Ground Zeroes, prologue to upcoming Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, is filled with choices. Do you go in loud or sneak through quietly? Kill guards from a distance or interrogate them first? Save the prisoners or leave them to rot?
Set in 1975, you play as Big Boss, off to infiltrate
Camp X-Ray Omega in Guantanamo Bay. Kojima wastes no time in getting to political criticism with his “pseudo-historical recreation”. In one corner of the camp, prisoners languish in cages barely big enough to stand in, eating meals served in dog bowls. Your job is to find two specific prisoners and get them to safety. If you”re sneaky enough (or you”ve successfully taken out all the nearby guards) you can save all the prisoners, carrying them one-by-one to the escape chopper.
There”s no payoff for this in Ground Zeroes other than a higher score in your final mission rating. I”ve been told that decisions do carry forward to Phantom Pain, but there”s no indication on how much your game will be affected.
The stealth in Camp
X-Ray Omega is built around light and shadows. You”ll find no comedy cardboard boxes to shuffle under, no lockers to hide in. Instead, you”ll shoot out lights, or make use of rooftops and drains to avoid the guards and security cameras that are everywhere. When you do find a guard, you can slam him against a wall for a quick knockout, shoot him with your tranquilliser pistol or grab him by the throat and interrogate him for useful information. They”ll be only too happy to sell out the camp”s secrets for their own lives and it”s up to you whether you want to kill or simply incapacitate a helpful guard.
Anyone new to the series will have no trouble jumping in and you won”t need to understand the series” backstory to make sense of this adventure. Ground Zeroes” controls follow most standard shooter conventions, nbso online casino reviews unlike the MGS2 HD remake, which I played for an hour in preparation for this and will never play again.
While it”s built around stealth, you can take an action-based approach if you prefer, though that will summon every guard from halfway across the camp and give you a lower mission rating. Guards are conscientious patrollers as well. Where guards in many stealth games will get bored after 20 seconds or so, these guys will keep searching for long minutes after they”ve lost you. Causing havoc in one area can be a good way to draw them out of another, giving you plenty of time to sneak around in peace.
If you do get spotted by accident, you can usually sprint to a good hiding spot and the guards can be diligent but rather dim. In one particular mission, a guard watched me climb a watch tower with no exits and then promptly forgot that ladders exist. I spent five minutes huddled against a wall up there, watching the guards walk past in their high-alert search formations. They”re great at covering ground level but hop into a covered drain or up a tower and they”re clueless.
Completing the main story mission will earn you 9% completion of the entire game and unlock 5 new missions set in the months prior to the story. Each one takes place at the same camp but with very different goals. One short mission is essentially an on-rails shooter while another is a time trial to mark the 40 guards in the base with your binoculars as quickly as possible. The shadow-based stealth means that the daylight missions do feel significantly different to the night ones. Guards have different patrol routes and, in the assassination mission, being seen by will make your job extremely difficult.
The campaign mission may be brief and it”s all set on the one map, but the other missions make the camp feel different enough that Ground Zeroes is worth getting. It”s a large camp as well, so finding all the collectibles will keep fans busy for a while. The mission scoring system is also good incentive to try for the perfect stealthy run. Think of it as a series of training scenarios for The Phantom Pain.