Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes PS4 Review
- Posted March 18th, 2014 at 05:00 EDT by Michael Harradence
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Ground Zeroes is a great slice of stealth-action gaming, filled with heaps of content and strategic value -- even if it isn't quite the epic adventure some had hoped for.
- The freedom available in which to approach your objectives
- Superb stealth and shooting mechanics
- Lots of content to unlock
- The campaign is still pretty short
- Some visual hiccups
- Surprisingly light on plot
Snake isn’t defenseless of course. From weapons such as Shotguns, machine guns and rocket launchers, our grizzly hero has more than enough hardware to complete the mission. You can also ‘tag’ enemies with you binoculars so they’ll show up on the map, meaning the loss of the radar isn’t as lamentable as it could have been. It’s just a well, as the enemy A.I. is easily the most competent and brutal the series has seen to date. Patrols on watch towers illuminate the rain-soaked soil with blinding flashlights, while ground troops remain ever vigilant below, raising an eyebrow to so much as a flicker of motion in the shadows. Fortunately, you have a myriad of options at your disposal, none of which feel arbitrary; each one has genuine appeal with varying pros and cons, whether it be using a jeep to cover distance more quickly - and nosily - than on foot, hopping into an APC to blast your way through, or sticking to the shadows. To say that Ground Zeroes has ample replay value would be a gross understatement.
Outside of the your main objective, Ground Zeroes also offers plenty of collectibles to keep you busy, such as cassette tapes that flesh out the story, hidden weapon caches and other bits and bobs dotted through the sprawling base. And, while hunting all these down will eat up a fair amount of time, the game’s length truly expands with the extra missions you unlock upon completing Ground Zeroes’ eponymous main campaign.
Here, the base is basked in daylight, and you are given a variety of different missions to tackle. One had me seeking out two marines to dispatch, using the mug shots provided on Snake’s iDroid to identify them -- device you also need to call the evac chopper to several dedicated landing zones. However, you only get a sketchy outline of their patrols, and must rely on your own vision to spot them out among the crowd. It’s a tense experience, particularly as you must evade on-going patrols in order to get a clean kill -- get spotted, and they’ll attempt to flee the area, resulting in an instant fail. Other objectives are just as diverse; one moment, Snake must disable Anti-Air installations via C4, while the other takes an all-out action route as you scan the base via chopper, peppering the enemy with machine gun and grenade launcher fire as you attempt to rescue an operative attempting to flee the base. I was pleased to find these missions add anything between 20-40 minutes of game time per challenge, making for varied and strategically-rewarding distractions from the main event.
The Fox Engine is given a sumptuous stage on which to shine, though it would be disingenuous to label Ground Zeroes as truly next-gen. Characters and lightning effects look great, and benefit from the nuanced layers you’d expect from a Kojima Productions effort. It also looks positively lush running at a silky-smooth 1080p/60fps. Still, it’s not the emphatic leap beyond MGS4 you might be anticipating, and the presence of some ugly foliage textures, mild pop-up and pixellated effects somewhat damper an otherwise gorgeous-looking game. It’s also lighter on exposition, and while we’re given a glimpse at the game’s eclectic cast - including a scarred chap named Skull Face - it’s obvious Kojima-san is saving the meat of the story for The Phantom Pain. As such, Kiefer Sutherland is given little time to shine, and the jury’s still out as to whether he’ll be a competent replacement for David Hayter.
Ground Zeroes is overall a superb tatser of things to come. It’s obvious Konami is holding back the bigger spectacle for The Phantom Pain, and I was left feeling that the main campaign could have definitely been bigger, with a little more plot thrown into the mix. However, the freedom afforded by the mission, combined with copious amounts of extras, side missions and strategies to uncover, means that fans and newcomers alike are going to be able to easily squeeze 30 quid out of Kojima Productions’ latest stealth-action extravaganza.
PSU's review of Ground Zeroes was based off extensive hands-on time with the game at a dedicated event held by Konami UK.----
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