Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes Review


Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is the first next-gen outing for Big Boss, and while it is only a small preview of whats to come when the Phantom Pain releases in the future, it is still an amazing game worth playing for any MGS fan. Many have been quick to criticise Ground Zeroes as being a rip-off or glorified demo – I however went into the experience as a long time MGS fan, eager to see the new Fox Engine in action and to see how the Phantom Pain will play upon its release. Do I feel like the amount of content on the disc is worth the £25 for the PS4 and XB1 versions? absolutely. Read on to find out why.


Ground Zeroes picks up not long after the ending of Peace Walker (the PSP game that was basically for all intents and purposes the last game in the core MGS franchise) Without spoiling too much, Big Boss – this time voiced by Kiefer Sutherland – is tasked with infiltrating a secret American base in Cuba to rescue two hostages, all while the UN is prepping for an inspection of Big Boss’ private military company. In the typical Metal Gear Solid style, all is not as it seems and a seemingly simple rescue mission turns out not to be as straight forward as once anticipated. The most immediate change that veterans to the series will notice is that the game is broken up into Peace Walker style missions, the content on the GZ disc is made up of one main story mission, four side missions (side-ops) and one extra bonus mission which differs depending on which system you play it on. With out spoiling anything I will say that I thought the Playstation bonus mission was one of the standout moments in the game. As for the length of the game, the main mission took me 2 hours to finish on my first run through and I easily got another 4 hours in my initial run of all the side missions. This may not seem like much but when you consider the average length of a Call of Duty campaign is 5 hours long it puts things in perspective – now I know that CoD also packs in a fantastic multiplayer mode which is worth the price of admission alone – however CoD is a £60 on PS4 and XB1, so for £25 I think the content on offer in GZ is great value. I’ve easily sunk 20-30 hours into the game replaying missions over and over, trying to get the best scores and collect all the trophies, so rest assured that there is plenty of content for you to sink your teeth into.


Ground Zeroes looks phenomenal, plain and simple whichever system you play it on the new Fox engine looks amazing. Characters and environments look stunning, the lighting effects bring a whole new level of depth to not only the visuals of the game but also the gameplay. The most striking visual aspect of the new engine though is just how much the environment changes when subjected to different weather effects or even just the time of day. The main story takes place on a stormy night, the ground is soaked, pools of water reflecting the many floodlights scattered across the base, Big Boss sneaks around in a rain soaked sneaking suit. Then in the following side-mission, the base is covered in bright sunlight, I had to do a double take to check I was in the same place as the base was unrecognisable. All of these small aspects gel together to make GZ one of the best looking games available. My only complaint visually would be that some of the NPC characters look a little generic, and there are a few textures which don’t look like they belong in the environment.

Gameplay is where Ground Zeroes has really changed the most, rather than being the same old mechanics with a fresh coat of paint. Konami has redesigned the entire system from the ground up – and for the most part it works really well. While the basis of any sneaking game is to learn the different methods of infiltration available and then choose how to best employ them in any given scenario – I did feel like I was dropped into the game with little guidance, and I had to take it upon myself to learn the new mechanics. As a veteran MGS player I would have appreciated a tutorial or some hints to get me acquainted with the new system. My quarrels with the gameplay are minor however and once you take the time to learn all the controls and really get used to the new sneaking and alert system you’ll be moving around the world like a ghostly pro in no time. I also appreciated that, unless a mission strictly specified it, that if you were spotted and have to resort to a shoot out, it isn’t the end of the world. In fact in most missions you can shoot your way through the whole thing if you want to, the only penalty will be the score at the end which favours the stealthy approach.


Ground Zeroes marks the first time that facial and performance capture has been used in a Metal Gear game, and whats more – the voice acting was created in English first rather than in Japanese with an English dub. The voice acting in GZ is superb and just as silly as ever at times (“They played us like a damn fiddle!”) While I will miss the gravelly tones of David Hayter as Big Boss, Kiefer Sutherland really makes the role his own and brings a fresh dyanamic to the character. Some of the dialogue is hit or miss, I felt that the main antagonist was consistently a little too over the top and silly for my liking, but it never ruined the experience for me. The main story in the game, whilst well acted – apart from the aforementioned quirks – was a bit sparse in my opinion, part of me thinks that it may be Kojima’s response to the criticism over MGS4’s length but I think this takes it completely to the other end of the spectrum. MGS is a series known for its long winded cut scenes and rich story, it feels a little amiss in Ground Zeroes. One major aspect of the story that has drawn a lot of criticism is the ending, while I won’t spoil it for you I do see where those criticisms are coming from, however I don’t think it is the content that is the problem. Rather the abrupt nature of how it comes about is the thing that stuck with me, maybe if there had been a little more build up and context then it wouldn’t have seemed as shocking as it did.

Overall Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is an impressive first outing for Big Boss on the next-gen systems. the Metal Gear formula is definitely there, but I think that when the Phantom Pain releases in the future, the extra length of the campaign will allow the story and gameplay to shine even more than it does in this initial taster.

Kept you wating, huh?


Overall Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is an impressive first outing for Big Boss on the next-gen systems. the Metal Gear formula is definitely there, but I think that when the Phantom Pain releases in the future, the extra length of the campaign will allow the story and gameplay to shine even more than it does in this initial taster.

  • Graphics
  • Sound
  • Story
  • Gameplay
  • Value

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23 year old Playstation and all round gaming fanatic!

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