap.
    It's not like you're running down the same hallways in the same building with slightly different enemy/camera layouts, which is what I pictured when I heard VR missions.

    The purpose of the game is essentially to offer up a sampler pack of what is possible with the new engine. It gets you familiar with ideas like calling in helicopter extraction, carrying hostages, interrogating enemies, etc. The missions cover several different styles of play. The levels show off different times of day and weather conditions.

    At the current retail price this is a game for fans. The only reason for a non-fan to buy this game right now is XBOX One timed challenges. There's quite a few for this game. The best advice for getting the most out of it is to avoid guides. You'll zoom through it if you know where to look for everything without having to explore. If you take your time and do the recon work yourself it's much more engaging and thus more rewarding, and that's pretty much the only way you're going to get your moneys worth out of it.

    I have played mgs since I was a kid, this series has been simply awsome until now. Horrible and short story on mgs v. Don't buy it, rent it if u gota play it cause ull beat it in a few hrs... Like 2

      pleaaasee anyone can help me please I hate that fu.. Game I don't understand how to complete these levels I only finished destroy anti-air and takes 3 hostages what the fu... Next no next only setting in chopper and smoking 15% comletion ratio what I have to do please it sooooo boring game

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