This review is an unedited version of the review written by Zombie Dredd and published in the Tech Magazine: Issue 58 June 2018.
Let’s just cut to the chase. If you’re a Metal Gear Solid fan, then Metal Gear Survive is not the Metal Gear game you are looking for.
Gone are the characters and espionage-intrigue that the series is best known for and in their place are new characters, an alternative dimension and zombies… Well, not zombies in the traditional George A. Romero sense of the word, but zombies in every other sense.
You are the “Captain” who at the fall of Mother Base (somewhere between the events of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes and Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain) finds himself surviving a wormhole while being infected by a parasitic organism. To save humanity (and presumably yourself), you are dispatched back via a wormhole to Dite – or a version of Earth if it actually reached Day Zero.
And so begins your (slightly convoluted) mission in an open-world where scavenging resources is more important than the limited early handholding leads you to believe. You need to establish a base from the ruins of another. Hunt and collect food. Find clean water. Level up. Upgrade. Craft items and weapons. And search for information and ultimately get the heck out of Dite.
But between you and that goal are the Wanderers, other mysterious creatures and some dastardly humans back home. The Wanderers are the zombies of the story – humans infected by a parasitic organism that makes their heads turn into a crystal. Don’t ask. Just stab them in the head as quickly as possible. Or shoot them once you get yourself upgraded and are ready to go a little more Rambo in the world.
The core third-person stealth element of the Metal Gear Solid series is still in place, and is really handy in achieving you mission goals undetected. In cases where you do attract unwanted attention and are not skilled or equipped well enough to face a swarm of Wanderers, you will find yourself dead faster than you can say “where’s Hideo Kojima?”
And to be honest, that’s perhaps the franchises greatest issue going forward, without Hideo Kojima involved it’s a little bit of an overambitious and bloated mess. You will keep at it for a while but eventually you will lose interest and wonder why you kept coming back.
It won’t be for the graphics or the voice acting that’s for sure. The story is also not a saving grace for the game. There’s some sense of reward as you progress but that might also be a little bit of hope that giving it just another 30 minutes, it will all make sense and the game will hit its stride.
And then, somewhere along the line it suddenly does hit its own comfort zone. It happens around the time you stop thinking of it as a Metal Gear game. If you just pretend they incorrectly named the game and play it as it was probably meant to be, you have a passable survival horror-ish game with the added benefit of co-op. Just be aware the game has an always online requirement – even when playing solo.
Available for: PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC
Distributed by: Ster Kinekor Entertainment