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:
"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]
"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]
"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]
"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]
"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]
"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]
"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]