Normally I don’t like sharing my opinion of a game before I’ve given it a try myself, but now that the full release of Metal Gear Survive has hit store shelves, I have to share my thoughts. Amidst the controversy the game has received surrounding it, I’d like to comment on the actual game itself.
I’ve been a Metal Gear fan for a long time. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each of the mainline games (although I still have to get around to Metal Gear 1 and 2), and absolutely loved the fantastic side entry Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. The first Metal Gear Solid remains my favorite in the series, but each game brings something new to the table, expanding on the previous game in a way that has impressed me each time.
Metal Gear Solid (1998) was an early look at quality voice-acting in video games, and offered a complex and thrilling story. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (2001) introduced a new protagonist, to everyone’s surprise, and included a staggering attention to detail (melting ice cubes, anyone?) to compliment the main story. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (2004) put players in control of the long-dormant character Big Boss, and expanded on the stealth options of its predecessor in a drastically different environment. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (2008) offered beautifully choreographed cutscenes and a wacky storyline that aimed to offer closure on the series’ biggest questions. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain (2015) put players in the shoes of Big Boss once again, giving them unprecedented freedom in an open world environment to tackle missions in any way they wanted. It is a game series that has embraced change, unafraid to tackle new ideas while keeping certain positive features from previous entries that worked well. Even if the overall story is a bit of a mess, Metal Gear is one of my favorite game series of all time.
Metal Gear Survive is not a Metal Gear game. It offers similar movement and combat mechanics to The Phantom Pain, but places enough twists on them that don’t work in its favor. Melee combat is clunky and unsatisfying. The survival angle is emphasized to the nth degree, forcing a food and thirst meter (features that I personally dislike in most games). It also foregoes any interesting plot points that may have given long-time fans any interest in the game’s narrative.
Like I mentioned earlier, I dislike giving my full thoughts on a game if I haven’t played through it; but I’ve played enough from the open multiplayer beta and heard plenty of hands-on impressions that I think I’m good to give my thoughts on the game. Metal Gear Survive is the result of a publisher hoping to turn a quick buck on a successful franchise, while putting in as many uninteresting ideas as possible into the final product. Unfortunately for that company, it doesn’t appear the game is doing too well. From all of the material I have seen and heard about Survive, only a single thing has made me curious about the game, that thing being the Lovecraftian monster that appears in the late game. From what I’ve heard, however, that aspect goes largely ignored, and the plot doesn’t move anywhere interesting with it.
I think it’s safe to say that Metal Gear is dead. It had a great run, with some absolutely amazing games that I will never forget. It’s too bad series creator Hideo Kojima didn’t get the chance to finish the entire story of The Phantom Pain, but that’s an entirely different story.