A review of Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes

A franchise, when running long enough, is bound to miss a stride and mess up. Unfortunately, it seems such is the case with Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, the prequel to what really should have been the fifth installment in this series, Metal Gear Solid 5: Phantom Pain.

Those who are not fully familiar with the story line would appreciate the main menu option of "Backstory" which summarizes the past events in 11 pages of narrative. The basic background though is that the player comes in as Snake, a special forces operative, assigned to find Metal Gear, a walking metal tank capable of launching nuclear weapons.

Those who have gotten use to the simple story lines of the recent installments may suddenly find themselves bewildered by the complexity of this game's plot, but it is best to keep in mind that the objective is just for Snake undertake a search and rescue mission for two former colleagues.

This is a successful franchise, and it shows with the quality of the graphics and the level of attention lavished on the details in Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes. The characters look realistic and the scenery is breathtaking. Even the sound effects enhance the game experience, and in fact can help you make good tactical choices.

These are all advantageous in view of an obvious deviation for this game of stealth. In previous games, Snake was handily aided by a radar that showed the spot where a nearby enemy was. This is no longer around, and his powers of observation must come to fore, assisted by a binocular. It can be misleading though as the enemy may not be moving and therefore undetectable.

Despite these pluses, though, this version still does not cut it, primarily because of the lack of action in the play. For one, the playing field is fairly limited and traversing the same grounds repeatedly will lead to boredom, regardless of some surprises that may spring up. The mission is also pretty simple, and it could actually be achieved in just over an hour of playing, definitely not a come-on.

Thus, Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes may have come from the franchise, but it has surely not contributed to enhancing the franchise reputation.