Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes Review Roundup

Big Boss makes his MGS debut on PS4 and Xbox One, but is Ground Zeroes enough to keep the reviewers satisfied?

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes has arrived, and it's the first home console outing for Big Boss since Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater was released for the PS2 way back in 2004.

Billed as the prologue chapter for the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Ground Zeroes has found itself embroiled at the center of an argument over length, with many reviews of leaping into that debate on either side. Regardless of all that, though, it's clear that Ground Zeroes is a significant departure from the series' traditional tropes and routines, and the first MGS title on PS4 and Xbox One also provides a glimpse at the kind of game The Phantom Pain will be when it is eventually released.

At time of writing, the PS4 version of Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes has a 75 Metascore on GameSpot sister site Metacritic.

Here's what the critics have to say in their Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes reviews:

GameSpot -- 8/10

"This dichotomy between stealth- and action-oriented gameplay lends itself to fear, tension, and excitement. One moment you can hear a pin drop, and the next, you're bolting across a chaotic military base with bullets whizzing by your head and desperation clouding your focus. If this were a more linear experience, perhaps the allure of this contrast would wear thin, but there are so many ways to tackle individual missions, be it the path you take or the weaponry you choose, that there's almost never a shortage of new tactics to explore. When your only playground is a military base, it's easy to find new ways to entertain yourself in Ground Zeroes." [Full review]

Eurogamer -- 9/10

"The very best thing about Ground Zeroes is how the series has cast away so many of its cinematic pretensions and fallen in love with being a video game all over again. As a precursor to Phantom Pain, it suggests that greatness awaits, but even on its own terms Ground Zeroes is something special. In the purity of its systems and the focus of its action, it's not just an antidote to the glut that had begun to weigh down Metal Gear Solid but also to the bloat that weighs down so many of the series' big-budget peers." [Full review]

IGN -- 8.0/10

"Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes is a short but challenging game, and those willing to cast aside conventional expectations will find a lot more here than first glance might suggest. While I’m unconvinced that Kojima is quite ready to tackle more controversial narrative material, for the most part Ground Zeroes represents a new, more sophisticated era for Metal Gear. A Big Boss/Snake adventure has never looked or played better, and in it lies incredible promise for its enormous big brother." [Full review]

GameInformer -- 7.0/10

"Even for longtime fans of the Metal Gear franchise, Ground Zeroes may not be worth playing. It spreads its strengths thin over too little space, relying on the repetition of a handful of unremarkable missions in the same area. That's the bad news. The good news is that the core stealth is fun, and the innovations on the gameplay front are promising. 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." [Full review]

Joystiq -- 3.5/5

"The undoubtable quality of Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes feels carved from a bigger, better game, and perhaps that makes it a better showcase for players who don't know their Snakes from their Otacons. 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." [Full review]

TheSixthAxis -- 6/10

"Splitting Ground Zeroes back into a separate release was always going to be contentious. Thankfully, there is a lot more gameplay and depth than the early reports of the main mission’s length suggested and it’s full of potential for exploration, fan service and Kojima’s particular brand of hackneyed allegories.

Unfortunately, there is still too little primary content to justify the £29.99 price tag or even the £19.99 digital pricing for PS3/360, so I can’t recommend this to anyone but a die hard MGS fan." [Full review]

Polygon -- 5.5/10

"It's admirable that developer Kojima Productions was willing to toss long-held franchise tenets out the window in favor of re-imagined Metal Gear Solid gameplay. And it's possible that in a more complete game, these additions might shine more brightly. But 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." [Full review]

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Discussion

114 comments
toecutter00
toecutter00

The gameplay is more intuitive (Thanks, Kojima, for joining the rest of us in the 21st century w mechanics that have been the standard for the industry for the last 15 yrs), but graphically it is a dud; from the canned PS3 animations to a slightly improved texture and lighting.  The native 1080p on PS4 does a better job of masking the visual flaws, but there is nothing next gen about the game. The night mission, again, does a good job of masking things, but the missions that take place in the cold light of day you'd swear you were playing MGS 4.

EMPTY-V
EMPTY-V

I always turned to Metal Gear for story and characters, and Splinter Cell for excellent stealth gameplay (except Conviction). But if GZ is a taste of what the Phantom Pain will be, I think I'm getting the best of both worlds in the future. I'm having fun with game and haven't even finished normal mode 2 hours in.

jecomans
jecomans

Now that the reviews are out, and things seem generally as expected, I can't say I feel like spending any money on this particular outing, however, it has increased my interest in the 'real' MGSV. 

-s3r6i0-
-s3r6i0-

I'm probably alone here, but I haven't had so much fun with a video in a long time. That 90 minute campaign was short - Ground Zeroes is an overpriced demo - but I knew that coming in, as opposed to a lot of you who knew fully well what you were getting yourself into, now you wanna feign ignorance and be the victim. It's actually, not that bad. The side missions are fun and a little difficult, the stealth and the gameplay was developed very well. 


Just one major complaint I have with the gameplay: The checkpoint system is severely flawed. It's a sandbox level now (inaccurately referred to as "open world"), the checkpoints are automatic, and the game saves upon reaching an area or completing a goal. The problem is, if you die while on high alert, when you retry, your progress in the level stays the same but the enemy AI goes back to normal. So, when the game gets difficult all you have to do is die and all the trouble disappears. They should give you a set number of saves that you're allowed so you can save the game on your own terms, instead of the game rescuing you from a firefight. It's bull$h!t. 

ringringabel
ringringabel

i've gotta say though, this game has some of the best graphics i've ever seen in a video game...jeez I'm so torn between whether I like this or hate this.. :[

ringringabel
ringringabel

i was so surprised when i beat the game...i thought i had just completed the TUTORIAL!!! Feel stupid for ordering it off psn on PS4...should've just bought the disc so I could've traded it in for something else -_-

oh well now I'm stuck trying to find value in this game by trying all the side missions, I really do think they should've made this part of Phantom Pain, a'la Tanker mission MGS2 

-s3r6i0-
-s3r6i0-

This is a really good game, just overpriced.

sinclairhxc
sinclairhxc

i gave it 9 XOF patches out of 9 CQC takedowns

jcogopogo
jcogopogo

game is worth it, amazing game, it is short true but better then waiting for a year to see what they are working on, makes me laugh people complain that $30 is too much really, where do you live it? cost me $40 for a pint of rum in Canada last me a few days, so this game is a value , all games are a value $50-70 for sometimes months of fun.  $30 might be a lot for kids with no money but for me an adult the value is there and this game is amazing , spent 3 hours just messing around with the guards fun stuff!  Gameplay and Graphics have me real excited for the real thing to come out

SavoyPrime
SavoyPrime

Publishers/developers will never learn if gamers continue to buy product that is a slap-in-the-face to us. A 2-hour game (or a 10-minute game depending on how you look at it) should never be $30. AAA game or not.

shureshot24
shureshot24

I love it. Been playing for about 6 hours, squeezed about all I can out of it. But I don't think its worth 30$. It should be like 20$ digitally across all platforms, and 30$ if you get a boxed version. Its the same map and with side ops that kind feel like filler (Enjoyable filler, but still filler) and it does not feel like a 30$ purchase to me. Honestly if you can wait till the phantom pain, just buy that and watch this on twitch. Its only worth it if you cant wait to get your hands on The Phantom Pain, or just want to support the game. Otherwise its not really worth it. If Kojima had just made this cheaper (like 10, 15$), then there would not be such a backlash against it in the reviews. Loved it anyway, it was 30$ well spent for me.

Navardo95
Navardo95

The game has the most polished mechanics of all the MGS games but fans seem to be pissed primarily because of the length and price it seems...but Kojima can more than make up for it by releasing sizeable DLC for Ground Zeroes for free..

traytaba
traytaba

seeing there has not been a MGS game in 10yrs ON A CONSOLE such as ps, xbox. the last being snake eater in 2004. so the fact that I didn't have to wait until 2015 to at least play something MGS was why I bought it and have no complaints. and get a first taste of MGS on next gen just 3 months into 2014 is the icing on the cake. even more so since so many games get delayed now a days gta v, watch dogs (should of already been out and beat) ect. we dont even get any extra trailers from the delays. at least kojima gave us real content with the actual game being so far away. I cant even get a new trailer from Watch Dogs and its 2 months away.

NeoMortiny
NeoMortiny

Yeah sure it's a bloody cash grab, fine!

It could've been story DLC post release of Phantom Pain too, or microtransactions - at least they've got the balls to come out and say they're grabbing for cash.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

Hopefully, this incident would be a reminder/realization to everyone that "value" is a subjective perception. (Kudos to mack10 for bringing this up earlier than I had.)

bhmg
bhmg

"It's staggeringly short and unsatisfying, feeling more like a cash grab than an honest-to-goodness installment in a beloved franchise."


THIS, don´t even need to say more...

theKSMM
theKSMM

This series has an ardent following for a reason.  There's no harm in their trying something different.  For those who aren't fans of the series, I'm sure there will be no "phantom pain" -- see what I did there? -- if you skip it.

ryogapower
ryogapower

how does it play. thats all that matters to me. i'll happily wait and bide my time (like snake) until the time is right to buy..

naomha1
naomha1

I can't help but feel as though this IS a cash grab by Konami to try to recover the millions of dollars they've probably shelled out for The Phantom Pain. They should, perhaps, rename the game to The Royal Pain and include Kojima's face on the game shell. At least it would be poignant and true and we wouldn't feel so bad about shelling out $30 for a two hour chapter out of the main game. Being indecisive and slow is not a trait I would want for someone at the helm, no matter how much greatness they brought to the table previously. 

ShadowNeverDies
ShadowNeverDies

I'll probably buy this when it's on sale or when it gets somehow packaged with Phantom Pain when Phantom Pain launches but despite how good it is, it's a rip off. If I had to pay the same amount of money for a film that was 30 minutes rather than at least the usual hour and 30 minutes I'd be pissed and people would kill that film for being a rip off...but no only video games get to be 2 hours long and get defended to death by rabid fans. Seriously Hideo Kojima 'self proclaimed God' can go f himself this time and then I'll praise him again if Phantom Pain is good but this is ridiculous...especially when there are just better actual games 'not demos' out there. But hey if you make like six figures or have a good salary yeah buy it lol because you can afford the rip off and well I'm sure the game is good.

P.S. Somehow despite Kojima's proclamations and every indicator that this game is better on the PS4 it's got a metacritic rating of 74 on the PS4 and a 77 on the Xbox One...I just found that curious.

Kinguard73
Kinguard73

I been at it trying to avoid combat. I spent over 3 hours and still not done (only saved one of two people) Also as others mentioned there is other missions but they are from what I can see filler. (the game in daylight shows off the power of the PS4.)

Byt what I do not understand is how people say this is like the PS3. I've seen MGS4 and it was detailed but this pretty much blows it out of the water. Maybe because some people are not into art but it's not the sight but the taste that matters. 30 dollars well spent for me but then again I didn't charge through because the mission is overall short. I took my time still not done and enjoying the hell out of it.


Still stuck how anyone could compare this to MGS4... the difference is so apparent. I guess when you just killing and running around like a dip shit you can't notice graphics has improved. Though I wish they added the rain falling through the lights like in tomb raider. Maybe in phantom pain? I like that effect.

Unfallen_Satan
Unfallen_Satan

From the different reviews, it sounds like player satisfaction will be heavily dependent on what they want out of the game. Players who replay missions over and over trying different tactics and going for that perfect gameplay will find a great venue and more value than "length" may suggest. Those who push through the game, consuming story elements along the way with gameplay as more of a diversion, will almost certainly be disappointed by the length if nothing else.

I think it's worthwhile for everyone who is considering The Phantom Pain to at least rent this game, made convenient by its length, to see what the larger game promises. This is shaping up to be a turning point in MGS on consoles, and although The Phantom Pain may very well receive 9-10 across the board, those that aren't excited about side-missions, replays, unlocks, and other such activities could still find the new approach lacking.

This kind of diverse reactions really benefit from a review roundup.

zux2000
zux2000

this  game is a good proof playstation 3 and 4 is not so huge difference when it goes to the graphic. just imagine when mgs 4 came out - it could never been also on ps2... never. but mgs 5 can be both on ps3 and ps4... 

Revolver391
Revolver391

it might be a bit naughty to release GZ as its own game - but no one is forcing people to buy it....you know its short - if that is a big deal for you, give it a miss..

That being said Kojima just re-tweeted a fella who is just about to clock up his 20th hour and he's only hit 37% clear.....

NeoMortiny
NeoMortiny

You know those games, where you had that one level save, that you loaded over and over trying different things each time.

Yeah, this is right up my alley.

ClevernameX
ClevernameX

Not alone, I was playing with a grin on my face the whole time. Best hour and a half Ever! Didn't want it to end. This is the cruelest tease in video game history. So much potential for Phantom Pain.

ClevernameX
ClevernameX

I mostly agree, if it wasn't Metal Gear I most likley wouldn't have paid. Hopefully this doesn't become a trend. I actually think Konami took a huge risk, what if GZ was terrible? That would negitavly imact Phantom Pains sales. But I knew what I was getting, and chose to pay.

sinclairhxc
sinclairhxc

@SavoyPrime well GZ has an insane amoutn of replayability.  if you're not looking to replay it, don't buy it.

on the other hand, titles like Heavy Rain are about 6 hours in length and cost $60 retail years back, in which there's little replay value... well there's little "play" at all.

this isn't the first game to be potentially over-priced.  think you morons.

jecomans
jecomans

@shureshot24  I feel like GZ has lent some credence to the idea that PP could turn out to be a pretty amazing game (with the new style, systems and gameplay); but I have no inclination to actually buy GZ.

jcogopogo
jcogopogo

@Navardo95  it's amazing, game plays and looks so good.  be fun if they just added some fun stuff in the same sandbox to mess around with , a few differnt scenios would be fun , my take on the price is if $30 is too much , then why do you have a ps4 ? not sure what world people live , i am in Cananda BC , pretty much i get up take a shower turn on the heat and that is $30 of power i burned through, life is expensive videogames have never been , still one of the best values out there , heck my truck cost $140 to fill up lol so to me $30 is one heck of a value for this product

onenineseven
onenineseven

@traytaba  I love mgs franchise but why do people keep saying no mgs games on consoles in 10 years when mgs4 came out a few years ago on ps3 right?

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@bhmg  

It is a convenient coincidence that Polygon tells you what you want to hear.

ClevernameX
ClevernameX

Thanks for pointing out that it's a Konami cash grab, Kojima didn't want to break up the story into seperate releases. I'm glad he takes his time with his games, this isn't a sports game or an FPS that needs annual releases. It's a cash grab but it was worth the money for me.

NeoMortiny
NeoMortiny

@naomha1  I agree it might have something to do with a bad decision high up, but would you rather have this or pay $20 for DLC that finishes off the incomplete story in the main game?

Right now I feel like we're discouraging expensive paid demos and encouraging DLC cash grabs.

Navardo95
Navardo95

@ShadowNeverDies  "Somehow despite Kojima's proclamations and every indicator that this game is better on the PS4 it's got a metacritic rating of 74 on the PS4 and a 77 on the Xbox One...I just found that curious."


Simple maths man!!! Please don't tell me I have to explain you that because it would be pretty insulting for you...

hikaruai
hikaruai

I'd rather see a 30-50 min short if its more quality than an hour and a half feature length thats subpar so I don't see your point...

stealthyninja81
stealthyninja81

@eli2333 Im not buying it because of it's length but I have to say they were very open about how short the game would be. 10 seconds of research would tell anyone that. I really don't have any sympathy for those people, they should have known what they were buying instead of buying blindly.

ShadowNeverDies
ShadowNeverDies

@Unfallen_Satan  It's still too short...Metal Gear Rising was about 4 hours but had huge replay value built in and the cutscenes/story did bump up that hour counter...it didn't feel like 4 hours for sure. This game/demo is a joke though. I remember people blasted Capcom for Case Zero back in the day and that was a 2 hour demo of sorts for 5 bucks...and this is the same deal but for 30 or 40 bucks.


Morphine_OD
Morphine_OD

@zux2000 please tell me you're trolling. Just take a look at Infamous Second Son if you're not.

West123
West123

@NeoMortiny  lol i do that all the time!! i didnt even think of this game like that

ringringabel
ringringabel

@Gelugon_baat @bhmg  i beat this game last night and I have to agree w/ polygon as well. wow what a crazy coincidence that a user has the same feelngs as a reviewer, insane right?

mack10
mack10

Rising was also a complete game sold at a $60 price tag. Its stupid they sold this as a stand alone but as a game its a hell of a game. "Value" is subjective for each person...i've already got $30 worth out of this just by sheer enjoyment, now I'm in equity land.

NeoMortiny
NeoMortiny

@West123 @NeoMortiny  All the time - First area in Crysis, every other mission in Max Payne 1/2, Deus Ex, Dishonored.


I'm not trying to justify the price with replayability or anything, it's just that this game like most other good stealth games (Dishonored etc) celebrate player creativity - and GZ seems to be shooting for exactly that.

Now, to buy a PS4.

mack10
mack10

He's saying the leap is there but not as big as MGS4 from PS2. And he's right.

snake3rules
snake3rules

@Saul_Ed_Snake @NeoMortiny @West123  Yeah I keep thinking about Dead Rising ... the first game's demo was one small area and a timer, and I played that a million times, loved it... the second had the full fledged prequel thing, also quite enjoyable and worth it... I don't see why this is being viewed by some as such a crime, and why people can't just be happy to get a little bit of new MGS .. I mean I get the price problem some are having with it, but its been so many years since MGS4, I would much rather have this now and pay $30, than have it as part of the full phantom pain game in a couple years.


Bird in the hand, people...


Plus I have a ps4 and want shiny new content to enjoy on it!