Hello and welcome to this week’s blog! I thought since it’s less than 2 months away from the release of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain on September 1st, I’d give MGS: Ground Zeroes a try after downloading it for free last month on PS+. What better way to decide on if buying one of the biggest AAA releases of the year is going to worth it in a year when there are a lot of them coming, than by essentially playing a chunk of it polished up and released into the wild early.
Now everyone knows the story with Ground Zeroes and how it is a money-spinning prologue to Phantom Pain that Konami wanted out the door because the main game was taking so long to develop. I’m not interested in talking about that because, let’s face it, that conversation has been done to death and I’m a year late to the party. So all I’m going to talk about here is my impressions of the game and what I think this means for Phantom Pain.
The first thing I noticed, well second after the enormous wait for a server connection, is how stunning it is visually. Even after more than a year since it was first released I was blown away by how it looked, the attention to detail is unbelievable and the weather and lighting effects are superb. If The Phantom Pain can live up to that standard or even surpass it, then we are looking at one of the most visually impressive games or possibly even the best looking game ever made. But we’ll have to wait and see before calling a verdict on that one because it will take a lot to unseat the big guns at the top of that list currently.
The second thing I noticed was that I didn’t actually understand anything that was going on to begin with, the opening dialogue isn’t being spoken by the characters moving about on screen which makes life really difficult for someone like me that hasn’t really played or finished any of the MGS games to follow. It is a bit convoluted and obtuse but on the plus side though, the objectives are easy enough to understand, once you get started and are given tasks to complete you have been given the tools and intel you need to get it done… after that the game lets you get to it which is fantastic fun, it really is. You can pretty much tackle all of this however you want and that is not an easy thing to make happen fluidly in a video game, which brings me nicely to the next thing I want to talk about.
The gameplay is really excellent, I’m not used to the controls which took a little getting used to for me but it didn’t take long once I got stuck into it. As it turns out I’m pretty terrible at being stealthy, I will spend ages marking all the targets, picking my route through and having a plan of action… but I always miss someone, get spotted at a really inopportune moment and have to fight my way out of the situation. But that’s not really a complaint because the combat is excellent and firefights are my sort of thing. I’d like to aim down my sights for better accuracy but then you can’t have everything your own way or these games would be too easy.
Ground Zeroes has been an excellent crash course in how amazing the MGS games can be, making it all the more likely that I will pick up The Phantom Pain when it releases in September. I might be bad at Ground Zeroes, but I had a lot of fun anyway which is the mark of a great game. I would recommend it to anyone who isn’t sure if it is for them or not, I wasn’t sure and now I am.
I hope The Phantom Pain looks as stunning as this and continues to raise the bar for all the other amazing developers out there willing to take on the challenge. Hideo Kojima was famously quoted as saying that he hated Grand Theft Auto 5 when it released because he thought Rockstar might have raised the bar too high for him and his team to match with MGS5, I really hope he was wrong.
As always thanks for taking the time to read this, you can let me know what you think in the comments, on the Facebook page or on Twitter @adamthomas1994, it is greatly appreciated.