It has been a while since we have seen our old buddy Snake in action, but he has made his triumphant return in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, a prelude game to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.

There is a very expansive back story that leads into the events of Ground Zeroes and most of it has to do with the Peace Walker incident that formed the story of Metal Gear Solid 3. The game comes with a small digital comic that covers the events leading to Ground Zeroes, so in order to keep this review spoiler free, I will only mention the story aspects that occur during the gameplay portion of Ground Zeroes.

After the events of Peace Walker, Paz Andrade was being held hostage at a U.S. Military blacksite on the southern tip of Cuba known only as Camp Omega. Upon finding out about Paz’s situation, Snake devised a plan to extract Paz after the U.N’s inspection of Mother Base, but this plan was scrapped when Chico Libre decided to try to extract Paz by himself. This lead to Chico’s capture and a new plan to extract both operatives. It was now up to Snake to extract both operatives while the U.N. was inspecting Mother Base.

The story, which can be cleared in about 2 hours, is not as in depth as normal, full length Metal Gear Solid games, but it lays the perfect framework for The Phantom Pain.

Scoping out enemy movement.

Scoping out enemy movement.

What Ground Zeroes lacks in narrative, it makes up for with gameplay. Players can choose to play Ground Zeroes as a linear game, but it is a much more fulfilling experience explore the area to find hidden secrets like the Fox Op badges that are scattered about the prison camp. The open sandbox environment encourages player exploration, which in most cases, leads to vital mission intel. Players also have the ability to apprehend guards and interrogate them for more information on the surrounding area and important items throughout the camp. In fact, if you interrogate the right people, it can lead to new mission unlocks on your next play through.

While you work through the prison camp, you can choose to neutralize enemies in two different ways, gunfire or melee combat. The shooting mechanics are very smooth and easy to operate, but the silencers on weapons will break after firing a few clips. So if you choose to go through Ground Zeroes with gunfire, it is in your best interest to kill enemies with the fewest amount of bullets possible. There is also a tranquilizer dart gun you can utilize if you want to go the non-lethal route, but it has limited ammo and the guards will eventually wake up. If you choose the melee route, you can choose to either knock out an enemy straight away or apprehend them for a little up close and personal interrogation time. As stated above, very useful information is gained through interrogation, so you may want to make it a point to interrogate as many guards as possible. After you get the intel, you can either kill the guard with a knife to the chest or knock them out. How you get through Camp Omega is completely up to you, but if you want to get the most information, it is probably best to try to get in close to your enemy.

shooting_tagged

Shooting feels natural and refined.

Camp Omega and its surrounding areas are perfectly set up for Snake’s brand of stealth based action. There are multiple areas of the camp that offer different obstacles for you to over come. Some areas have guards manning spotlight from watch towers and others are littered with surveillance cameras, but as always, there are multiple ways to approach each area. During my play through, I found myself working around the outside of an area and interrogating guards to get information on what obstacles lie on the interior of the area. This strategy allowed me to identify threats, pinpoint them on my map, and work out a strategy for infiltration.

The one thing that stand out the most in Ground Zeroes is how incredible everything looks and feels. The improvements made to the Fox Engine shine very brightly on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, so every detail of the terrain is visible, and when you get up close and personal with the guards, the animations and facial features make you feel like your are subduing a real person. It is definitely one of the best looking games available on the new consoles to date, and it shows that the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One can handle heavy detail and beautiful textures without succumbing to lag or frame rate issues.

Getting Chico out of there.

Getting Chico out of there.

Overall, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is a short, yet amazing experience that fans of the series will thoroughly enjoy. The side missions that are unlocked after completing game give players a reason to revisit Ground Zeroes, and the online ranking system gives players the opportunity to play through multiple times so they can try to one up their buddies and online competitors. If you are a fan of the Metal Gear series, Ground Zeroes is a must have and will definitely get you excited for The Phantom Pain.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Review
Ground Zeroes may not be the massive gaming experience that fans of the Metal Gear franchise are used to, but at a reduced price, it is a hard deal to pass up.
Story7
Gameplay9.5
Environment 8.5
Graphics 10
Replay Value8.5
8.5Overall Score
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About The Author

Nick C
COO/Podcast Host

I’m Nick, a proud nerd and gamer. I rock my Star Wars tattoos like I’m a real Jedi, and I hope I will be making games first and playing them second in the future!