Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes info blowout!

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Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes info blowout!

Post by Killswitchmad on Wed 5 Mar 2014 - 16:24

It follows on from Peace Walker

If you’ve played the HD version of MGS: Peace Walker on consoles, the gameplay in Ground Zeroes will feel very familiar. It’s on a larger scale, and there are refinements here and there, but for the most part, it feels as though Peace Walker was the jumping-off point when Kojima Productions began designing the game.

More pressingly, if you haven’t played Peace Walker, you really should give it a try before jumping into Ground Zeroes. The story in this game is entirely predicated on the events of PW. Although Ground Zeroes tries its best to fill you in, the included text summary and audio logs can only do so much. Plus, Peace Walker is ace, so why wouldn't you play it?

The main story is short

I finished the main mission in 2 hours, playing a mixture of cautious stealth and more open combat. As Big Boss, you're infiltrating Camp Omega in Cuba. Your first objective is to rescue and extract child-soldier Chico, and your second... well, that's more of a spoiler, but the info is out there already.

Remember that cliffside prison camp you saw in the announcement trailer, way back in 2012? That’s the whole area in Ground Zeroes, and while it’s relatively large, it won’t take you long to see most of it. However, as with all Metal Gears games, there is replayability to be had here. Plenty of it. The fun of the game is in planning and executing your approach, and there are loads of ways to do so. At the end of each playthrough you get an overall ranking, and loads of different stats (like longest headshot, most time spent undetected, etc) that can be compared with friends and strangers via online leaderboards. Finishing the story in this game is really just the start.

Side-missions bring more variety

The primary mission doesn’t have all that much raw content, but you do unlock some side missions when you complete it. These Side Ops aren’t just small distractions: some are substantial gameplay segments of similar length and scope to the main mission. For example, one of them sees Snake gathering intel on a couple of persons of interest before seeking them out to execute them.

Some of these missions are a bit more 'out-there', though. There’s a rail-shooting mission that has you rescuing a very peculiar and surprising VIP, and even one that involves time-travel. I’ll leave you to discover that one on your own but, suffice it to say, the side missions are certainly not canonical. They give Ground Zeroes a playful feel, as if Kojima is testing the MGS universe (and community) to see what does and doesn't feel right.

Vehicles aren't that useful. Yet

Metal Gear Solid 5 has vehicles: the world has known this for a while. Sadly, their utility in Ground Zeroes is limited by the map size, and on the surface, this seems like a wasted feature. However, given that Ground Zeroes is a essentially a vertical slice of Phantom Pain, this implies that vehicles will play a bigger role in the main game. Here, you're just learning how to use them.

The firepower of the tank certainly offers some interesting, strategic possibilities. For example: its shells are powerful enough to take down enemy watchtowers. Doing that made it easier for me to wander the map undetected, so I could hunt for collectibles with less fear of being spotted. Of course, if you don’t mind making your presence known, and taking a few lives in the process, the tank is also a great way to plough straight through the opposition on your way to objectives.

There are some ellusive collectibles.... oh and time travel...

Contributing to the game’s replayability is a set of 9 collectibles: the mysterious XOF badges you see Skull Face scatter to the wind in GZ’s initial reveal trailer. These badges are small and they don’t stand out in the environment, so they’re remarkably difficult to find. Hunting around for them while remaining undetected is a challenge, but one fans will be willing to accept for several reasons. Firstly, it extends the lifespan of the game.

Secondly, and most interestingly, finding them all unlocks a side mission exclusive to the platform you’re playing Ground Zeroes on. On Xbox One, it’s a time-travel mission in which you play as... hmm, actually that's a spoiler. On PS4, you get a throwback to... no wait, that's another spoiler too.

Health. Health has changed

There are no health items in Ground Zeroes. That’s because this is the first Metal Gear game that eschews the traditional health bar in favour of the more modern, screen-reddening, quick-recharge health system. This comes alongside a few other modernizations and general design changes that fit in very nicely with MGS's core gameplay.

Unlike MGS3, 4, and Peace Walker, Ground Zeroes has no stealth or camouflage meter, forcing you to be much more situationally aware. To facilitate that, you can mark enemies to track their positions with your HUD, similar to Far Cry 3. Also, when you’re spotted, you have a few seconds of slow motion during which to snap your aim to your assailant and take him out before you’re in a full-on alert phase. You can turn this slow-mo off, earning you more points at the end of your playthrough. It's a trade-off.

Stealth is a fine art

Ground Zeroes does away with some of the stealth systems of the past, like the camouflage meter and the mini-map. It's also a much more open game than past Metal Gears, and it plays more like Far Cry 3, meaning your best bet is to stay on the edges of the map, survey with your binoculars, and plan an approach before making any moves.

That means the stealth in Ground Zeroes is much more challenging--but it’s also more rewarding. It’s no longer a trial-and-error chore of learning enemy patrol patterns in confined spaces with a got-seen-so-it’s-game-over mentality. It's liberating.

You'll end up in shoot-outs

Comparisons between Ground Zeroes and Far Cry 3 continue, in that alerting enemies and engaging in combat is a totally viable option. We limited combat to a get-out clause when spotted, rather than using it as a primary tactic. However, players who want to machine-gun their way through the game will find that plenty satisfying, because the combat mechanics are fluid enough to make 'all-action' a valid play-style.

The main incentive for not being seen is that once you’ve alerted the enemies, getting out of the alert phase is a bit of a pain. Because Ground Zeroes takes place mostly in a single, open, outdoor map, with plenty of watchtowers and spotlights, finding a great hiding spot is difficult. For that reason, the shootouts, while fun, were often more protracted than I wanted them to be.

You can call in choppers

Ground Zeroes' start menu takes the form of the iDroid: it's the holographic, computer device Snake uses to communicate with his eyes-in-the-sky. The iDroid also lets you see the map and call in choppers for evacuation at specific landing zones. There are 3 LZs on the map--2 inside the main base (expect to attract plenty of attention here), and another on the cliff-side, which is much safer. You can actually throw a flare at any time to call the chopper, but that will instantly blow your stealth.

Interestingly, the game doesn’t pause while you use the iDroid, so you have to take care when you open it. There’s also going to be a real-life iDroid app for mobile phones and tablets, which will allow you to perform many of the same functions from a second screen. We didn’t get a chance to see how that works in practice, but it sounds useful. Having to pop up a full-screen menu just to look at the map while exposed to enemies is certainly more cumbersome than just glancing at your tablet.

Cut-scenes are... surprisingly scarce

There aren’t many cutscenes in Ground Zeroes. What is included does impress, though. Ground Zeroes looks astounding, and it keeps up the Metal Gear tradition of having some of the best-looking real-time cutscenes out there...

The existing cut-scenes take a few pages out of JJ Abrams’ book, liberally splashing the lens-flare to highlight their next-gen beauty. For anyone craving more narrative material, there’s quite a bit of story relegated to audio logs that you can listen to as you play. Do they contain clues about what will happen in The Phantom Pain? Oh yes...

Kiefer Sutherland is sounding great as Snake

Sutherland doesn’t have a lot to say in Ground Zeroes, but he delivers just enough lines for players to start getting used to his performance. And you’ll be glad to hear that he’s not doing his best David Hayter impression. He’s making Snake his own.

And do we learn much about Big Boss' new enemy, Skull Face? Some info will be there for fans to find and debate, but I'm not saying too much at this stage. Again, it feels like Kojima is using Ground Zeroes to test players; to prepare them for The Phantom Pain.



Last edited by Killswitchmad on Wed 5 Mar 2014 - 18:28; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes info blowout!

Post by slowdog76 on Wed 5 Mar 2014 - 16:25

Eurogamer has it right. The best n most expensive demo ever made
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Re: Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes info blowout!

Post by Killswitchmad on Wed 5 Mar 2014 - 16:31

Sorry I hit post before fully typing that up Laughing

I'm not so sure, I don't doubt that this is Kojima's way of testing the next gen waters and tastes but it does seem like he has managed to flesh it out into a decent size sandbox game
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Re: Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes info blowout!

Post by MAVERiCK FWG on Wed 5 Mar 2014 - 18:17

I havent played metal gear since mg2 as i went on the xbox 360 train.is there any point me picking this up?
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Re: Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes info blowout!

Post by Killswitchmad on Wed 5 Mar 2014 - 18:23

I would mate, it's only £29 and would be a good point to jump into the MGS games again plus MGSV which follows on from this is looking like a GOTY candidate already
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Re: Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes info blowout!

Post by Killswitchmad on Wed 5 Mar 2014 - 18:28

Updated with the latest PlayStation Access video, well worth watching
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Re: Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes info blowout!

Post by MAVERiCK FWG on Wed 5 Mar 2014 - 18:46

Is this out now then mate?
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Re: Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes info blowout!

Post by Killswitchmad on Wed 5 Mar 2014 - 18:49

No mate it's out on the 21st
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Re: Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes info blowout!

Post by MAVERiCK FWG on Wed 5 Mar 2014 - 18:56

Ill add it to the list
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