Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes Review

A superb introduction to Metal Gear Solid 5's world and systems, Ground Zeroes is at once reminiscent of the games that preceded it while also still feeling fresh and worthwhile. Combining MGS2's lack of camo (and as such a greater emphasis on using geometry to hide in) with the open areas of MGS3 and the mechanics of MGS4 (along with elements of Peace Walker), it's intelligent in its systems, beautiful in its art direction and technical accomplishments.

Set in a Guantanamo-style US black site (where, we presume, Uncle Sam tickles people until it gets the info it needs) the open play area lends itself well to demoing the key new mechanics of the game: Far Cry 3-style binocular-based enemy tagging being the most obvious change. The setting also lends itself well to repeated playthroughs. Comparisons to MGS2's Tanker section are unfounded: that was essentially linear, whereas here you have the freedom to approach your goal - rescue two POWs- in a number of ways.

In essence, it feels like a mission from an old Hitman game. Circumvent the security perimeter via a vent, or hop in the back of a flatbed truck? Kill everyone, or no-one? Listen to music on your Walkman while you interrogate people? Up to you.

It's flexible enough to enable players to come up with their own battle plans, and once Ground Zeroes is over there are five Side Ops missions (encompassing assassination, hostage extraction, espionage and more) that take place at different times of day. Again, it shows off the pliability of the world, while also giving the lighting engine a good run out. It's literally not found wanting come rain or shine.

As ever, though, it's the attention to detail that make an MGS title stand out, and this is no exception. There's a pleasing weight and solidity to the world, anchoring players into the experience: everything behaves as it should, leaving you to get on with the business of enjoying, rather than fighting, the game.

It's clearly playtested to death, utterly enjoyable, and a bit mad. Is it worth your cash? Yes.

Version Tested: PS4. Played for 5 hours.

8 / 10

  • Looks superb.
  • Feels and plays like a proper MGS game.
  • Might not be enough content there for some.

Click above for enlarged Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes Screenshots


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User Comments

Bretty's Avatar


See I find the outrage of price an interesting insight to how we have all progressed in buying games and how game prices have altered over the years.

15 years ago it was much harder to find good prices online and I recall VR Missions being released, which was really just a selection of mini games that could all be completed in fairly limited ways. I'm pretty sure this retailed for full RRP but I may be wrong. I do not recall ever finding it for less than £20 when I looked for it (which as a 13 year old unfortunately put it out of my price range).

What we have with Ground Zeroes is a polished game with "mini game" side missions, much like VR Missions. It was released at a similar price point as VR Missions and shows in insight in to the evolution of the series since its last incarnation, rather than just making a mini games out of the existing engine.

Really is Ground Zeroes any more of a "rip off" than VR Missions before it which was released by the same company 15 years ago?
Posted 08:43 on 25 March 2014
Clockpunk's Avatar


I'm not really feeling it - done the first mission and a side-op, and while I do like the auto cover and heavy dive movement... on the whole, it feels much more Splinter Cell than MGS.

Perhaps Big Boss' voice doesn't help - fairly obvious Sutherland is trying his hardest to sound like Hayter, but that's all it is - an impression.

The overall game also feel like a demo, in that it really does exude the impression that it is only a snippet of the full thing, which it is. But that affects my playing of it, perhaps subliminally, where I don't mind being rather more reckless than I otherwise would be. Doesn't help that I picked up Stick of Truth the same day, and that is so much more fun...

It really does tick me off that, despite all of the visual advances of this past generation, that nothing has yet to match MGS3 in terms of the scope of the survival aspects and wound mechanics - which are still groundbreaking, IMHO, two generations laters. Nothing about GZ grabs me in a similar manner, which is what I would expect from a title of this nature.

Glad I only paid £17 for it - but even then... should have been digital download for a tenner AT MOST. I'd honestly recommend other wait.
Posted 11:24 on 24 March 2014
Bretty's Avatar


I was able to nab the game for £18.99, using a code from CDKeys to get £35 worth of points for £29.

I think it was easily worth that price and is the perfect game to have in your digital library. It shows off the wow factor of the PS4, doesn't take up much space and is a fun game to jump in to for an hour or 2.

Looking forward to playing the heck out of it.

I think if it was available in more places for the £20 mark it's easily worth it and it would be easier to big it up. As a MGS and stealth game fan I can see myself easily sinking 10+ hours in to this, which is worth £20 in my eyes, especially considering how well made it is.
Posted 08:33 on 24 March 2014
Mar27w's Avatar


The stealth elements are pretty well done although camera glitches are common and on hard guards will occasionly spot you even if your behind cover.It has some dodgy/stiff looking animation(excute and extract info stand out as bit naff looking)and I cant get guards to lay on the floor during hold up but the game is mostly enjoyable.Saying that its still a total rip off and offers little value for money,most will be finished with it after a weekends play.If this sells well the Skyrims/GTAs and AC4s will become segmented.Why bother slaving over large game worlds with hours of content when you can just bang out a demo for a premium price which is really what this is,a big demo albiet but nowhere near 20 bucks worth.
Posted 01:51 on 24 March 2014


Well, if Bums says it's an 8 it must be bloody good! I'll go forth and pre-order that now!

Would this game have scored higher if there was more content? If that's the case I don't think it's entirely fair as we all know this is a premium tech demo, with a story.

And as controversial as this might be, I'm glad Kiefer Sutherland is Solid now, I really didn't like David Hayter.
Posted 19:30 on 18 March 2014
Bloodstorm's Avatar


Well, dad got a PS4 yesterday and he's ordering this tonight. Cannot wait to see how it plays!
Posted 12:58 on 18 March 2014
BritishWolf's Avatar


Also, will we be getting a Tam Mcgleish Ground Zeroes video review?
Posted 10:15 on 18 March 2014
BritishWolf's Avatar


An 8 is very promising. I'm sure the score would have been higher if this wasn't a prologue. Can't wait to get my copy Friday. Also what music is on the Walkman? is it custom soundtracks? Because I don't know how that would work with the Ps4 seeing as it had no media capabilities. Same goes for the helicopter that supposedly turns up playing a song off your harddrive
Posted 10:01 on 18 March 2014
IronMit's Avatar


To be honest I never doubt kojima. The stealth action mechanics always match the game.. Instead of the typical stealth mechanic trope templates you get.

One question . How does the game handle transitions from action /alert back to stealth. The only recent game I have experienced that tries to handle this is the last of us. Where the human enemies are in hunt mode indefinitely , with 'hunting' patterns that differ depending on if they know the area you are in or not.

Do the mgs guards just go back to normal after a timer? And if yes does this make the game any poorer? I imagine as the area is massive they might assume you just left the area. Unlike in human revolution when guards see you go into a vent.
Posted 09:19 on 18 March 2014
IronMit's Avatar


Burns has high standards so this is very promising.
Mgs meets hitman? Awesome. Blood money is one of my all time favourites. Hopefully not anything like that pile of rubbish absolution
Posted 09:11 on 18 March 2014


A nice argument for quality over quantity. How is Kiefer Sutherland in it?
Posted 08:35 on 18 March 2014

Game Stats

Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes
Out of 10
Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes
  • Looks superb.
  • Feels and plays like a proper MGS game.
  • Might not be enough content there for some.
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 21/03/2014
Platforms: PS4 , Xbox One , Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC
Developer: Kojima Productions
Publisher: Konami
Genre: Unknown
Rating: TBC
Site Rank: 559 80
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