Going into Metal Gear Survive, I could not help but have the mindset of “series creator Hideo Kojima is gone, and Konami will ruin the series without him.” After all, the breakup was very public and rumor has it the separation was less than amicable. Needless to say, I went in with a sour taste in my mouth.
I began to become pleasantly surprised once I began, however. I found the introduction to be enthralling, and the way my character was introduced into the game was incredible. After sharpening the look of my avatar and naming it, I was thrust into the shoes of a dead soldier. that’s right; I make my debut in a coffin, meeting my dismal end during the fall of mother base.
I then began the gameplay. I began to become disappointed after less than five minutes. What I had hoped wouldn’t happen, happened. The game turned into another mindless zombie survival title. I began to question why I even needed to spend more time with the game. I did and found the game to be a blast yet again, which again turned to repetitiveness.
Make no mistake; Konami sent a clear message that this was not a Metal Gear Solid sequel, and they did a great job in explaining what type of game this would be. I think that because the name “Metal Gear” was in the title, that there would be certain benchmarks that were met.
At that point, I changed my mindset, and all was right with the world. This is Zombie survival set in the Metal Gear universe, just like Hyrule Warriors is Dynasty Warriors set in the Legend of Zelda universe.
Metal Gear Survive takes place between Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes and Metal Gear Solid V. It’s a spin-off where Mother Base, the central operations home of Diamond Dogs (of which Solid Snake is a member of) has fallen and most of its personnel have fallen with it. Following this catastrophic event a strange wormhole opens up, taking everything with it. Your character, being revived from the dead, is sent to this alternate dimension to bring peace back to the world.
The game uses the Fox engine, which means controls, visuals and frame rate feel and look almost identical to MGSV, which is a good thing. In addition, because Metal Gear Survive takes place in the same universe, a lot of the game assets from Metal Gear Solid V, it puts out some familiarity to a desolate world.
The audio in the game is exactly what’s to be expected from a Metal Gear game. The gun sounds are thick, with a lot of low end to them, making them feel and sound like there’s a real battle going on. The familiar alert sound is, of course, always there.
I can’t stress enough; the area of opportunity in this game is repetition. Had there been more variety in enemies, in game-play and other facets, or had the game been shorter (the campaign clocks in at around 20 hours), Metal Gear Survive probably would have kept me interested through the entirety. Don’t get me wrong, it takes 20 hours to tell the story, but I would have accepted setbacks in the story for a shorter campaign that doesn’t feel drawn out.
Then there’s the multiplayer portion of Metal Gear Survive; it’s fantastic. As I stated above, the game feels very repetitive during single player, but the same elements that make up single player flourish during multiplayer. I found the co-dependence of your team to hold my interest immensely. I’ve always relied on my squad to help me up when I’m down, to cover me when under fire and chat, but in Metal Gear Survive I had to make sure to do all of that as well as make sure they were getting enough food, vitamins, medicine, etc. I had to truly help my friends. The multi-player aspect plays out like a game of base defense. You build the base and keep it safe while waves of wanderers attack it in an attempt to make sure a kuban energy drill can find it’s intended materials. This sounds like a short and tacked on portion and that may be the case, but it’s executed well.
Metal Gear Survive is an interesting experience and it proves to have been a good first effort by Konami’s Production Studio 8, so it’s worth renting first. With a little bit of polish and more thoughtful game-play, the game could have been able to hold it’s own against other games in the Metal Gear series, but with it’s inconsistent and repetitive game-play, Metal Gear Survive just couldn’t seem to justify the time and effort needed to complete the game.