The Metal Gear game series has always been a staple of the stealth action genre. But in recent years many gamers, even hardcore fans, noticed that while the games were groundbreaking in terms of storytelling and world-building, they became more and more lacking in the actual gameplay department. Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes is here to fix that.
While serving as a pseudo testing ground for the new chapter in the saga - the upcoming Phantom Pain — Ground Zeroes can actually hold its own. It's a lot more than a technical demo. It has its own genuinely good gameplay and story. Once again, you play as Snake and infiltrate a secret base in order to complete your mission. The only difference is that the base is actually there. It's a small open world environment where you may proceed in any way you see fit. You can go through heavily guarded areas or sneak past on the shoreline. You can come out guns blazing and it would not be an automatic fail, or you can slip in unnoticed. Luckily, this time around gunplay has become up to date with easy targeting system and fluent combat mechanics. It's downright enjoyable to fire a gun or punch someone in the face. Modern camera system finally lets you operate with full awareness of your surroundings. And additions to gameplay such as reflex mode, which allows you to react fast to an enemy noticing you and silence him before an alarm is raised, make the new Metal Gear a fun ride.
The story, however, feels a bit lacking. It's very short, and if you play it for cutscenes and dialogues, then you only have about 10 to 20 minutes of it. But is would be unfair to say that the game is too short. It was intended for freeplay, exploring the base and completing various side missions, finding secrets and participating in competitions. Secrets and bonuses gained actually help at world-building and set a stage for Phantom Pain, and challenges included even let you change the conditions at the base slightly — like playing during daytime instead of night and having missions to save or kill specific targets.
All in all, Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes is a fun, if a bit short, ride that helps you get an impression of what the future of Metal Gear will be.