Not afraid to throw you into the deep end, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes takes place shortly after the events in Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. For the firs time in too long, you'll assume the role of Snake, best known as Big Boss, as he attempts to infiltrate an American site located in Cuba known as Camp Omega. Members of XOF have been up to no good at the camp, which means Snake must go in and rescue captives, as well as learn some of the location's secrets.
21st Century FOX
Ground Zeroes is the first title to use Kojima Productions' next-gen FOX Engine, and shortly after you fire up the game, it's easy to see how big of a graphical improvement it is over previous Metal Gear Solid adventures. Playing Metal Gear Solid V on the PlayStation 4, you can see individual water droplets during a thunderstorm and the reflective nature of a leather outfit, while the movements and actions of both Snake and his enemies appear extremely lifelike. If you own a next-gen console and want to see what it's capable of, then Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes will give you the eye candy you've desperately craved.
If you decide to pick up Ground Zeroes on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, there's a noticeable difference between it and the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 versions. In the current generation versions of Ground Zeroes, Camp Omega isn't as detailed as the next-gen counterparts, with the game's lighting, terrain and character models downgraded a bit. The next-gen version also benefits from an increased resolution and larger textures, making those finer details look superior.
Carry On Camping
Metal Gear Solid games have direct routes for Snake to take in order to progress. Sure, you're able to make decisions on how to approach the next goal, but Ground Zeroes is the first title in the series to offer an open-world gameplay mechanic that feels natural and familiar. In fact, we wonder why it took Kojima Productions so long to create an MGS title with an open-world, though we're certainly glad they finally did.
As with most open-world games, you can go anywhere and everywhere within Camp Omega. If you want to advance through the game, you'll make your way to the next mission objective in any way you seem necessary. Ground Zeroes is a stealth action game, which means you'll be able to sneak your way past guards, or you can take the high road and blast through wave after wave of enemies in order to get where you need to go. Snake is certainly capable of either option, which means it's all up to the player to follow through.
Short, But Very Sweet
Ground Zeroes is the prologue to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. As a result, the overall experience will feel shorter than most Metal Gear Solid fans are used to from previous titles. Fortunately, Konami cut the price of Ground Zeroes just a few weeks prior to its official launch to reflect the overall experience.
If players focus squarely on the game's missions, they'll probably reach the end of Ground Zeroes in one sitting. At the same time, Kojima Productions built an open-world game that allows players to make their way through the beautiful environment however they like. The first play through of Ground Zeroes may have you strictly finishing all six of the missions, but if you decide to play the game again, you can attempt to complete it a number of ways that could possibly include not killing a single soldier, killing every soldier or even attempting to rescue each prisoner inside Camp Omega.
With that said, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes may not have the depth most games in the series contain, but it features jaw-dropping details set within a truly open-world environment that will have you playing this game repeatedly. The Phantom Pain cannot arrive soon enough.
GAME's Verdict: 8/10
- FOX Engine offers a next-gen experience, even on current-gen consoles
- Open-world gameplay mechanics
- High replay value
- Can be completed in one sitting
- Just a handful of Side-Ops missions
- Makes the wait for the Phantom Pain seem that much longer