Review by Man0nFire_

Reviewed: 04/07/14 | Updated: 04/08/14

Leaves You Hungry For Phantom Pain

Ground Zeroes changes up a lot of things from the classic Metal Gear formula - there are no more rations or health bar, and you can't carry a huge assortment of weapons and gadgets like in some of the past games. But the core stealth mechanics, which are the heart of Metal Gear, remain, and they're probably the most polished they've ever been. Light and shadow are incredibly important, as is keeping tabs on where all of your enemies are. It's what Metal Gear's stealth has always aspired to but is only now able to achieve - it makes the missions varied and interesting through something as simple as being at a different time of day due to the lines of sight and AI scripts changing so drastically.

Omega Base is brimming with detail, both subtle and overt. It feels very real, and graphically it really comes alive on PS4. The rain effects are incredibly realistic, and it's so nice to have 60fps again. It runs really smoothly and that adds to the game hugely. In daytime, with the lighting engine in full effect.. Despite being cross-generational, it really looks like a PS4 game should.

Nicola and Bart serves as a suitably memorable theme song, and voice acting is very strong. The Keifer Sutherland controversy was quite unfounded - I thought I'd dislike him but he really slips into the role. The rest of the cast returns from Peace Walker, and while perhaps a touch melodramatic they are as strong as they've ever been.

I enjoyed the storyline, too, which sets up Phantom Pain fantastically. That said, some of the cut scenes are a bit graphic and gruesome, and they certainly aren't going to be to everyone's tastes. This is a legitimate concern - if you're squeamish, then stay away.

Of course, the elephant in the room is the length. The main mission and side missions are over quickly, but there is more to it than that, if you want to complete everything . You can collect the XOF patches to unlock an extra side mission (there are nine, and without a guide they'd be insanely difficult to find), and cassette tapes which offer a bit more insight into Chico and Paz's (actually quite disturbing) story. And trying to get S-Rank in all of the missions will be an extra challenge in itself. Basically, if you buy Ground Zeroes intending to perfect it and get really good at it, then don't let the price tag bother you. There is lots to amuse yourself with if you want to tackle the optional content.

Ground Zeroes is a game I'd recommend unconditionally if it were longer. But it isn't. As such, only go for it if you are going to be thorough about it - you'll have a great game with incredible game play, stunning graphics and a memorable, if somewhat disturbing, storyline. For anyone else, either rent it, wait for a PS Plus version, or skip and wait for The Phantom Pain.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

Product Release: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (US, 03/18/14)

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