It's been almost six years since the last release of any Metal Gear Solid game, leaving fans of the franchise waiting patiently for its next installment. For the die hard fans, the wait was well worth it, Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes arrived on March 18th in America, bringing you the prologue to what will be Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. But for casual Metal Gear fans or fans of espionage games in general this game just doesn't make the cut. The game is set in 1975 around the area of Cuba at a blacksite military base that is run by XOF that is being used for interrogating captured spies and soldiers. The game briefly introduces you to a horribly disfigured man known as "Skullface" who is XOF's commander. After he flies out of the base in a helicopter we finally see Snake who is voiced by Kiefer Sutherland this time, instead of David Hayter. Being that I'm used to Hayter's voice, the change was odd at first, especially since I was just imagining Jack Bauer talking.
If this is your first time in the Metal Gear Solid world, obviously this wouldn't matter to you. While the game can be fun to play, it still makes no sense. This game can obviously be added to the beginning of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain and can only make the game better. Instead, a year before the main title's release, Konami drops this game on us as if we're impatient children that need our toy right now.
The full game is broken into several mission, the most important and longest (depending how you play) is the first where you must extract two prisoners, Chico and Paz, from the base. This took me 92 minutes to do altogether, that included wandering around to explore and restarting at checkpoints after dying. Granted I could see this mission taking much longer if you wanted to find every collectible on the ground but in reality if you go in to just complete the objectives this mission can be done in about 10 minutes once you know what you're doing. There are side missions in which I had to blow up anti-air weapons, collect tapes that gave me more backstory, and rescue an operative that has a striking resemblance to the game's creator. They ran the spectrum from okay to god-awful and some just felt like fan service, not actually giving me any story or depth to the characters. Doing all of those missions, the main one included, took me about 3 hours. There's no way I can justify this game as a good purchase, even for its lower price point of $20 on past gen and $30 on current consoles.
If you're a fan of a franchise you want to see it made to the best of the devloper's abilities, and you'll allow the process to take time as long as it will because you know your are going to get a better product from it. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is not a product of the painstaking process toward perfection. It represents a company that wanted a decent earnings report this quarter. There's no reason this game couldn't be included with the release of "The Phantom Pain". Hell, being that the game is a 5GB download on Xbox One and a 4GB download on PS4 its likely both of these games could fit on the same Blu-Ray disc!
There were many reasons as to why this game was released this way, I heard "the fans don't deserve to wait til 2015" and "the controls are so different that this is the only way you can be ready for the full game when it arrives". In reality the control schematics are not hard to get used to. Sure, they are different from other Metal Gear Solid games, but not much different than other games in the genre. Every reason for why this game was made feels like an excuse to get your money, and certainly not them trying to tell a beautiful story or even add more depth to the character of Snake. This game is worth $15 bucks, at best. If you consider yourself a die-hard fan for the franchise then these words don't matter since you've already picked up your pre-ordered title. However, if you don't fall into that category then go spend your money on something that deserves it. I'm not going to even give this game a score because honestly it doesn't deserve one.