Metal Gear Solid V Ground Zeroes Sandbox paves the way for greatness

Konami’s Metal Gear Solid V Ground Zeroes value has come under flak from gamers and the gaming press in equal measure due to its seeming brevity and pricing model. Its creator Hideo Kojima has openly suggested the game is a tutorial and prelude to the main events that will be The Phantom Pain launching most likely in 2015. It’s a long wait, and fans like myself have had to make do with the Platinum Games developed Metal Gear Rising Revengeance for our fix, although this was more an action focused game rather than the Tactical Espionage Action expected from the franchise. Before reading on, take a look at the video which showcases the sandbox nature of the game and how it can be enjoyed using multiple play styles as opposed to rushing through the game as fast as possible and then calling it a day once the credits roll. Ground Zeroes  is worth every penny from my perspective, and here’s why.

Putting this out there, I am a Metal Gear fan, since the PSOne days, having infiltrated the snowy Shadow Moses Nuclear Disposal facility several times and across platforms including VR Missions, sneaked around the Metal Gear Solid 2 Tanker in the Zone of Enders demo and then fully alongside the Big Shell with the full release (again across multiple platforms),  got bitten and broken in the jungles of Snake Eater,  witnessed the aged Snake character in Guns of The Patriots before indulging in Peace Walker in the glorious HD Collection. All solid games and momentous occasions in gaming. So Metal Gear Solid V Ground Zeroes is a given for me. Heck, I purchased the PS4 and Xbox One versions and was kindly given the Xbox 360 game courtesy of team Xbox. However, I can see why many people are up in arms over the content which seems to not provide the expected formula gamers expect from paying upwards of £25 for the game.

Having invested quite a number of hours, it’s obvious the game is tailored towards a specific group , and that the average “gamer” is possibly going to feel a little short changed if played in the traditional sense of it’s game over once the initial end credits roll. With no multiplayer to drive the game beyond the single player campaigns, the longevity is an issue simply by the game’s design. The main story can be completed in a short time, (over an hour) on a first play and under 10 minutes when speed running through. Once bested,  this unlocks more side missions which offer different lighting conditions set within the same location and changed objectives. As a standard game it feels devoid of content, but  it’s obvious Kojima Productions has said, “here’s the sandbox, now jump in and play how you want”. This is the game’s biggest problem because in many ways, the series has been such a story driven experience, and so the removal of what is expected has left a shell of what the game could be.

Focusing on what the game does have though, and looking beyond the story, there’s a hell of a well polished experience here that can be replayed over and over with drastically different results each time. Its sandbox nature and clever design makes for a wealth of opportunity which is perhaps sadly lost on those who’d rather follow a constant narrative.

Ground Zeroes is a blast to play once the shackles of preconceived ideas are removed, and the game and its FOX engine are enjoyed regardless of the platform. It is a shame Kojima Productions didn’t add more content for players to follow within its parameters, much like the VR Missions or Snake Tales we’ve seen in the past, instead favouring players to make up their own rules and discover things on their own.  I for one have really enjoyed the game as you can see in the video. I certainly believe I’ve got my monies worth as a fan, but fully appreciate why others feel the way they do which is largely the fault of how the game has been presented and left directionless for many who prefer having a bit of guidance.

Written by: Rob Cram

Rob Cram has hundreds of video game reviews, thousands of articles under his belt with years of experience in gaming and tech. He aims to remain fair and free from publisher/developer influence. With his extensive knowledge, feels his gaming opinions are valid and worth sharing. Agreement with his views are entirely optional. He might have a bias towards cyberpunk.

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