Some Thoughts On: "Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes"

Goddammit, I can't believe I'm already writing this post. I mean, I knew the game was a bit of a teaser for "The Phantom Pain" and would therefore be very short but this was too much. I need to just say that I will have some minor spoilers (mainly descriptions of action without revealing its plot significance) and they will be blacked out, so select the text with your mouse to reveal it.

Stray Observations: "Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes"


  • I am a huge "Metal Gear Solid" fan, but I have to say that I haven't played any of the Big Boss games besides "Snake Eater". That means I skipped "Peacewalker" and "Portable Ops" because I don't like playing on a handheld.
  • Half because of this and half because of Hideo's crazy balls plotting, I really had zero chance of following the story. This game seemed to be in the middle of a conflict either I don't know or I don't remember at all. There is a "Previously On" feature but I'm not sure it's very helpful.
  • Since "V" was announced, I've felt a bit betrayed; I love these games, but the ending of "Guns of the Patriots" was too perfect. I had a feeling this game, and its sequel, shouldn't even exist.
  • Though this is yet another game that wasn't developed for this generation, it still doesn't scream "next gen". Still, I think it's the best-looking game I've played. With the exception of some of the character models (which apparently we're still ways from getting right), the graphics were insanely good, and at times photorealistic.
  • Something really cool is that when you are discovered, time slows down for a moment. This isn't cool as a gameplay element and frankly I don't even know why it's there. What's awesome is that when time slows down, you get to see every single drop of rain falling, and each refracts the light in-game. It's crazy beautiful.
  • I am extremely rusty at stealth games. The same thing when I tried to play "Assassin's Creed IV". Being the sneaky weasel isn't quite my thing, apparently.
  • I was reasonably good at games 2 through 4, and never had too much trouble with them. Because I hadn't played a game in this franchise since 2007, I was incredibly clueless for a while. I fucked up my first playthrough so bad, I gave up and re-started it, being more familiar with the controls.
  • It wasn't a big deal (I don't like replaying games) because this is so damn short. According to the end game stats, I finished it in 101 minutes, and I lost a shitload of time during the second section of the game. Don't ask why. It's embarrassing.
  • First time ever the overused lens flare effect doesn't feel out of place. I liked how it looked here; maybe it was because the visuals in general were so good and because the game itself is very cinematic. The lens flares irritated me a lot in "Killzone Shadowfall", especially since it's a first person shooter. What, are the character's eyes cameras? Why are they reflecting light like that?
  • At first I began to think that I was a bit over the "Metal Gear Solid" games. There didn't seem to be much more than I remembered to the stealth mechanic (though now you can interrogate enemies you got on a choke hold; it'd be neater if they were more useful).
  • I was proven wrong a few minutes later. There is an open-worldness to this game, even if it's secluded to one particular army base. The only other "Metal Gear Solid" game that had this non-linearity was "Guns of the Patriots" during the jungle scenes, and even those were a bit straightforward.
  • Thank Hideo for that, because not only does the world feel much more alive this way, it adds challenge. I spent a while exploring the base, looking for my target, before discovering I was totally wrong (the map, by the way, is next to useless).
  • Though the campaign is the heart of the game, completing it gives you a 9% completion rate in the overall disc. This means that including at least 4 side operations within the same compound (like, for example, locate two particular assholes and get rid of them), you get more than your money's worth of gameplay. Yeah, I'm not much for side-quests and what I like about these games is the story, but that makes the buy an absolute must.
  • Speaking of the story. What the fuck?
  • No seriously, what the fuck? The cutscenes after you finish playing (after you get your ranking, etc) were pretty amazing, and the setup for "The Phantom Pain" is a roundhouse kick in the ballgina.
  • It's not fair, Hideo. I was ready to let go of this stupid series after "Guns of the Patriots", and now I'm dragging my ass on the carpet waiting for the real sequel. Not fair.
  • Also what the hell was up with the crazy 'bomb extraction' scene? That was hardcore. My jaw was on the floor.
  • There is a certain click that I have with "Metal Gear Solid" games; something that also applies to the early "Silent Hill" games. They are incredibly good at finding my emotional g-spot. I'm sincerely impressed by how after less than two hours of gameplay, I felt emotionally invested.
  • I didn't like this version of "Here's To You", even if it's the 1971 original. The version from "Guns of the Patriots" is one of the greatest songs ever used in a videogame. I really loved though that they gave it context in this one; I had no clue what it was about before and suddenly it has a much, much larger emotional impact.
  • No other game makes you feel more like an action hero like the "Metal Gear Solid" games can. During the final sequence, you have to carry someone to an extraction point. I don't know if it's brilliant game design or serendipity, but everything around me worked for it to be the most spectacular action scene ever.
  • The gameplay is short, but I really appreciated that it had at least one very, very "Kojima" gameplay element that involved using a tape recording to back-track a character's location. I love this guy's think-outside-the-box way of designing games.
  • Where the livid fuck is the "Metal Gear Solid" brand humor, though? I remember laughing out loud during 3 and 4, but this one was way too serious. Come on, don't do this to your games; part of their fun is how insane they are and how aware they are of it.
  • I hate myself for saying this but . . . okay, look: I love David Hayter. He's an awesome guy and a great screenwriter (yes I'm looking forward to "Wolves" because werewolves) and he was phenomenal as Snake despite his blatant overacting. That being said: Keifer Sutherland is better. His delivery seems much more natural, and it took me a while to remember they had even changed Snake's voice; Sutherland just sneaked in and stole the show.
  • Heh. Sneaked in.
  • Tara "Twilight Sparkle" Strong also has a role in this game. She's amazing; I didn't recognize her at all.
  • I hate that I'll have to wait up to a year, or more, for the sequel (re: the real game). I sincerely thought to myself I wouldn't even buy "Ground Zeroes" because it would probably come bundled with "The Phantom Pain". I only got it because when I traded "Lightning Returns" (fuck that game), this one didn't cost a cent.
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About The Damn Beast

Pre-op trans-minotaur, sci-fi/fantasy/horror author, metal singer, videogame journalist, pop culture blogger. I also lift heavy things and put them down again repeatedly to occupy more space.
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