Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes

Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes Features for PS4

On: PS4Xbox OneXbox 360PS3PC
Review Verdict Read Review
8Out of 10
Back to game info
Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes screenshot
Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes screenshot

I was 13 when ISS Pro 98 came out. Its release introduced a new – and very pressing – pressure into my young life, in a decade that had also foisted 911, curtain haircuts and fucking Oasis upon me. The first update in the legendary sports series wasn't just an excellent game in its own right. It also contained a demo for the original Metal Gear Solid, and I had to have that demo.

I'd been reading about MGS for months beforehand, as magazine after magazine fell over themselves to lavish yet more praise on it. This was the era of Smash Hits-style, hyperactive, over-the-top and totally radical reporting of games, so you can only imagine the convoluted superlatives the editors had to come up with to make this seem like the Actual Best Thing Ever, having already constantly jizzed over, well, everything. They did their job well. I was hyped. And besides, this did look special.

I had no money to buy ISS Pro, and Christmas was too far away to wait. The sum total of the cash that I had (not had spare, just had) was five English pounds, which I should have used to keep me in GamesMaster magazines and other nonsense for the foreseeable future.

And then, by stroke of luck, a chance to play MGS. A friend's older brother had bought ISS Pro 98 and not much cared for the demo. He was willing to sell it to me for ten pounds. Negotiations were tense. It was like transfer deadline day, except things were actually happening in this small playground in Cambridgeshire (the prevalence of tracksuit bottomed-people in the discussions was probably the same). After begging and borrowing the extra dollar, I had the demo. And I couldn't have been happier. The demo and its 'value', to me, had far outstripped the amount I paid. Even though the demo was just the first area, I tooled around in it for hours, never again considering the money I'd spent – more than I even had, after all.

My friend and his brother knew what they were doing by setting that price, just the same as Konami knows what it is doing now. It knows that it can make some easy cash from selling what amounts to a very small chunk of the game at an inflated price point. It knows that people will pay for it. Which seems absurdly cynical, and is, in a lot of ways. Billing Ground Zeroes as a game in and of itself is a risky move, and may come back to bite the publisher on the ass. But the only way anyone gets burned here is if Konami doesn't deliver. And it always has.

I was 16 in 2001, when Zone of the Enders came out. Not that anyone cared much about ZOE – instead, all eyes were on the bundled MGS2 demo. It was a £40 preview with a game attached as far as I cared.

I now had a part-time job, and could afford to buy the game without going cap in hand to my parents. But, at £40, it would represent a significant chunk of my earnings. I didn't care. MGS2 was the biggest event in gaming, ever. That E3 demo had purportedly caused grown men to cry, and knowing the industry I believe that. Magazines ran with VHS tapes stuck to the cover with footage of that presentation. The Superlative Generator was cranked out again. The hype wasn't a wave, it was a tsunami.

Like before, getting hold of the demo early meant there were negotiations involved. My local indie game shop almost always broke the street date. ZOE was in 2 days early, on a Wednesday. Sometimes the owner of the shop would only sell games that broke the street date under the counter, for fear of reprisals. I talked him into selling it early. I had my hands on MGS2.

Again, it didn't disappoint. I played ZOE for the sum total of about 2 hours before deciding it wasn't for me. I never felt like I'd been fleeced. I'd played (what turned out to be the best bit of) MGS2 for hours on end. I'd shot the ice cubes, and the TV, and the magazines. I'd even indulged in the rather sadistic minigame put forward by PSM2 Mag, where you shoot guards in the legs and then they have to race down the hall to try and find you. I was happy. Maybe mentally ill, but happy. Again, the value outstripped the cost, by some considerable distance.

I'm sure there's a good chance I'll also be pleased with Ground Zeroes. The difference between this and the other two examples, of course, is that there's no other game attached to make up the 'value'. If GZ stinks, then there won't be anything else to fall back on.

Which has worried some, who wonder how Konami has the gall to charge around 30 quid for a supposed 2-hour run time. For these people, 2 hours is not enough. For me, provided that it's excellent and has a high degree of replayability, I say that it's not only enough, but it's also nowhere near the actual time you'll spend playing it.

Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes screenshot

In every MGS demo/preview so far, there's been a multitude of ways to get through it, and more importantly there's been another hundred or so things to see or do, from toying with the guards to just messing around with the physics. Sure, you could just run through the demo. But why? I could say the same for any game that's supposedly got more 'value'. Some of the best experiences in gaming are shorter than the average. Equating length with quality or value for money is how we end up with shit like Final Fantasy XIII and the 'oh it gets good 20 hours in' brigade.

I'll be 29 when Ground Zeroes comes out, and I'll buy it. Not just because of some blind loyalty to the franchise, but because Konami and Kojima know how to create some of the most interactive, aesthetically pleasing worlds in gaming. And I'd rather pay 30 quid to knock about in one of those for a few hours than 40 to slog another 8 hours through most others.

New stuff to check out


To add your comment, please login or register

User Comments

Krypher's Avatar


Posted 18:35 on 03 March 2014
BreakAtmo's Avatar


@alphafour I think what you mean to say is "As soon as other companies see GZ perform well in the sales, it will be a signal to them that they can pull the same sly move and then their overpriced previews will completely fail to sell because they aren't Metal Gear Solid." MGS games have wonderful quality and high replay value. The inevitable attempts by greedy companies to copy the GZ idea will crash and burn.
Posted 05:20 on 17 February 2014
epilifalerav's Avatar


Good :)
Posted 22:32 on 08 February 2014
IronMit's Avatar


As a long time MGS fan and a cheapskate, I value this at about £15. A quick hukd search and I can pre-order it for £22-25.

Many MGS game's go back to the drawing board and re-invent themselves. The clips I have seen confirm this should be happening again. This is way more expensive to produce then the annual incremental upgrades other games do. I am happy to pay a bit more and support Kojima and his team.

However I don't see many people sharing my views. So it Kind of 'does matter' it's only 2hours...for Konami's bottom line.
Posted 21:31 on 08 February 2014
Evenon's Avatar


Ok, but where's the full length game that comes with the demo? I'd gladly pay $40 for Ground Zeroes and mid-level game like the new Castlevania.
Posted 06:11 on 07 February 2014
Jesus_Phish's Avatar


I'd pay about a tenner for it. So until it gets reduced to that price or it goes free on PS+ I won't buy it. €50 on the PS4 for a 2 hour game isn't worth it.
Posted 22:17 on 05 February 2014
alphafour's Avatar


I would say £15-£20 is what I would value this game.. sorry.. PREVIEW. That's all it really is. It's like Gran Turismo Prologue I don't remember those games being full price weren't they £30 instead of £40?

I'm voting with my wallet on this one. As soon as other companies see GZ perform well in the sales, it will be a signal to them that they can pull the same sly move and the whole of gaming will be worse off because of it.
Posted 21:48 on 05 February 2014


The ZOE comparison isn't really a fair one though... You may have spent your time with that package playing the demo, but the fact is you still had a £40 game on top of it. A demo shouldn't cost the same amount as a main release, and I think a lot of people who buy Ground Zeroes without doing a bit of research are gonna be very disappointed.
Posted 19:57 on 05 February 2014
BritishWolf's Avatar


I completely agree here Steve. I don't really care how long it is. As long as its eventually on my PS4 and I'm playing it myself, I'm happy. I'll settle for paying 40 quid for a taster to a game that will probably be another year or more of waiting for it to release
Posted 19:20 on 05 February 2014


The lenght of the Game isn't the main Problem, its the Price they ask for it. And when I pay 40 bucks for a Game I expect more to get out of it then that.

Its just a Demo, and thats is all good, you can do that. But asking such a high price for it is silly. I can do much, much more with that Money.
Posted 16:16 on 05 February 2014
Curt580's Avatar


As much as I love MGS, £20-£40 is just not worth it for a 2 hour experience.
Posted 15:45 on 05 February 2014

Game Stats

Release Date: 21/03/2014
Developer: Kojima Productions
Publisher: Konami
Genre: Unknown
Rating: TBC
Site Rank: 498 12
View Full Site