27 February 2018 (released)
05 March 2018
Wow. It’s been a long time coming and now it’s finally here. Metal Gear Survive has definitely set itself up as the game everyone loves to hate and Konami have had a tough job luring veteran MGS fans and new comers to their first MGS game without Hideo Kajima. Since E3 last year, there’s been such a negative reception to what many call a soulless and shameless zombie expansion to MGS V: The Phantom Pain. I love MGS V and I do dislike Konami to an extreme degree for many reasons, but I wanted to give this a chance.
I enjoyed the beta for Metal Gear Survive and saw great promise if Konami played their cards right, to actually deliver a great game while holding back from their shady practices. So, did Konami learn from their mistakes?
Oh my God …. They did not.
Now it’s not Metal Gear Survives fault entirely as there are some glimpses of brilliance among a fog of underwhelming gulp. What starts off as a baffling tale of random interdimensional wormholes sucking in survivors of the original Motherbase attack, while offering no explanation or hint as to why this is happening. Among other continuity issues which just point the finger to a lazy practice of using old assets in what seems like a player created Mod and a dull one at that. Now the story does address these issues and offers a solid conclusion to the mystery at hand. But the main problem is the mystery lacks any captivating dynamics and turns into a one dimensional tale with some signs of the quirky, mesmerising allure we loved about the MGS series.
It doesn’t help that the supporting cast can’t keep your attention for long and the focus shifts tone too sharply, failing to grasp a sense of purpose and a lack of reason for this creation in the first place. Plus, the voice acting for the most part is underwhelming in emotional grasp that it sounds like the actors didn’t want to be there.
Now Metal Gear Survive is without a compelling narrative and it’s no big shock, considering Hideo was the driving force to many of the fantastical elements and the beautifully crafted, multi-layer narratives. So it’s up to the possibility of meaningful and exciting survival gameplay that incorporates MGS’ classic elements.
Metal Gear Survive has a challenging journey for players that’s both rewarding and highly tedious. The beginning few hours are a repetitive grind with mindless tutorials, boring chores and an introduction that really tests the nerve and patience of even a saint. While the first few hours may be extremely off putting to some, the grind and relentless chores do pass and what lies ahead is much more promising. Once you begin the actual game, players will get to explore the other world and build their new home from the wrecked fragments of home.
The core gameplay is broken down into base building, scavenging/survival and melee combat. Base building is simple yet enjoyable, showing a good level of deal in customisation and the number of small organic details really humanises your new home. It’s just a pity there’s an overwhelming number of sub-menus and a bloated interface when your base building. There are plenty of factors to consider from defence, farming, water purification and more that play well into your own survival. Players can craft, cook and create their own weapons including first aid and defences to increase their chance of survival. Crafting relies heavily on scavenging which can be a repetitive task but there’s a strange sense of comfort to going out, finding loot and crafting that vital gear you need.
One of the more interesting factors for the survival experience is the fog heavy area outside the base, which holds critical items and rare loot for the players to find. What is a massive (yet not surprising) shame is the lack of new areas, with 90% of the world being areas ripped straight out of MGS V. This is unforgivably lazy and just shows Konami are happy to sell you a Frankenstein, clusterf*** of stuff from a better game. The only major addition that’s not been copied and pasted are the crystallised zombie enemies that skulk across the land. There’s a small variation of enemies in total with each class posing unique threats and varying behaviours that keep you on your toes during battle. It’s a shame that most of them are unbelievably dim-witted and poorly programed.
Survive harbours plenty of tactical elements which can be summed up as a mixture of brilliance and infuriatingly restricted. Combat is more focused on melee and the selection of weapons while not as impressive as MGS V is more focused and still does the job during combat. With fire axes, pointy sticks and double barrel shotguns all having some decent firepower and impact, while new manoeuvres can be learnt to incorporate dodging, tackling and fast reaction speeds. I just wish the enemy AI was better during the moments it matter. In the hoard mode segments, they’re fine as they charge in one direct and attempt to destroy the objective. But out in the open or arranging an attack on your position and they’re hopeless. You can easily out run them and loose them after running a few feet away.
Now the main highlight for Survive is the multiplayer which was the aspect I enjoyed most in both Betas. I’m not going to lie as it’s really fun to play with friends and any hoard mode can be fun when you’re working as a team, building defences and laying traps for the enemy. The maps in multi-player are again extremely dull, with little dynamic elements or interesting level designs to make them compelling.
Now, let’s talk about the biggest problem here, namely Konami and its malicious and nasty sense of greed.
I f***ing hate the micro transactions this game has to offer, they’re sick. Now I can live with cosmetics or even a loot box when in comparison to what Konami have now decided to do. It was bad enough that Survive had a rough reception and that for months; people were bashing the game relentlessly. Konami had to do the most stupid thing and include paywalls for certain aspects you see unlocked in most other games. To ask for £7/$10 to unlock a save slot is completely mental. Asking £7/$10 to unlock things such as loadouts, weapon storage and more is just a major insult and one that’s totally uncalled for. If this was a free game that would be tolerable, but asking for £30 and then ask for more money for comfort is just wrong. While the locked content is classed to some as comfort rather than essential, I say that these paywalls are nothing more than greed. These are typical aspects of any game and compared to other adventure games which allow you have multiple loadouts, a vast amount of customisation and several save slots without asking for a penny.
Konami, you’re just wrong on all levels.
So, Metal Gear Survive is without a surprise, disappointing. This is a shame as you can have fun with friends online and there is a decent concept here for a survival game. Yet this is not a good Metal Gear Solid game and no that feels out of place in the series. The flawed narrative, heavily rehashed assets and the filthy, greedy paywalls make this a hard game to like, but with friends you can enjoy it for a couple of hours.
Or just play Monster Hunter World.
+ Some fun to have with friends with the online survival mode
+ Decent base building and survival gameplay
+ Pointy sticks …
--- Awful Micro-transactions
-- Old assets reused in the worse possible way
- Relentless grind and tedious survival gameplay