Kojima’s cruel test of fans devotion
Warning: Mild spoilers ahead
Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain, two games that make up the package for Metal Gear Solid V. Having seen all the previews about how its a small package and the main mission can be completed very quickly I was keen to get my hands on it and see for myself and I find myself coming away from my playtime incredibly frustrated at the package that he been given.
This is not really a value issue, if this was The Phantom Pain itself I would have bought it but it’s just a taste of whats to come and a big part of me regrets buying it on release because the core mechanics of the product are well refined, polished, executed and ready to be consumed by the gaming masses however the content side of the game is where it falls off a cliff and is where I have my issue.
I am surprised at how polished the game is, you can ride multiple vehicles, there’s a few different weapons to try, lots of little extra bonuses to find, collectibles and if you want to spend more time with the game the achievements, obtaining S-ranks and completing trials definitely give you a reason to play for longer, at the moment I have 13 out of 15 achievements and will hopefully have the other two sometime this week.
But I feel that Kojima made a big mistake in including such a small amount of core gameplay. The Ground Zeroes main mission is about recusing Paz and Chico from this military compound, presumably most people will find Chico first then Paz, I actually stumbled upon Paz by accident when I roaming around the base. This mission can be completed very quickly though, I would say that the average person with capable skills in stealth games (which unfortunately doesn’t include me!) would probably only take 20-30 minutes to complete it which is very disappointing.
There are 4 side ops and an extra op: Kill the renegade threat, retrieve an undercover agent, retrieve some intel from a mole inside the compound, destroy the anti-air emplacements and both the Playstation and Xbox versions have an exclusive extra op each: Deja Vu for Playstation and Jamais Vu for Xbox.
So there is extra content, I found these side missions to be quite interesting because despite taking place in the same base as the main mission they use different parts of the levels and have a different starting place which I found to be an interesting change.
These missions can take about the same time to complete as with the main mission but it doesn’t mean that the package is a good one, especially because these side missions clearly aren’t cannon based on the endings of one of them. The day/night variation between the levels is nice too.
My biggest issue though is that the Ground Zeroes mission doesn’t offer much in the way of cut-scenes that we havent seen before, because the opening and closing cut-scenes were shown a year ago and edited into different sections for Ground Zeroes. From a content point of view it was a fairly hastily put together product and that’s a great shame because the core of it is really great to me and at the end I found myself wanting more, a lot more, and with Kojima saying that he’s worried there is too much to do in The Phantom Pain I don’t really understand releasing this level as a separate part from a story perspective (obviously the money is the main factor).
Having exclusive missions for both platforms (Playstation/Xbox) is a good move for the content providers, customers who own both platforms have the choice of buying the version that has the extra op they want but is something I don’t agree with. The Jamais Vu mission where you control Raiden is pretty cool and something a bit different to the game, it’s also a lot of fun. I’ve watched a video of the Deja Vu mission on Playstation and there’s a ton of fan service in it for people who played the original, controlling blocky PS1 Solid Snake looks fun too, splitting these levels up is a shame to me.
The game looks pretty good on PS4 and the 360/PS3 versions are comparable but also the Xbox One version is in the middle between the 360/PS3 and PS4, Kojima Productions chose to go for 60fps which seems to be locked on next-gen vs 30 fps on last-gen but the Xbox One version looks pretty much exactly like the 360 version and has a resolution of 720p. I don’t want to complain about this too much but I do feel that Ground Zeroes, even though its “open-world” is actually just one fairly large level, it’s not like it’s of comparable size to Dead Rising 3. Theres some irritating pop-up when using the binoculars and trying to scope out enemies too. Xbox One has its downfalls technically but I don’t think it’s really being handled efficiently here, hopefully The Phantom Pain looks more like the PS4 version than the 360/PS3 counterparts.
I did think that if a new version of Metal Gear Online was in development then that could have been used to supplement the lack of missions and would give people a reason to come back to the game and play it more but it seems Kojima didn’t think this was a good idea.
Theres nothing concrete about the release date of The Phantom Pain, hopefully it will be here soon but the registration page for some DLC says to come back in early 2015, I don’t really want to wait that long though! It’s a testament to how good Ground Zeroes is despite the issues I mentioned and im incredibly excited based on the gameplay mechanics and attention to detail has been put into Ground Zeroes, if Kojima Productions can keep up that quality and put it into a full length game I think it will be something incredible.
I might have to go and play Peace Walker or another title from the HD Collection I have on 360/PSVita whilst we wait.
Played on Xbox One