“Ground Zeroes,” and “Phantom Pain” for that matter, focus on Big Boss. “Ground Zeroes” does little to set up the game’s overarching plot, and rather showcases how this sequel’s gameplay will differ from previous “Metal Gear Solid” instalments. This addition to the series appears to be trying some new things.
Boss is dropped on the outskirts of a military base. Since this game takes place in the ‘70s, the usual high-tech gadgetry has been replaced with objects that were considered high-tech in that decade, like a cassette player. Yes, Boss carries a cassette player on his waist. Boss has to infiltrate the base in typical stealthy Snake fashion.
What makes the gameplay different is its open world style. The mission has two objectives, which call for two prisoners to be found and rescued. Boss must locate these prisoners, and carry them to a helicopter evac zone. These can be carried out in any order, and the helicopter can be called in from two different locations. The mission is open-world, but the world is confined to the military base. In other words, Boss has to stay in the area, but he’s free to explore wherever he wants within those confines. This design allows for missions to be carried out in many different ways.
“Ground Zeroes” rewards staying hidden, but staying hidden is more difficult now. There’s no minimap or HUD to rely on that keeps an eye on enemy locations. Enemies have to be tagged with binoculars. Once tagged, enemy indicators will appear where enemies are located. Boss can also listen in on radio chatter for tagged enemies.
This game has as high production values as one can expect from the series. “MGS” games are always heavy on huge set pieces, crazy explosions, and over-the-top dialogue. Kiefer Sutherland does an outstanding job as Boss. It’s basically Jack Bauer meats Solid Snake. I look forward to seeing his work in the full game.
Once the two objectives are carried out and another cut scene rolls, the credits follow. That’s what $30 gets you. Completing the mission unlocks some weapons and optional side missions, but what’s the point? The narrative is and has always been the meat of the “Metal Gear” series. This is simply a teaser for “Phantom Pain.” A teaser isn’t worth my $30.
Demos are free to try. Even if you consider this a short prequel, DLC is usually between $10 and $15. I’m against the business practice that “Ground Zeroes” has introduced. Therefore, I can’t recommend this game, demo, prequel, or whatever you want to call it. Wait for it drop significantly in price, or to become free on PlayStation +. I’m sure that will happen as we get closer to the real game, “The Phantom Pain.” “Ground Zeroes” has the stench of a cash-grab, which is an unfortunate thing to happen to a series that is as artistic as “Metal Gear Solid.”
5 out of 10
Shows promising gameplay of "The Phantom Pain"
Plays like a glorified demo
PS4, Xbox One (reviewed)
M for Mature