Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes – Impressions
Of all the game series that I’ve never attempted to get into, the Metal Gear Solid series has always seemed the most daunting. I remember as a wee lad that a friend of mine owned Metal Gear Solid on the PS1 and we’d try to play through the first level but we’re stupid kids and didn’t understand what being sneaky meant (We were really stupid kids). After a few dozen tries, we would inevitably get bored and play something a little more kid-friendly like Tekken 3 (Yoshimitsu is the best BTW). This encounter with Solid Snake (I refuse to stop giggling about that name) turned me off to the whole MGS series as whole, so much so I’m not even sure I’m meant to say the Solid part of its name or if I’m making some huge faux pas.
Well with all the good press that Phantom Pain has started to see from the games press, I decided now would be a good time to try my hand at the only MGS game I owned, Ground Zeroes. Having been made available on PS+ I dutifully added the game to my digital library then promptly forgot about it. With all the growing hype, I decided to bite the 4GB download and get round to playing an MGS game for myself as a vaguely intelligent adult.
So what did I think? Well, honestly I’m not sure.
The game opens gorgeous looking cutscene that set the tone of the game perfectly. Here was an American army black site that had clearly been used to torture various undesirables, including one boy with a headphone jack plugged into his chest. Clearly this game was going to be visiting some dark places. Then a bloke who looks like Red Skull started doing clandestine shit, before getting on a helicopter and having his men hand in the incriminating patches of their organisation (What was the point of making those sodding patches if you just lob them out of helicopter? Waste of money that is) It was here that we first get to lay eyes on Big Boss himself (or is he Snake? Honestly MGS lore is mind boggling) and the game began.
The first thing I accidently did was to shuffle off a cliff, then began trying to work out what to do before having Snake just let go of the cliff and plunge into oblivion. Clearly I needed to learn the games controls. After a few minutes of getting to grips with what did what (In which time I alerted 3 guards by firing an unsuppressed weapon).
I restarted the mission and began sneaking in earnest. My time playing Batman and Splinter Cell was useless, as when I crept up on some poor bloke I took him in a choke hold and then ordered him to call his mates to watch his unceremonious demise. As I tried to work out what was the “Murder the guy you are whispering sweet nothings to” button was his friend came across the snuggle struggle and promptly raised the alarm. Bugger.
I restarted once more, this time making a B-line for the parked truck that seemed to be waiting for something. I hopped in the back of the truck, the driver got in and proceeded to drive me into the middle of the heavily guarded base. I was spotted immediately and a firefight quickly ensued, a firefight I lost as I found I had accidently replaced all the ammo for my gun with smoke grenades that Snake refused to let go of.
Back to the start I went, this time I got into the truck but got out before I could be spotted and managed to get all the way to the small cassette loving child who had clearly turned feral and which required a fully grown adult to choke him unconscious. Dodgy symbolism aside, I managed to pick up the boy and started to make my way to an evac point where I could hopefully give this kid back to his parents. Here I came across another issue with the inventory system, I needed to use a smoke signal to call in the evac chopper but the game neither did this automatically or told me where the smoke signals were. After a while of fumbling about I managed to find them in my inventory (I also found night vision goggles which were neat). Here I was given the option of evacuating myself as well as the boy, but leaving another prisoner to rot in prison, or go find the poor woman. I did the former, it was getting late.
That was my first day playing Ground Zeroes* and I find the game fun, I also found it had many of the same quirks that had once scared the 7-year-old me from MGS in the first place. I’m sure to revisit the game over the next few days so watch this space.
*Also Ground Zeroes is a fucking stupid name! Called it Ground Zero you fucking bellend #Fuckonami