The relationship between Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain has been somewhat confusing since the beginning. Originally perceived as two separate, but linked games, Konami eventually explained the reality: Ground Zeroes was just a taste of what was to come, offering an early look at the gameplay systems and changes to the formula fans could expect from the next numbered installment.
The conversation become somewhat heated when it was revealed just how small a game Ground Zeroes would prove to be, with many seeing the attached price tag as a serious problem. But now the reviews have arrived, so fans (and skeptics) can see if the finished product really is worth the time and money.
Price cut or no, players should realize that one thing early reviews agree on is the relatively small size of Ground Zeroes. We’re hard at work on our own review, but for now, the new incarnation of Solid Snake is receiving some seriously mixed opinions upon his first outing.
Gamespot (Peter Brown):
“There’s some fat to savor here, hints of what’s to come in the next chapter of Metal Gear Solid V, but once you’ve digested the cutscenes that bookend the main mission, it’s a pure gameplay-driven experience from then on out.”
Polygon (Russ Frishtick):
“Ground Zeroes is hardly the right venue to demonstrate the future of the franchise. It’s staggeringly short and unsatisfying, feeling more like a cash grab than an honest-to-goodness installment in a beloved franchise.”
Joystiq (Ludwig Kietzmann):
“Too good to be a cash-in, too calculated to be satisfying and too intriguing to spurn, Ground Zeroes is a fiscal test of patience. If you can’t wait for the next stage of Metal Gear Solid, I’m afraid you’ll leave this about the same as you went in.”
EGM (Andrew Fitch):
“As a potential preview for what Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain might do to revolutionize the series’ classic stealth-action, Ground Zeroes is an intriguing, bite-sized playthrough. As a $30 retail disc and $20 download, however, it’s a concerning, unwelcome step for game development–and it’s nothing close to a complete, finished product.”
Eurogamer (Martin Robinson):
“It’s not so much about what’s been added in Ground Zeroes, more about what’s been artfully taken away… finding your mark becomes an exercise in deduction and exploration rather than relying on banal markers. In one swift cut, this edit solves a problem that’s blighted the open-world genre for years.”
IGN (Lucy O’Brien):
“While its central campaign is indeed as short as you might’ve heard… its multitude of options make for an engaging and tense experience that encourages replayability for hours afterward. Besides a somewhat clumsily delivered ending, this is Metal Gear for modern tastes; lean, mean, and wickedly fun.”
CVG (Andy Robinson):
“Ardent stealth fans will no doubt replay the prologue’s few missions for many hours, but for the rest of us, and certainly those who value the Metal Gear series for its narrative above all else, Ground Zeroes presents a purchase conundrum that is not easily justified.”
GameInformer (Joe Juba):
“When supported by enough variety, progression, and story development, these mechanics could form the foundation of a fantastic game. The Phantom Pain could eventually be that game, but Ground Zeroes is definitely not.”
What do you make of the reviews? Does a hefty price tag turn you off of Ground Zeroes, or is Konami simply aware that replayability and a chance to see how the gameplay of The Phantom Pain will change the formula is an opportunity franchise fans are willing to pay for? Do the reception and review scores change your level of excitement for Metal Gear Solid V, or are you simply hungry for more Kojima storytelling? Share your own thoughts in the comments.
Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes is available for the Ps3, PS4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One now.
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