There’s a fine line between genius and insanity, the clichéd old adage reminds us – and Hideo Kojima straddles that line. I’m not entirely certain which side he’s leaning most towards. His narratives are often a convoluted, jumbled cacophony, backed up by ground-breaking, revolutionary gameplay. His latest release, Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes continues to confound.

Firstly, we’ll address the rather large elephant in the room, though it’s easy to miss because it’s hidden under an even larger cardboard box. Yes, you could easily make your way through Ground Zeroes’ main mission in two hours. Terrible at stealth as I am, it was just over 120 minutes from the time I put the disc in to watching the credits roll. It’s really just one mission, bookended with lengthy cut-scenes.

GroundZeroes (1)

That main mission, the eponymous Ground Zeroes, takes place in the mid 1970’s, a short while after the events of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker. It follows sneaky espionage master Naked Snake, or Big Boss if you prefer as he makes his way through a US naval base prison buried in the Cuban mountainside as he sets out to free double agent Paz Ortega Andrade and her foiled rescuer Chico from their respective prison cells.

The entirety of the game (or prologue) takes place within that prison, Camp Omega, offering a large, more open ended world for our stealthy hero to sneak about, and it’s a change that works exceptionally well for the Metal Gear series. From the onset, the entirety of the camp is available for you to prowl through under cover of the darkness. beyond the greater scope, gameplay is very much the sort of thing you’d expect from Metal Gear – though there are now so many different ways of tackling the same mission. With a wealth of different paths and options, this is where Ground Zeroes’ value lies. MGS fans will be delighted to replay the mission using different tactics, points of entry and weaponry in pursuit of the ever elusive “S” ranking.

GroundZeroes (4)

It’s more accessible than Metal Gear’s ever been. When you’re seen by an enemy soldier, a bullet-time-like slowdown focus occurs, giving you a brief moment to dispose of your foe before he sounds an alarm.

Playing through the main mission unlocks a handful of pseudo-historical Side Ops missions – each taking under an hour to complete.  They’re generally of the rather basic sort; find and kill these two guys, find this cassette tape or destroy a cluster of anti-air guns and all of them take place in the same prison camp.  Interestingly, they offer a different  take by forcing you to sneak your way through the camp during different times of the day, showcasing Kojima’s Fox engine. 

GroundZeroes (3)

In the end, yes – it really is just a demo, a small taste of what you’ll be getting in Phantom Pain when it comes out. Thing is this mere morsel, a canapé of a game, is rather delicious and it’s not at all difficult to become rather excited for what the future of Metal Gear Solid holds. There’s just something immensely satisfying about surveying your targets, sneaking up behind them and getting information out of them before savagely stabbing them in the heart. Or just pacifying them, if you’re not a psychopath.  Even better is when the helpful guiding voice tells you that “This is a stealth mission. Go in silently” and you ignore that advice, jumping in the first tank you see and blowing everything up.

GroundZeroes (7)

And to boot, the whole experience is gorgeous. Though it makes a few textural concessions in getting the game running on the old systems, on the PlayStation 4 it’s beautiful, with a lighting engine that produces some of the best translucency you’ll see.

Yes, it’s lacking in content and comes off as a cash-grab and in many ways it is, taking Polyphony Digital’s example by releasing a paid-for demo. But in a price vacuum where fiscal considerations don’t exist, Ground Zeroes, despite its brevity, is a fantastic experience that will send adherents of the church of Kojima in to a frenzy.

Last Updated: March 24, 2014

Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes
Though its brevity's become it's biggest talking point, there's much more to Ground Zeroes than meets the eye. Beyond that it's accessible, featuring the most fluid stealth the series has shown - and delivers a promising glimpse at the future of Metal Gear Solid.
7.0
Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes was reviewed on PlayStation 4
75 / 100

57 Comments

  1. Admiral Chief of Auraxis

    March 24, 2014 at 15:35

    • Hammersteyn

      March 24, 2014 at 15:40

      Snake Plisken FTW!

      Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      March 24, 2014 at 15:51

      Winner.

      Reply

  2. Rince

    March 24, 2014 at 15:38

    Snaaaaaaaaake! Still, $20 for a 2 hours game? Industry is changing man.

    Reply

    • SheHulkNigri

      March 24, 2014 at 16:06

      Hence why I am heading to join the master race again this gen. 180.00 bucks for both…

      Reply

  3. Admiral Chief of Auraxis

    March 24, 2014 at 15:38

    How much does this game/demo cost?
    EDIT: I see rincey obliged with the info

    Reply

    • Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

      March 24, 2014 at 15:51

      R279 on last gen. And extra R100 on “nextgen”

      Reply

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        March 24, 2014 at 15:52

        …but…but…they promised prices wouldn’t go up…

        Reply

        • Hammersteyn

          March 24, 2014 at 15:54

          It didn’t, if only the miners promised they wouldn’t strike, if only there was peace in the Ukraine and if only jumbo jets didn’t disappear like my love for EA the Rand wouldn’t take such a beating.

          Reply

          • Jonah Cash

            March 24, 2014 at 16:05

            And it would probably help if we weren’t going into an election and the whole world is looking at us instead of sending money into our country!!

          • Hammersteyn

            March 24, 2014 at 16:07

            That too. But the whole world is stupid. We all know who’s gonna win.

  4. Umar Praise The Golden Sun

    March 24, 2014 at 15:39

    I can’t, I really really can’t pay so much for a demo

    Reply

    • Admiral Chief of Auraxis

      March 24, 2014 at 15:42

      Sh!t dude I can’t even pay that for a full game hahahaa

      Reply

      • Umar Praise The Golden Sun

        March 24, 2014 at 15:43

        LOLZ Hell yeah, this is such a rip-off. If this was free I would’ve jumped on it like donkey kong or at least 5 dallars

        Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      March 24, 2014 at 15:42

      Your fault for posting the dark souls speed run video

      Reply

      • Umar Praise The Golden Sun

        March 24, 2014 at 15:43

        5 mins bro…Dafuq….Kojima, NO!…NO!

        Reply

        • Hammersteyn

          March 24, 2014 at 15:44

          I was truly shocked to hear that this has no boss battles. WTF!

          Reply

      • Admiral Chief of Auraxis

        March 24, 2014 at 15:51

        That is one of the most impressive things I’ve seen in a long time (yes, that is what she said as well)

        Reply

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          March 24, 2014 at 15:53

          Obviously we’re not talking about your modesty.

          Reply

          • Admiral Chief of Auraxis

            March 24, 2014 at 15:53

            What is that? Can you eat it?

          • Hammersteyn

            March 24, 2014 at 15:56

            That’s what she said!

          • Norm the Horrible

            March 24, 2014 at 15:57

            Bwahaha!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            March 24, 2014 at 16:00

            worsrolletjie?

          • Hammersteyn

            March 24, 2014 at 16:00

            XD

          • Admiral Chief of Auraxis

            March 24, 2014 at 16:17

            Heh, Groot Wors

    • Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

      March 24, 2014 at 15:44

      I’ve put in 10 hours already…
      Which is more than I have with Infamous: Second son. Weird.

      Reply

      • Umar Praise The Golden Sun

        March 24, 2014 at 15:46

        Yeah, the thing is, it’s not really the completion time that get’s to me. Hell MGR took about 5-6 hours. But it was a COMPLETE experience. This is a 2 hour teaser for a game that’s so far off we don’t even have a date yet 🙁 No doubt it’s an amazing game and you can get a lot of gameplay time from it…but you know you want that MGS goodness. Mess of a story + long cutscenes and crazy bosses

        Reply

      • William

        March 25, 2014 at 16:05

        Same. Replayability is strong with this one.

        Reply

  5. Jonah Cash

    March 24, 2014 at 15:43

    I’ll wait till the main game comes out, they will probably have this on special the month before it comes out!!!

    Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      March 24, 2014 at 15:45

      My thoughts exactly

      Reply

      • Jonah Cash

        March 24, 2014 at 15:59

        You just know that they will drop the price before the main game releases…. Man i have trouble concentrating on work, inFamous is on my mind all the time….

        Reply

        • Hammersteyn

          March 24, 2014 at 16:00

          I’m so bad. My Karma is messed up!

          Reply

          • Jonah Cash

            March 24, 2014 at 16:03

            I am going all hero so far so that I can go all evil in the next run through!! But I swear I’m addicted and working from home has made this day soooo crap!! Sitting in my braai room to work instead of my TV room, cause the PS4 is in the TV room!!

          • Hammersteyn

            March 24, 2014 at 16:09

            You are a Zen master. I tried to trade in Killzone for Second Son. Did not notice the bright yellow sticker that says not to be sold separately

          • Jonah Cash

            March 24, 2014 at 16:15

            Bundle copy? I traded in KZ got R351 for it and that made my day!!

          • Hammersteyn

            March 24, 2014 at 18:03

            Yeah, bundle :/

  6. MakeItLegal

    March 24, 2014 at 15:49

    There are few things that make me hate myself going master race … This would be one of them … And uncharted and the last of us … Shame on me

    Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      March 24, 2014 at 15:50

      And Infamous 😛

      Reply

      • Umar Praise The Golden Sun

        March 24, 2014 at 15:51

        Isn’t GTA V also on consoles?

        Reply

        • Hammersteyn

          March 24, 2014 at 15:55

          Hahahaha XD

          Reply

      • ZumaIsPoes

        March 25, 2014 at 09:22

        ok infamous and yes GTA V , but finished both games on ps3 so not so stressed ..

        besides with bone getting DX12 support , and almost all bone games being pc games , i think i will stick with my Pc….

        Reply

        • Hammersteyn

          March 25, 2014 at 09:27

          Sorry I meant infamous second son

          Reply

  7. Norm the Horrible

    March 24, 2014 at 15:53

    Hmmm… I thought Geoff didn’t like MGS.

    Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      March 24, 2014 at 15:55

      Well it makes sense because this isn’t MGS. This is something else.

      Reply

      • Norm the Horrible

        March 24, 2014 at 15:56

        MGS demo?

        Reply

        • Hammersteyn

          March 24, 2014 at 15:58

          Consensus around the internet is it’s a demo

          Reply

  8. fred

    March 24, 2014 at 15:58

    Where is the Dark Souls 2 review , or is the reviewer somewhere is a corner crying in a foetal posistion.

    Reply

  9. Patryn

    March 24, 2014 at 16:06

    Nothing to do with ground zero, but still some of the funniest metal gear references

    Reply

  10. Martin du preez

    March 24, 2014 at 17:52

    I’m the Dude. So that’s what you call me. That, or His Dudeness … Duder … or El Duderino, if, you know, you’re not into the whole brevity thing.

    Reply

  11. Guest

    March 24, 2014 at 22:46

    From everything I heard/read on this game, I can see why they didn’t even try on the X1 port. Not worth the effort for a game so short with so little to do.

    Might pick it up when it makes it to the bargain bin, but by then there will be too many other awesome games to care about. Screw the MGS series.

    Reply

  12. Guest

    March 24, 2014 at 22:46

    From everything I heard/read on this game, I can see why they didn’t even try on the X1 port. Not worth the effort for a game so short with so little to do.

    Might pick it up when it makes it to the bargain bin, but by then there will be too many other awesome games to care about. Screw the MGS series.

    Reply

  13. Janeo

    March 25, 2014 at 01:14

    It’s not a demo it’s a prologue that has a vital part of the story that you won’t be able to experience in TPP

    Reply

  14. Tauriq Moosa

    March 27, 2014 at 10:08

    Just finished it and can now read other reviews. This is very similar to my own response. Thank goodness I don’t need to score, but if I did, I would’ve given this a 9. And I hate everything Metal Gear (up till now apparently).

    Reply

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