Aaaaaaaand it really does show.
So I’ve come back to the realisation that it has been a while since I have posted anything here. Hi guys. How are you all? I’m good, thanks for asking. I’ve had two months of being totally not productive (being employed and feeling productive are apparently not correlated) and it has brought me to the brink of insanity, so I feel it is time to be productive again.
So, how am I going to be productive? Metal Gear Survive. I bought this game because I got a money off voucher to use which brought the price to around £20 and though “well, it’s not done by Kojima, but it’s also around £20… I reckon I can justify it.”
And honestly when all is said and done… it was worth it. For £20. Not more.
So why do I say that? Well, it was a good bit of fun, honestly. There are some huge, glaring problems with the game and how Konami have released it, but I feel that the game has enough people pointing these flaws out already, so I will go into them later and focus on the positives first. As I said, it has been a bit of fun. I have enjoyed exploring the world of Dite, venturing into the dust to find containers and playing co-op to farm some easy level ups. I had fun making my character and pretending to be a member of Diamond Dogs who got separated from my idol, Big Boss. (shut up, you’re a nerd!)
On the topic of going into the dust, I will say that I actually loved the idea of having your map just stop working while you are inside, meaning you have to largely remember which direction you have gone and actually use the lights in the distance to navigate while running out of oxygen. It’s great.
The multiplayer is sufficiently challenging (especially with the new hard daily/weekly missions which are very tough!) where I keep returning, though the same cannot be said about digging for Iris energy at Base Camp. I generally just sort my defences to overwhelm whatever force is attacking and just make sure I’m not present for the defence. It’s not that I can’t do it, it’s more that I can’t be bothered. In multiplayer there’s that slightly competitive aspect of not wanting to be an obvious leech on the group, but in single player it’s just a bit boring.
Similarly, I enjoy the base / barricade building aspect of the game. Having certain containers being only obtainable if you bring a supply of watchtowers or sandbag piles with you adds an extra layer to the game. Also, it gives useful defensive options for that early game where you are literally starving, dying of thirst and have nothing but a sharpened stick with which to fend off the wanderers. True, as you get further in the game (and obtain the bow blueprint) it becomes less useful outside of mining singularities in single player and co-op, but I still like it.
While I do not mind it now and actually quite like the fact that I have to keep well fed and watered in order to maintain peak performance, the start of the game is incredibly frustrating as you cannot build a campfire with a metal pot until around chapter 7, meaning you cannot purify any water you get until this point. It’s a game that centres around exploration, however the start of the game essentially urges you to rush content so you can start being a bit more self-sustainable.
With that I suppose I shall move onto the negatives, as that last point was a bit of both. My first main negative, though it was expected and thus not too disappointing, is that the story is weak. I will not go into spoilers here because spoilers are the worst but I called it. I knew one of the big plot twists was going to be a thing before it became apparent, the story was just plain lazy at points and it felt like it was trying so hard to be “a Hideo Kojima game” but it failed so hard at it. To further this point, I cried in MGS1 (PSX), MGS3 (PS2), MGS4 (PS3), MGS5 (PC) and MPO (PSP). I loved and was wholly engaged with the story and it hit me on such an emotional level when certain things happened. Not once did I feel attached to any characters in Metal Gear Survive. True, I loved that Reeve was voiced by Matt Mercer, one of my favourite voice actors, but the characters just weren’t deep enough for me to really find myself getting attached to. I love the heavy cutscene approach of previous games and long dialogues that, to some people, would seem wholly irrelevant; how many other games have a roughly 7 minute long dialogue between the defeated boss, the main character and his nerdy sidekick that gets strangely philosophical and causes one’s eyes to start leaking? Wasn’t even the final boss of that game either. I’ll let you figure out which one I mean by just saying “okay hero… set me free.” Metal Gear Survive’s story is sub-par at best and the characters feel a bit rushed and the typical over-the-top parts don’t feel the same.
Also, I have issues with the game from a design perspective. Konami decided that a way to win people over was to charge real life money for save slots. Wait, what? You heard me right; if you want a single character you are fine, but much like extra FOBs in MGS5 (which I also didn’t agree with) you have to pay real life money for in game currency to unlock a second, third or fourth save slot. It’s dumb. It’s ridiculous. Konami what the hell are you doing? I refuse to buy coins on principle, and I can be a real sucker for microtransactions; just ask Blizzard or my credit card provider…
Overall would I rate Metal Gear Survive as a game? Yeah, it’s good fun for £20.I wouldn’t pay more than around £20 for it, but for the money it was decent enough. I have managed to squeeze out 59 hours so far and I don’t see myself stopping in the immediate future, though maybe lessening my time in it now that Vermintide 2 is on the horizon. Would I rate it as a Metal Gear game? No. Absolutely not. It’s nowhere near as good as the other Metal Gear games. Apart from the Fox Engine, it doesn’t feel like a Metal Gear game and it certainly doesn’t feel like a Hideo Kojima game (because he wasn’t behind it, so I guess that’s obvious).
I will be looking forward to Death Stranding, as that should be a proper Kojima experience. It may be another game that actually makes me buy a console if it only comes out on PS4.