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Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

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This week, Zero Punctuation reviews Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes.

TranscriptEdit

The Metal Gear series is the video game equivalent of Lennie from Of Mice and Men: A huge lovable idiot, who discovers things that ordinary people figured out years ago, like hovering the third person camera over the player character instead of nailing it to passing seagulls and we applaud it for overcoming its disadvantages and when it fucks up I can’t stay mad at it because it doesn’t fuck up out of malice.

Hey Metal Gear? Why did you pretend MGS 2 would be about Solid Snake then replace him twenty minutes in with a cross between an albino Barbie doll and Wesley Crusher? “Duh! I’m sorry I just wanted everyone to meet this cool new character I made up. He’s a cyborg and his nipples turn into shurikens!”

Hey Metal Gear? Why are all these emotionally traumatised young women thrusting their butts at the camera? “Duh! I’m sorry, looking at bums makes my willy feel nice.” 

With MGSV Ground Zeroes, I worry that he’s fallen in with a bad influence. Why did you chop the intro off your upcoming game and release it for forty bucks, Metal Gear? “Duh, I’m sorry! Mr Konami says I have to pay him back for all the Fizzy Gummy bears he gave me.” Did I ever tell you about the rabbits Metal Gear? “Are they down that shotgun barrel?” Yes Metal Gear, have a closer look.

Understand my problem, viewer! I’m a man of routine and strict scheduling: Wake up, Breakfast, Exercise, light the brazier underneath the dwarf. I’d already scheduled out Ground Zeroes to be reviewed this week, I’d heard it was short but I figured "Hey! Kane and Lynch 2 only made two wheezing inept thrusts before rolling over and going back to sleep and I got plenty of mileage out of that."

Turns out Ground Zeroes didn’t even get as far as the thrusting! I bought it dinner, we watched Dances with Wolves, it rubbed its dick on my cheek for a second and then it ran off to catch the last bus! It didn’t even make me feel like a whore, just a victim of a practical joke! And I didn’t have anything else to play that week besides poke the dancing dwarf, so I guess this is where we’re at. I’m going to review half an hour of gameplay. Consider this a sneak preview of the future world the games industry eventually wants to create, in which we pay a hundred bucks for ten minutes on the Candy Crush machine in-between mining for polygons on one of the Microsoft slave planets.

So there’s this guy who’s sometimes called ‘Snake’ and sometimes called ‘Big Boss’ and he’s the best soldier ever; He’s got a an eyepatch and he’s a martial arts expert and no really he’s just so cool you guys. And he runs a sort of mobile party bus service for mercenaries but there’s these two kids who hang around his place, either by the same principle as those two kids who used to hang out with the Superfriends, or because it’s like those little birds that live in crocodile's mouths and he hires them to pick bits of Corn Flake out of his beard; and they’ve been captured and imprisoned in an evil American detention center by a bloke called Mr. Skull Face, who’s called that because he has a face that looks like a skull. Metal Gear, your writing has officially graduated to the level of a bad Saturday morning cartoon! “Thanks! my favourite one is G.I.Joe.”

Anyway, Mr. Bigsnake has to go in alone and rescue his two underage slave children before their captors can interrogate them and find out what their favourite milkshakes are. And he’s now being voiced by Keifer Sutherland which was a bit of a lurch; I’ve gotten so used to David Hayter's silly gravelly voice constantly repeating the last two words of the previous speaker’s sentence as a question, but when someone else does it now it makes the dialogue seem really badly written.

The prison camp represents the entirety of Ground Zeroes. I should probably promise to stop harping on about the length issue...except I won’t! I’m gonna harp like an angel with Parkinson’s disease! At the outset, the title menu had the one mission and then like five or six locked ones, so I thought, "Okay that’s a healthy enough size for forty smackaroos." Turned out that the first mission is the only one with any story and there’s an end credit sequence afterwards that accounts for about forty percent of the total run time. The rest of the missions are just bonus objectives on the same map, which felt like continuing to suck on a lolly stick after the lolly has been depleted.

It is quite a large and sprawling map which can be fairly fruitfully be reused, but variations in light and weather effects won’t go far to stop it from getting a wee bit samey. Unless you’re one of those emergent gameplay types who can get hours of fun from arranging unconscious bodies in to the shape of a swastika. But you’d probably be equally amused  by enacting thrilling shipwreck survival dramas with a plate of beans on toast.

What’s frustrating is that I enjoyed what little game there was. I can’t decide if that softens the blow or makes it worse, like a man I respect has offered his hand to shake only to pull it away at the last second while his friend yanks my trousers down.  It controls well. There’s a button I extracted much amusement from that makes Snake gaily fling himself at the ground like he means to impregnate the earth itself. You can kick the door down and shoot the place up against a chorus of a blaring alarms or you can find the vantage point and organically recon the area ahead...before you kick the door down and shoot the place up against a chorus of blaring alarms.

I like that the game doesn’t let you wimp out. "Rescued the prisoner! Is the mission over yet?", one might ask. "If you mean, "after you’ve carried them through enemy territory to the extraction point by a route you’re gonna have to figure out by yourself", then yes!" It shows its improvement without losing its identity as a Metal Gear Solid game, so you can still crawl up to someone then stick a knife in their ear until they tell you about their favourite milkshakes. And the requisite radio talk is mercifully brief and the game doesn’t lock you in a cupboard until it’s finished.

And there’s the usual Metal Gear inconsistent tone and leaning a bit too hard on the fence around creepy land. To illustrate how evil Mr. Skull face is (if the skull for a face wasn’t doing it for you,) we find out on the chopper home that the girl we rescued has a bomb in her gut, so we must watch it being extracted with unflinching detail. Man, the PS4’s good at rendering a screaming girl’s guts! (Although I doubt they’ll be putting that in the marketing packages.) But then the girl wakes up and goes, "Woops I just remembered there were two bombs! Coh, what a scatterbrain I am. Explode!" It wasn’t dull, I’ll give it that, but if she’s gonna blow up anyway, the scene seems a bit wanton. Metal Gear? Are you being weird about female characters again? “No!” What’s that behind your back, Metal Gear? “It’s a... female character who wears bikini tops and never speaks.” Oh Metal Gear!

On the whole though, if this had been a free demo it might have left me enthused for MGSV. Instead I loathe it! Because I remember entire thirds of games were given away for free and I object to having to pay forty dollars for a demo just 'cause someone’s been too liberal with the fizzy gummy bears! Leave me out it or, for fuck's sake, switch to Kola Kubes!

AddendaEdit

  • Also has dangerous hardware just under his stomach: Ben "Yahztee" Croshaw
  • Still, I have a feeling that going out with Hideo Kojima would leave you with quite a few stories to tell
  • The rejected name for 'quiet' was 'darling the men are talking'

Extra: Webby Awards AnnouncementEdit

Hi, people who watch after the credits! The Escapist is up for a People's Choice Webby Award for Games Related Website voted by the general public! I think you know what you have to do now: Annex the Sudetenland. Oh, sorry I got that wrong. I mean, vote for usThen annex the Sudetenland.

ScreenshotsEdit

Episodes
2007 - 2010
2007
Q3 The Darkness Demo · Fable: The Lost Chapters · Zero Punctuation (Episode) · Heavenly Sword and Other Stuff · Psychonauts · Console Rundown · BioShock · Tomb Raider: Anniversary · Manhunt · Peggle
Q4 Halo 3 · Tabula Rasa · The Orange Box · Super Paper Mario · Medal of Honor: Airborne · The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass · Clive Barker's Jericho · F.E.A.R. Perseus Mandate · Assassin's Creed · Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock · Mass Effect
2008
Q1 Super Mario Galaxy · Silent Hill: Origins · Crysis · The Witcher · Resident Evil: The Umbrella Chronicles · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare · SimCity Societies · Yahtzee Goes to GDC · Uncharted: Drake's Fortune · Devil May Cry 4 · Burnout: Paradise · Turok · Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure
Q2 Army of Two · No More Heroes · Condemned 2: Bloodshot · Super Smash Bros. Brawl · God of War: Chains of Olympus · Mailbag Showdown · Grand Theft Auto IV · Painkiller · The World Ends With You · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion · Haze · Metal Gear Solid 4
Q3 Webcomics · Lego Indiana Jones: The Original Adventures · Alone in the Dark · Age of Conan: Hyborian Adventures · The E3 Trailer Park · Ninja Gaiden II · Prince of Persia Retrospective · Soulcalibur IV · Braid · EVE Online · Too Human · Spore · XBLA Double Bill
Q4 Mercenaries 2: World in Flames · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed · S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Clear Sky · Silent Hill: Homecoming · Saints Row 2 · Dead Space · Fable II · Fallout 3 · Guitar Hero: World Tour · Mirror's Edge · Left 4 Dead · Sonic Unleashed · The Year in Review - 2008 · Prince of Persia
2009
Q1 Awards for 2008 · Tomb Raider: Underworld · Far Cry 2 · Gears of War 2 · LittleBigPlanet · Thief: The Dark Project · Skate 2 · F.E.A.R. 2 · Spider-Man: Web of Shadows · The House of the Dead: Overkill · 50 Cent: Blood on the Sand · Resident Evil 5
Q2 X-Blades/Halo Wars · Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars · MadWorld · Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X · Siren: Blood Curse · The Chronicles of Riddick: Assault on Dark Athena · Valkyria Chronicles · Velvet Assassin · Duke Nukem Forever · Bionic Commando · InFamous · The Second Annual E3 Hype Massacre · Prototype
Q3 The Sims 3 · Ghostbusters: The Video Game · Overlord 2 · Red Faction Guerrilla · Wii Sports Resort · Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood · The Conduit · Silent Hill 2 · 2.5-D Hoedown · Tales of Monkey Island · Wolfenstein · Batman: Arkham Asylum · Beatles Rock Band & Guitar Hero 5 · Darkest of Days
Q4 Scribblenauts · Wet · Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story · Brutal Legend · Washington D.C. · Uncharted 2: Among Thieves · Dragon Age: Origins · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 · Assassin's Creed 2 · Left 4 Dead 2 & New Super Mario Bros. Wii · Demon's Souls · Holiday 2009 · The Saboteur
2010
Q1 Awards for 2009 · Torchlight · Darksiders · Bayonetta · Dark Void · Borderlands · Mass Effect 2 · Dante's Inferno · BioShock 2 · Aliens vs Predator · Heavy Rain · Battlefield: Bad Company 2 · Final Fantasy XIII
Q2 April Fools 2010 · God of War III · Red Steel 2 · Just Cause 2 · Silent Hill: Shattered Memories · Splinter Cell: Conviction · Nier · Dead to Rights: Retribution · Monster Hunter Tri · Alan Wake · Red Dead Redemption · Alpha Protocol · Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands · E3 2010
Q3 No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle · Super Mario Galaxy 2 · Singularity · Crackdown 2 · DeathSpank & Limbo · Shadow of the Colossus · Split Second: Velocity · Transformers: War for Cybertron · Kane & Lynch 2: Dog Days · Mafia II · Metroid: Other M · Video Game Voters Network · Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Q4 Halo: Reach · Dead Rising 2 · Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow · Enslaved: Odyssey to the West · Fallout: New Vegas · Star Wars: The Force Unleashed II · Call of Duty: Black Ops · IPhone Games · Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood · Splatterhouse · Epic Mickey · Holiday 2010
2011 - 2014
2011
Q1 Top 5 of 2010 · World of Warcraft: Cataclysm · Fable III · Minecraft · A Shadow's Tale · Dead Space 2 · DC Universe Online · MindJack · Two Worlds II · Bulletstorm · Killzone 3 · Kirby's Epic Yarn · Dragon Age II
Q2 Pokémon White · Yakuza 4 · Crysis 2 · Nintendo 3DS · Portal 2 · Castlevania: Symphony of the Night · Mortal Kombat · Brink · L.A. Noire · The Witcher 2 · Hunted: The Demon's Forge · Duke Nukem Forever (for real this time) · InFamous 2
Q3 Alice: Madness Returns · Shadows of the Damned · F.E.A.R. 3 · The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time 3D · Call of Juarez: The Cartel · Bastion and From Dust · Catherine · Red Faction: Armageddon · Deus Ex · Deus Ex: Human Revolution · Driver: San Francisco · Dead Island · Resistance 3
Q4 Gears of War 3 · Hard Reset · Rage · Kinect · Batman: Arkham City · Battlefield 3 · Uncharted 3: Drake's Deception · Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 · The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim · Saints Row: The Third · Assassin's Creed: Revelations · The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
2012
Q1 Serious Sam 3: BFE · Top 5 of 2011 · Super Mario 3D Land & Rayman Origins · Sonic Generations · Star Wars: The Old Republic · Amy · Resident Evil: Revelations · Darkness 2 · Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning · NeverDead · Syndicate · Mass Effect 3 · Twisted Metal
Q2 Yakuza: Dead Souls · Ninja Gaiden 3 · Silent Hill: Downpour · Kid Icarus: Uprising · Fez and I Am Alive · Prototype 2 · Risen 2: Dark Waters · Sniper Elite V2 · Diablo 3 · Max Payne 3 · Dragon's Dogma · E3 2012 · Lollipop Chainsaw
Q3 Quantum Conundrum · Spec Ops: The Line · Walking Dead · Inversion · The Amazing Spider-Man · Half-Life · Wreckateer and Deadlight · Steam Roundup · Sleeping Dogs · Darksiders 2 · DayZ · Guild Wars 2
Q4 Borderlands 2 · FIFA 13 · Resident Evil 6 · Dishonored · XCOM: Enemy Unknown · Medal of Honor: Warfighter & Doom 3: BFG Edition · Assassin's Creed 3 · Halo 4 · Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 · Hitman: Absolution · Far Cry 3 · ZombiU
2013
Q1 Top 5 of 2012 · Paper Mario: Sticker Star · Black Knight Sword & Hotline Miami · Anarchy Reigns · DMC: Devil May Cry · The Cave · Ni No Kuni: Wrath of the White Witch · Dead Space 3 · Aliens: Colonial Marines · Crysis 3 · Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance · Tomb Raider · SimCity
Q2 The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct · BioShock Infinite · Lego City Undercover · Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon · Injustice: Gods Among Us · Star Trek · Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon · System Shock 2 · Metro: Last Light · Next Gen Buyer's Guide · Fuse · Remember Me · E3 2013
Q3 The Last of Us · Deadpool · Animal Crossing: New Leaf · Ride to Hell: Retribution · Dark · Mario & Luigi: Dream Team · Rise of the Triad · Papers, Please & Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons · Pikmin 3 · The Bureau: XCOM Declassified · Saints Row 4 · Killer is Dead · Amnesia: A Machine for Pigs
Q4 Grand Theft Auto V · Lost Planet 3 · Beyond: Two Souls · The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD · Batman: Arkham Origins · Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag · Call of Duty: Ghosts · Exclusives Showdown · Ryse: Son of Rome · Dead Rising 3 · Super Mario 3D World
2014
Q1 Top 5 of 2013 · Knack · Killzone: Shadow Fall · Survival Special · Broken Age · Might & Magic X: Legacy · The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds · Dark Souls · Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII · Strider · Thief · Castlevania: Lords of Shadow 2 · Dark Souls II
Q2 Titanfall · InFamous: Second Son · Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes · The Elder Scrolls Online · South Park: The Stick of Truth · FTL: Faster Than Light · Child of Day-Light · The Amazing Spider-Man 2 · Tesla Effect: A Tex Murphy Adventure · Wolfenstein: The New Order · WATCH DOGS · E3 2014 · Murdered: Soul Suspect
Q3 Tomodachi Life · Enemy Front & Valiant Hearts: The Great War · Shovel Knight · EarthBound · Transistor · E.T. · Firefall · Sacred 3 · Risen 3: Titan Lords · Daikatana · Lichdom: Battlemage · The Sims 4 · Destiny
Q4 D4: Dark Dreams Don't Die · Hyrule Warriors · Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor · Alien Isolation · The Evil Within · Bayonetta 2 · Sunset Overdrive · Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare · Assassin's Creed: Unity · Far Cry 4 · Dragon Age: Inquisition · Sonic Boom: Rise of Lyric · Top 5 Games of 2014
2015 - 2017
2015
Q1 The Talos Principle · Elite: Dangerous · Five Nights at Freddy's and This War of Mine · Lords of the Fallen · Saints Row: Gat out of Hell · Dying Light · Grim Fandango · Evolve · The Order: 1886 · The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask 3D · Resident Evil Revelations 2 · Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number & Ori and the Blind Forest
Q2 Battlefield: Hardline · Bloodborne · Half-Life 2 Update · Axiom Verge & Stealth Inc 2 · Mortal Kombat X · Grand Theft Auto Online · Broken Age: Act 2 · Wolfenstein: The Old Blood · Cyberpunk Double · The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt · Splatoon · Hatred · E3 2015
Q3 Alone in the Dark: Illumination · Batman: Arkham Knight · Yoshi's Woolly World · Cave Story · Godzilla · Rocket League & Tembo the Badass Elephant · King's Quest: A Knight to Remember · Nom Nom Galaxy & Freedom Planet · Everybody's Gone To The Rapture · Volume · Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain · Mad Max · Gears of War Ultimate Edition · Until Dawn
Q4 Super Mario Maker · SOMA · Rock Band 4 · Assassin's Creed Syndicate · Halo 5: Guardians · Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 · Rise of the Tomb Raider · Fallout 4 · Star Wars: Battlefront · Just Cause 3 · Fatal Frame: Maiden of Black Water
2016
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2015 · Devil's Third · Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam · Assassin's Creed Chronicles · Xenoblade Chronicles X · The Witness & Bombshell · Gravity Rush · XCOM 2 · Firewatch & Layers of Fear · Far Cry Primal · Stardew Valley & SUPERHOT · The Division · Salt and Sanctuary
Q2 Republique · Shadow Warrior · Quantum Break · Dark Souls III · Ratchet & Clank · Star Fox Zero · Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door · Uncharted 4: A Thief's End · Doom · Homefront: The Revolution · Overwatch & Battleborn · Mirror's Edge: Catalyst · E3 2016
Q3 Mighty No. 9 · Inside & Shadow of the Beast · The Technomancer · Furi & Song of the Deep · I Am Setsuna · Headlander & Quadrilateral Cowboy · Quake · No Man's Sky · Grow Up · Deus Ex: Mankind Divided · Metroid Prime: Federation Force · The Curious Expedition & Mother Russia Bleeds · ReCore
Q4 Capcom Five · Clustertruck & Lichtspeer · Paper Mario: Color Splash · Mafia III · Gears of War 4 · PlayStation VR · Battlefield 1 · Titanfall 2 vs Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare · Dishonored 2 · WATCH DOGS 2 · Final Fantasy XV · The Last Guardian
2017
Q1 Top 5 Games of 2016 · Let It Die · Dead Rising 4 · Hitman · Gravity Rush 2 · Resident Evil 7 · Yakuza 0 · Nioh · For Honor · Nintendo Switch & Breath of the Wild · Horizon Zero Dawn · Nier Automata · Ghost Recon Wildlands
Q2 Mass Effect Andromeda · Yooka-Laylee · Persona 5 · Remastered Editions · Outlast 2 · Sniper: Ghost Warrior 3 · Prey · Wilson's Heart

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