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Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes is certainly shiny, but where has the soul gone?

Friday, 14th March 2014 08:12 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes takes the patented Kojima formula and polishes it until it shines – leaving it with a slick, frictionless surface, punctuated by jagged spikes of shock content. Brenna’s not sure how to feel.

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MGS 5: Ground Zeroes

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Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes is not the full MGS5. It is a prologue, and a tutorial, for the full game – Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain.

Ground Zeroes exists to give fans something to chew on while Kojima Productions labours over its first true next-gen release. It is cheaper than a full game. Nevertheless, Koijipro expects you to get a full game’s value out of it.

Ground Zeroes hits PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One on March 18 in North America and March 20 in Europe. Do your eyeballs a favour and get a next-gen version – although the more humble consoles offer lower price tags.

Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes is a feat of technical wizardry. Kojima Productions doesn’t do nearly enough talking about its new Fox Engine – not near as much as Epic, Square Enix and Crytek do – and I don’t have the knowledge or the language to explain what makes it so brilliant. Happily, you’ll only need a minute or two in-game to be completely au fait – the water, the lights, the animations, the physics, the silky frame rate are immediately apparent. It’s probably the best-looking and smoothest game I’ve played or seen on PS4 so far.

In my demo, I was tasked with breaking into a military compound to rescue Chico and Paz, characters who ought to be familiar to series fans as they were prominent cast members in Peace Walker (a game franchise creator Hideo Kojima once described as “Metal Gear Solid 5″; if you haven’t played it, correct this oversight). The action began with – what else? – a lengthy and very cinematic cutscene, “filmed” from a strange perspective – a free-floating camera that hung about at eye-level but never looked straight at whatever you were most interested in. Kojima’s been watching too many French films, I’d say.

In the course of this cutscene we met the antagonist – or rather, what we believe to be the antagonist now, but this is Metal Gear, so god knows what we’ll think 12 hours in (“I’m confused,” most likely). Our hero, Snake, is the leader of Fox, a freelance army-for-hire, and its rivals are the dastardly Xof.

Xof. Yes, Fox backwards. Its logo is the same as Fox’s, but facing the other direction. “This is definitely a Metal Gear game,” I said to my PR minder, who politely didn’t immediately kick me out for being cheeky.

Xof is led by Skull Face, a dude with a serious skin condition, bless him, but Snake didn’t have to deal with him, because he flew off in a fleet of helicopters to inspect Mother Base, the abandoned oil platform home you spent all of Peace Walker laboriously upgrading. Snake and Fox decided to use this opportunity to sneak in and rescue Paz and Chico, who were captured because – hang on, let me check the in-game briefings… oh you know what, come on, let’s just go choke some guys.

When Snake appears at the start of the game, he removes his mask and says “kept you waiting, huh?”, which is an in-joke. The difference between this and other in-jokes in the series to date is that it’s not funny. There’s no reason for Snake to say it at that point, because he has not kept the guy on the radio waiting in any way. He says it because we’re playing a Metal Gear game, and that’s how they start. If you’re a really intense fan, you’ll hopefully squeal with delight. If you’re only a pretty intense fan, like me, you might start to worry a bit.

The reason I started to worry is that once I got control and actually started playing, I noticed a couple of things. One: this is very clearly a MGS game, with the familiar controls, UI and sound effects you know and (hopefully) love. Two: The gameplay has evolved considerably, taking lessons from modern stealth titles while maintaining the core MGS gameplay loop. Three: it’s not funny. More on that later.

Hideo Kojima discusses the making of Ground Zeroes.

I really enjoyed playing Ground Zeroes. It’s wonderful how many of the franchise’s rough patches have been smoothed away. The perspective no longer feels unnaturally caught between top-down and over-the-shoulder; Metal Gear Solid 4′s camera issues were, for me, one of its greatest weaknesses, and that’s all been rectified. Loading times when you restart a checkpoint are delightfully brief. Codec conversations are short, and take place while you’re playing (welcome to the future where the future is about 2005 I guess).

Kojipro seems to have rid itself entirely of soliton radar and other HUD visualisation devices like the sound detector, in favour of pure sensory stealth – you look, and you listen, and you bloody well hope you’re getting it right. To make things easier, you can use the binoculars to tag enemies. They stay on your map permanently then – your map that does not pause the game when you look at it, by the way, and takes up your entire field of view – but also outlines them in glowing auras that show through walls, ala Far Cry 3. It seemed like you could only see them through walls if they’re moving or very close, though, so it doesn’t make it super easy – especially as patrols are cleverly designed to maximise your chances of making a terrible mistake. It’s sort of a visual representation of Snake’s senses and trained instincts, which are much better than yours, Mr “a twig snapped I think the enemy has gone away NOPE HE IS BEHIND ME SHIT FUCK JESUS CHRIST RUN”.

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Here’s the iDroid map, blocking your view.

You can view this on a Vita, tablet or smartphone, thankfully.

When you do have to run, it’s best to have a plan, as the enemy are much better at taking you out than in previous games, and Snake can take far fewer hits. The various tasks I had to complete took place in a map that felt much too large when I was picking my way across it, and instantly claustrophobic every time I found myself in a jam. It adds up to a tense and challenging stealth experience, but one that feels fair once you learn the rules, and immensely rewarding when you get it right. Gunplay isn’t dreadful when it all goes shit-shaped, either, which is a relief.

As ever, the wonderful sandbox-style approach means you have loads of infiltration options. You can ghost it; tranquillise the guards; get in close to stun them; or even kill them. Again, as ever, exploration yields more resources in support of different play styles, like more ammo. I can really see myself having a ball running even this one mission multiple times, finding the optimal strategies.

Even from my few hours with it, I can see Ground Zeroes has been thoroughly polished; no corners have been cut. I had a great time running around exploring the base, capping fools and slipping through the shadows, and I absolutely would not hesitate to recommend the gameplay, nor to praise the wonderful things Kojipro has done with the PS4 (I haven’t seen any other builds, unfortunately).

Click through to the next page for the less fun parts.

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42 Comments

  1. mithrandir

    The strange pricing policy seems to contradict Kojima’s favor for the current-gen consoles. The PS3 version is 33% cheaper than its current-gen cousin, AND gets you a free version of Peace Walker HD. So, my choices now are: pay more, get less, OR pay less, and miss out on that fabled Fox Engine.

    Both are sub-optimal offerings in my book.

    #1 6 months ago
  2. Erthazus

    The game has more serious tone then before. Jokes are gone especially with the shocking things Metal Gear have now.

    #2 6 months ago
  3. Legendaryboss

    I don’t know what to respond to the fact that David Hayter presence is in fact a problem and not some elaborate Hideo Kojima Troll or the fact that its more serious. No jokes? I enjoyed the previous games jokes.

    Does it at least break the fourth wall?

    #3 6 months ago
  4. Dragon

    Except kicking Hayter out for no goddamn reason, I like what I am listening.
    Many people commit a fundamental error of misunderstanding “wars”. Well, first off, if anyone thinks CoD or any other military shooter even shows half-truth about it, they are just wrong.

    You really don’t need a reason for any stuff in things like concentration camps, warzones etc. Just think for an example, can a rational person really justify torturing, raping and killing someone, especially when they are unarmed? No.

    Obviously, for a game purpose, it may not serve the purpose well, but knowing how MGS5 as a whole will fill a gap in Big Boss’ story where his attitude changes drastically, the darker tone probably makes more sense.

    @1,
    Current gen versions also run on same engine, obviously with limitations though.

    #4 6 months ago
  5. Not The Eyes

    Was interest to see what this article said but I got to this

    “Kojima’s style has evolved since the famously dull offerings of Metal Gear Solid 2, which spawned a reputation still dogging the franchise today.”

    ..and had to stop right there, since it’s clear you have no understanding or appreciation for any of the themes of the series. MGS2 is a post-modern masterpiece, arguably one of the very few games out there with anything real and substantial to say about politics and the human condition. It’s like saying ‘the famously dull offerings of War and Peace’.

    As for the general lack of goofiness – I’m not surprised. Firstly, he’s said he wants to deal with many taboos and weighty themes which some people are scared of, and that it requires a certain tone. Secondly, if you go back and play Virtuous Mission or the Tanker Section, while they may have a few more ‘jokes’ in them, they don’t have a lot, it’s only once you get into the main game after the prologue that they start popping up often. And since GZ is the equivalent of those prologues, I’m not too worried.

    #5 6 months ago
  6. jmg24bad

    So much to say I response to this article. But I am too lazy lol. I will say though that I can understand but don’t agree. The soul was never in the jokes it was in the gameplay , and with that the soul is very much alive and thriving.

    #6 6 months ago
  7. Michael Ireland

    @Not The Eyes, Ell ooh ell @ the idea of MGS2 being a post modern masterpiece. It’s a fun game (I’m playing it right now on my Vita) but the fact that gaming treats MGS2′s story as anything but hack storytelling is depressing. It’s pretentious, poorly told, badly acted, and terribly directed.

    I think people are so desperate for any sort of decent story in gaming that they’ll take anything that even tries as a masterpiece. Just because someone has something to say doesn’t mean they say it well. Brenna’s point is entirely valid.

    #7 6 months ago
  8. Not The Eyes

    @Michael Ireland Don’t be upset just because you don’t understand it/haven’t tried to understand it. That’s fine, I didn’t get it when I first played it. Watch (the whole of) this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-2YuPGYabw it may enlighten you. (it’s also gonna help if you understand all the context and backstory to the entire franchise)

    MGS2′s message(s) may be told in a strange and idiosyncratic way, but nonetheless, they are there and pervasive throughout the marketing, story, gameplay and context.

    #8 6 months ago
  9. Erthazus

    @Michael Ireland That’s not true. MGS2 was indeed a masterpiece with great storytelling in a videogame. Acting was also superb. Game had incredible depth in to the story elements and don’t forget for the awesome occultism and sci-fi references not to mention that game had incredible ideas to tell the story.

    If someone said that it is poorly told then he does not care about the story from the very beggining. I enjoyed the game’s storyline. It was interesting.

    the fact that people still talk about MGS2 to this day says A LOT about.

    #9 6 months ago
  10. Michael Ireland

    @Not The Eyes, I always have to laugh when people use the “you just don’t understand” argument.

    I understood the story just fine. I knew exactly what it was *trying* to say. My problem was in fact the exact opposite of what you just said – the game bludgeons you over the head with its “message” so forcibly and so monotonously that it treats the viewer like an idiot.

    It also breaks one of the most basic rules of storytelling. Show, don’t tell. MGS3 arguably did it better, but even that was way too hamfisted and in your face.

    My fear is MGS5 isn’t going to be much better. Using gore and brutality to say that “war is bad” is lazy, and revenge is a tedious cliche of a motivation.

    #10 6 months ago
  11. Not The Eyes

    @Michael Ireland But you clearly DON’T understand. Don’t feel bad though. You obviously don’t like much of the series anyway, so why bother even commenting here?

    What you seem to call ‘hamfisted’, is just Kojima’s style, very self-aware that these are video games, and that’s why the series has such a huge fanbase, with people still discussing theories a decade later.

    But don’t worry, we’re all VERY impressed by how below you the story of the MGS games are, you must be so clever and cultured.

    #11 6 months ago
  12. Not The Eyes

    @Michael Ireland Also, which parts specifically were too ‘hamfisted’ in elaborating on the story and themes? What was told and not shown?

    #12 6 months ago
  13. Michael Ireland

    @Not The Eyes Oh, I don’t know, the half hour long monologues that deflated half the gameplay? Especially near the end with all it’s genetics and memes bollocks.

    We have an entire section of my generation of kids whose entire moral compass is based on the waffling of Kojima in the latter third of MGS2, like it was eye opening revelatory literature or something.

    A good writer shows the impact of things to get its point across. They don’t spend 40 minutes on a single scene, with nothing but floating green heads to look at, info dumping exposition into your lap.

    You can’t say “You clearly didn’t understand” simply because I don’t agree with you. That’s a pretty lazy argument and you have nothing to back it up, and it’s also an ad hominem that is completely irrelevant to the argument about the quality of Kojima’s work.

    If you want to argue that point, tell me how the things I pointed out aren’t examples of bad storytelling. If you don’t want to argue the point, nobody is forcing you to reply to me.

    #13 6 months ago
  14. Mike W

    Grow up Brenna. ;)

    #14 6 months ago
  15. Michael Ireland

    @Not The Eyes P.S. I have an original PS2 save of MGS2 with every dog-tag in the game on it.

    I love the series. That doesn’t mean I’m not capable of being critical of its flaws. The stories are fun in an utterly ridiculous, completely off its rocker sort of way, and Kojima’s flair for lunacy is entertaining. But holy shit are they pretentious as all fucking hell. 90% of his ideas and scenes are just ripped from other movies.

    This idea that you can’t like something without criticising it blows my mind. Nothing is perfect. MGS2 especially.

    #15 6 months ago
  16. Panthro

    @Michael Ireland

    All you seem to do these days is complain about shit.

    Stop whining, I’m bored of it and I definitely can’t be the only one.

    #16 6 months ago
  17. Not The Eyes

    @Michael Ireland I’ll address your concerns one by one.

    Kojima’s style using long codec monologues is just hat, his style – I’m perfectly happy if you don’t dig that, but that’s not what you said. Also, saying just “genetics and memes” is a pretty good indicator that you’ve missed some of the point, or at the very least, conflated MGS1’s themes with 2.

    It’s pretty preposterous that you think a section of a generation of kids have their moral compass entirely directed by Kojima, that’s hyperbole if I ever heard it – also not sure how it’s relevant. And again, implying Kojima’s work is pretentious/without substance, without explaining why is also profoundly unhelpful.

    You’re also very wrong if you think there’s any scene in any MGS game, let alone 2, where it’s just the codec screen. When large revelatory parts of the story are being revealed Kojima regularly uses other footage, referential material and video. Additionally, as that video that you clearly didn’t watch showed, the game itself in the gameplay, easter eggs and visual style all relates, hints at and betrays the plot and themes – it’s not just exposition dump, because it become clear that it’s all interrelated.

    Everything you’ve said so far suggests that not only did you not understand the bulk of MGS2, but that you barely even remember the story/how it played out – that or you didn’t notice the relevant things.

    If you don’t like long cutscenes, don’t play MGS games, and don’t comment on this article. But just because you don’t like that style, doesn’t mean these games are pretentious.

    #17 6 months ago
  18. Joe Musashi

    Two things:

    1) http://www.deltaheadtranslation.com/MGS2/DOTM_TOC.htm
    One of the most exhaustive appraisals of MGS2 I ever read. Truly opened my eyes to just how much that game was saying. Essential reading.

    2) Nanomachines, son.

    JM

    #18 6 months ago
  19. Michael Ireland

    @Panthro The only reason you say this is because you don’t pay any attention to the positive things I post. I post positive remarks on stories all the time. I can’t help it if the things being discussed in the media are things I just so happen to have a critical opinion on.

    @Not The Eyes, It “being his style” doesn’t make it good.

    Kojima himself has fully admitted that those old approaches are outdated when being interviewed for MGS5. The problem is that his game design is about 7 years behind everyone else’s. MGS5 is only just now catching up to trends that existed since the beginning of the last generation of hardware.

    MGS5 looks to be doing a lot of things well on the game design front. But if the plot threads I’ve heard so far are anything to go by, the plot is going to be the same old pretentious garbage. Shock value only works when it’s used sparingly, and Kojima isn’t exactly known for using anything sparingly.

    #19 6 months ago
  20. Not The Eyes

    @Michael Ireland It’s called subjectivity, meaning that many people do find that style good, and again, that certainly doesn’t detract from the substance of the themes and story – you’ll find many pieces of deep analysis, some posted in this thread.

    But anyway, with your comments on game design and MGS5, I’m starting to see that we’re probably never going to see eye-to-eye anyway, cos you’re the sort of person who’s praising the new regenerating health mechanic etc.

    What Kojima has acknowledged, is that things change – but that’s the most important thing in understanding MGS2 – the context of it’s release, the hype, the marketing and that early 2000s era. If you can’t disentangle the themes and substance of MGS2 even after having read/watched some of the analysis, then I’m truly sorry, because I want everyone to enjoy that stuff. But purely calling Kojima pretentious, without properly explaining the finer points of that conclusion, just makes you look miserable and confused. By all means, hate Kojimas style – it’s not for everyone – but don’t be so reductive about the story and Kojima.

    #20 6 months ago
  21. Michael Ireland

    @Not The Eyes Yes, many people do find the style good. Many people also don’t.

    It’s called subjectivity.

    And by that observation you’ve made your original complaint towards Brenna redundant.

    #21 6 months ago
  22. Not The Eyes

    @Michael Ireland Except no, because her comments betray a lack knowledge about both the game, and the way it was/has been recieved.

    #22 6 months ago
  23. Joe Musashi

    Oh, one more thing:

    http://i4.minus.com/jjFmwPotkbkOK.png

    JM

    #23 6 months ago
  24. Cathodeo

    I know that it won’t be very popular when I say this but I have to agree with Michael Ireland on this one. I’m grateful that he took the time to explain his argument thoroughly because at the start of this discussion I wasn’t sure that I did agree.

    Look, at the end of the day gamers and people in general either will or won’t like the style. The best that anyone can do in this forum is to state the reasoning behind their opinion and that way we’re all good.

    #24 6 months ago
  25. Mike W

    Again for fans that have been following the series since the NES days, know for a fact that the MGS serious always had a serious tone to them, regardless of the humorous themes that were present in some of the titles. It’s pretty hard for anyone to overlook those who played the these games.

    I don’t agree with “Brenna’s opinion”, I think it’s short sighted and somewhat foolish on how she views the MGS series as whole. I really want to write a wall of text, but what’s the point?

    #25 6 months ago
  26. YoungZer0

    Hideo has finally grown up? Sounds good to me.

    The biggest problem of MGS was always it’s lack of focus. Huge boobs here, pants shitting mercs there, gigantic robots, cyborg ninjas, talk about military and politics and all of that with a straight face.

    It was just absurd. I understand what you’re saying Brenna, it’s lack of direction was part of it’s charm, but I’m glad they are finally focusing on a more serious tone. Even if it turns out to be ham-fisted at least it’s not as absurd anymore and you can show it to people not familiar with the series without turning red.

    Also I agree with Michael, as much as I love some of the directing in MGS2 (intro to Big Shell and Tanker), it has a terrible story. It’s not complex, it’s convoluted and quite frankly fucking dumb.

    #26 6 months ago
  27. Bomba Luigi

    The strange thing about MGS for me is kinda that MGS4 exists. That Game was a great End for a Series, MGS is acutally a Franchies that has an End that I really, really like and thought it was just perfect (not that it answered all Question or anything like that, but it still was a perfect ending for me).

    But Series kinda keeps going on, which is confusing. Scramming more Story inbetween the existing Story just so it can keep on going somehow, its really strange.

    #27 6 months ago
  28. Panthro

    Yawn.

    #28 6 months ago
  29. Not The Eyes

    @YoungZer0 haha

    why can’t i hold all this pleb?

    Because the absence of absurd elements = serious grown-up art, right? Jeez.

    Also, pro-tip: convoluted and complex are not mutually exclusive. No one would deny that MGS games are convoluted.

    But seriously, I do really feel sorry for those who either didn’t get it, or haven’t even tried to understand it. You’re really missing out!

    #29 6 months ago
  30. Michael Ireland

    @Not The Eyes, But we do get it. We just don’t find it particularly compelling in a narrative sense.

    Subjectivity, son!

    #30 6 months ago
  31. BeenThere_DoneThat

    I have seen the scene and honestly it ain’t shocking or even original. But that maybe the effect of months long of hyping. And

    #31 6 months ago
  32. YoungZer0

    @Bomba Luigi

    Seriously, a perfect ending?

    The wedding in the hangar, the Cyborg Ninja getting an awkward family hug scene, the reappearance of Big Boss (because Nano-machines (plot-device)), you thought all of that is a good ending?

    That’s what I mean by immature, if Hideo would’ve had the balls, he would’ve killed off Snake in that microwave thing. Everyone would’ve honored Snake, as he fought with his last breath to finish off the ai.

    That would’ve been the perfect ending.

    Not that childish, embarrassing, fan-pleasing, never-ending-bullshit.

    #32 6 months ago
  33. CharlesLupula

    First off, I’m a bit annoyed that it hasn’t been made very clear in many places that the free Peace Walker is in Europe only.

    Second, as someone who absolutely loves the series (I still believe MGS3 is the greatest game ever made) and has had many arguments with Michael over the series, I agree that MGS2 is a giant weak point of the series. When people accused MGS4 of having 1 minute of gameplay for every 40 minutes of cutscene, I know they’ve either never played it and are only listening to their friends or they played MGS2, which truly did feel like that. Plus, without the fixing that MGS3 and Peace Walker did, MGS2 is a giant mess of a story. It’s why it’s one of those franchises I recommend people play in chronological order, because without all the bandages Kojima put on later, MGS2 is awful.

    #33 6 months ago
  34. Michael Ireland

    @CharlesLupula 3 for me was the strongest. That’s when Kojima actually managed to get the balance right. Tonnes of gameplay, and just the right amount of crazy silliness.

    (except for that end part where The Boss prattles on about how patriotism is evil and war is bad and so on and so forth for over half an hour.)

    #34 6 months ago
  35. ps4fanboy

    Spoiler alert!
    Hideo Kojima returns in the game as an Intel agent in one of the extra ops mission.

    #35 6 months ago
  36. GregSolidus

    @Legendaryboss He does when he says “kept you waiting, huh?”. I’m not really sure how much humor the writer was expecting to find in a 30 minute prologue set in Guantanamo Bay.

    #36 6 months ago
  37. GregSolidus

    1. Big Boss leads Militaires Sans Frontières, not FOX (which needs to be fully capitalized just like XOF).
    2. Diarrhea jokes are what makes a series involving clones, nuclear annihilation by giant robot, and guys who make you’re controller vibrate through psychokinesis unique?

    #37 6 months ago
  38. GregSolidus

    @GregSolidus your*

    #38 6 months ago
  39. JAMBO4170

    Well I’m not worrying too much, was hardly expecting too much depth in such a short experience. The Phantom Pain is where you will find the answers to your worries or doubts about emotional depth

    #39 6 months ago
  40. GEMAgems

    Well Kojima has said (on this site no less) that he was taking a “riskier” approach to story telling: “prioritizing creativity over sales”. I think this is the natural progression for this arm of the story. This is the Darth Vader story of a young idealist turned warmonger. It was set up in Metal Gear Solid 3, which had a relatively dark ending: A young soldier finds he isn’t a hero, but a cog in the war machine. I’m more than happy to see where this goes. As for Keifer Sutherland taking over. After playing Peace Walker this week, I noticed it felt very “Japanimation”. Meaning it felt out of touch with the times (think the re-dub of Akira). Hayter’s grumbling Snake just took me out of the story, and is laughably arcane. Kojima set all of this up going in. This is a story of revenge and the evil of men. Big Boss becomes BIG BOSS the bad guy of Metal Gear. I expect a rough, sad, and horrifying journey

    #40 5 months ago
  41. TheWulf

    It sounds like they’ve exchanged the personality for cheap shock horror along the lines of No Russian. What a shame. Though that’s exactly what I was expecting from everything I’d seen of it thus far.

    I remember the first MG:S, too. It was very satirical, it was a parody-ish dramedy in how it presented itself. Just the balance of it was wholly sublime, and I invite anyone to go back and play it now, as I have, to see that. What makes me sad is the continual implication that we’re all a bit thick, that even Hideo believes this, now. Instead of the approach of meaningful topics presented with humour, so it makes you laugh and think, it’s just so unashamedly in your face (very much IN YO FACE</i) about it.

    It has all the subtlety of a drunken cockney at an elocution class. It's clumsy, and ugly, and it doesn't really care about rubbing its message all over your face. Even Spec Ops: The Line was more subtle than that.

    And that's the key word: Subtlety.

    Metal Gear: Solid had subtlety in spades. Like you said, Brenna, it knew it was a game. It knew it was dealing with serious subject matter, and that if it didn't present that properly, all it would serve to do is make people so sick and depressed that they wouldn't play the game. So, instead, MG:S was a subtle, clever parody, always skirting around the issues and making you think about them for yourself, rather than ever ramming them in your face.

    It was a quality very, very few games have had. The Fallout series is a fantastic example of this, in that it's had meaningful themes presented in a light-hearted way but with darker undertones. At first, you chuckle, and then it settles in and percolates, it digs deep into your brain and you begin to be able to see it from all angles — and you've seen something from another perspective. It was something that could invade the mind of anyone.

    And that's what the best things do, they subtly point out things and let you put the pieces together for yourself. That's what Metal Gear: Solid did so artfully, slipping in bits here and there, between the jokes, the gags, and the silliness. That's what made it a genuinely mature game, not a “mature” one. I’d say that this looks like a “mature” game, by comparison. Designed for an audience so oblivious that they’re unable to cogitate anything that isn’t thrust upon them, forcefully.

    And that’s kind of depressing, honestly. I miss the subtlety and cleverness of how the Metal Gear games used to be. I was delighted, however, to see that Platinum brought a good dose of that back with Revengeance. The main aspect of Revengeance is whether those on the field of war really had a choice as to whether they’re there or not, whether they were suckered into it, whether they felt they had no choice. And it handled the topics surrounding that (even including definitions of free will, personal nature, and freedom) like a pro. It was beautiful.

    It’s like Platinum understands how the Metal Gear games are supposed to work, but Hideo’s just completely lost his way. He’s become enamoured with big budget, schlocky shock horror films, designed to make you puke more than think. And really, what a shame. What a crying shame.

    Another once so subtle and insightful developer lost to the homogeneity. Making money from the lowest common denominator rules above all else.

    #41 5 months ago
  42. TheWulf

    Ooops. Broke the tags again. Oh well. Too down to care about that right now.

    I just really hope that Platinum gets to make more subtle, clever, meaningful Metal Gear games.

    #42 5 months ago

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