I have learned, in my many years of playing video games, never to doubt the man known as Hideo Kojima. Even when I have endless amounts of questions and doubt, the man constantly delivers. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes was bombarded with criticism about its length and this certainly cast some doubt. However, as always Kojima has made an amazing product that is fun and certainly replayable. The Metal Gear series has been around for many years and while some may be tired of it, it’s hard to deny their quality. Even after all of these years Kojima has found a way to keep the series fresh and innovative, even with a time span of only a couple of hours. Let’s get to the point that everyone already knows about: Ground Zeroes takes about five hours to complete all available missions. The main story mission can be completed in about an hour or two depending on how you play. Community speed runs are clocking in at around eight minutes. This game is meant to serve as an introduction, nothing more, and on that basis it delivers in so many ways.
The idea of releasing a prologue to an upcoming game as stand-alone is incredibly innovative, and if it can be handled this well every time, I hope to see a lot more games attempt this. There is only one real mission to the game and is meant to be an introduction to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. After you complete the main mission, extra side operations are unlocked. These side ops and the Ground Zeroes mission take place in the same military base. Essentially, the game is a sandbox where you play around with different missions. The map is large, requires no loading and there are plenty of things to do in every corner. While the content may sound limited, I can assure you that there is no shortage of activities to do in each mission. I put more than six hours into the game and still only have a 23% completion rating. You are given the freedom to either sneark around, choke and interrogate guards or hope into a jeep and cause mayhem. This game lets you play any way you want and doesn’t make it impossible to complete if spotted. If you are a fan of Metal Gear, you will love the way this game feels. Super fans won’t get enough of the bonus mission that feels like the ultimate fan service. Trust me, you'll want to go out of your way to unlock it!
The controls for Metal Gear games have been streamlined more and more with each game, but Ground Zeroes just feels amazing to play. A Metal Gear game has never felt so tight or intuitive like this one does. It’s easy to execute actions and if something goes wrong you are completely aware of the fault. The stealth and action are both the best they have ever been and sneaking through the military base is challenging and satisfying enough that you will want to keep coming back for more. The addition of driving and sprinting adds to the experience and helps keep the game fresh. I kept thinking to myself that I couldn't wait to use these functions in Phantom Pain's promised open world. As a hype piece, Ground Zeroes worked on me.
Metal Gear Solid 4 was one of the best looking games on the PlayStation 3 and Ground Zeroes easily trumps it. This is certainly one of the best looking games I have ever seen. Kojima has always had awesome tech at his disposal and the Fox Engine really shines on the PS3. This version even rivals the PS4 version in appearance. If you are debating between the console versions I couldn’t ever fault you for picking up either version. The game's central military base is incredibly detailed and is loads of fun to explore. While the idea of one map might sound repetitive, each mission has a different time of day and weather pattern to keep it interesting. The character models are as realistic as ever and while the change of voice actor for Snake may be bothersome to some (I could write a whole feature about this alone) it totally works for the aging Big Boss, and he doesn’t talk a lot in this game as it is.
It’s been a while since we’ve seen a numbered Metal Gear game and while this isn’t the full Metal Gear Solid V we are waiting for, it is definitely enough to hold us over until then. Kojima spared no expense and gave us a small little introduction to what will surely be a mind blowing total package and really the only complaint here is that it is small and only leaves you wanting more. Despite its size there is plenty of Kojima weirdness and Easter eggs packaged into this amazing stealth action experience. If you haven’t been a Metal Gear fan up until this point this may not turn you around but I highly recommend that everyone should check this out, and even on the PS3 you won’t be disappointed.