From the Ground Up – Metal gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

Having been a long time Metal Gear Solid fan it was a beautiful moment when Kojima announced the development of Metal Gear Solid V, though shortly after a great disappointment when news got out that David Hayter, long time voice actor of Snake, would not be present in the continuation of the series and that the role would be voiced by Kiefer Sutherland. For me it has been an emotional rollercoaster ever since its announcement.

Having recently acquired the sleek PlayStation 4 as my next-gen hardware I had to procure Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. I was however reluctant to play it from the lack of David Hayter which I found a poor excuse and put it straight in, the whole ordeal lasted a mere couple of seconds. I know, I am sad, very sad.

There has been allot of arguments about Ground Zeroes, mainly over us paying out money for a game that can be completed within an hour if competent enough, some call it an overpriced prologue, and others claim that it isn’t worth what you pay. I firmly believe that MGSV is more than a prologue, an before some of you start flipping tables, here’s why; Anyone who has played Ground Zeroes will know that allot has changed since MGS4, weapon selection, no more codec calls, almost completely different control scheme and finally a whole bunch of new features that replace allot of the old ones.  With these points in mind, I believe that MGSV is actually a training exercise, kind of like how the S.O.P. (Sons of the Patriots) from MGS2 was to make Raiden into the soldier in Solid Snake’s image. Kojima wants us to be ready for the next instalment, The Phantom Pain, this is also highlighted through the various missions available after completing the main mission, Ground Zeroes, as each mission is staged in different ways, getting us ready for the always changing battlefield in The Phantom Pain. Okay, now you can flip your table if you still disagree.

So after the incredibly beautiful intro movie to the Ground Zeroes mission, I was finally in control of good old Jack (Snake), and I was amazed at how organic the game play felt as everything was completely different to what we have come to expect from previous MGS titles, more so at how different it was to hear a different voice to Mr. Hayter. I will say this now, if you are putting off buying or playing Ground Zeroes because of David Hayter’s absence then give in and go for it. Kiefer Sutherland’s voice talents and acting prowess makes playing Snake feel much more organic and adds a different perspective to the series.

MGSV-PAZ-CHICOThe main mission (Story) is to locate and retrieve two hostages, Chico and Paz. Chico is a young boy who was a child soldier, he is also the younger brother of Amanda who worked with Snake during the Peace Walker Incident. Paz was a member of the Militaires Sans Frontières (M.S.F.) who was captured and interrogated by Cipher, the militia formed by Major Tom, and was captured by Skull Face of the mysterious XOF. The story behind the two is later learned through cassette tapes collected throughout the game which explains their past and current situations. Snake is sent to infiltrate a U.S. Marine base where Chico and Paz are believed to be situated and bring them both back alive, while also gathering intel from Soldiers, other prisoners and various cassette tapes found throughout the game.

As you have all seen from the trailers, the graphics are stunning and feature more lens flares than a Michael Bay movie, and if you watched Kojima’s GDC presentation from last year you will know how much detail that actually goes into every single aspect of the game, even rocks are presented with a true to life render. As always Kojima pushes every console he works with to its limits, and Ground Zeroes definitely continues that trend. (At the end of the article there will be a bunch of links to videos that visually explain what I am rambling about)

Sound is what I believe a very important aspect in every video game, and Hideo Kojima never ceases to amaze me with his audiophilic nature and attention to detail in every aspect of his games. Although the sound you mostly hear is rain, there is also allot of atmospheric sounds that can be heard through it, sounds such as nearby vehicles, soldiers going about their rounds, winds catching various structures such as tents, and allot of other things. MGSV also takes note of sounds produced by the player that are more than just footprints, but sounds of your clothing and items in which you carry, which is something that until the past few years has been overlooked by developers. Some sounds are also played through your controllers built-in speaker if you’re playing on the PlayStation 4, these are mostly Snake’s iDroid device confirming requests and updates, if you’re on previous generation consoles or Xbox One however, these sounds are played through your standard audio output (TV or sound system).

In my honest opinion, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is an evolution of the series showing that Hideo Kojima is taking things more serious, with situations that occur in real life war and terrorism acts which aren’t actually seen, but become known through Chico’s various cassettes. These things make this new addition to the series allot grittier, Kojima has broken down every element of the series and built it back up into something bigger and better. I stand by my belief this is more of a rebirth of the series and an exercise to ready us for the upcoming Phantom Pain release. If you are a long time MGS fan I would definitely recommend this, especially to any who may have drifted from the series.

Metal Gear Solid V announcement at GDC 2013 (Shows examples of detail of items in Fox Engine) [720p]:

Comparison between consoles (PlayStation 3 / PlayStation 4 / Xbox 360 / Xbox One) [1080p]: