Thursday, March 08, 2018

Avoid 'Metal Gear Survive' - The Review!

Today is March 8th, and I feel confident in saying that we have already seen the worst video game of 2018: Metal Gear Survive.

The first game in the Metal Gear franchise without Hideo Kojima at the helm is the cringe-worthy train wreck that you imagine it would be. It is a game that punishes you for playing by forcing you to play it more. It's a game that doesn't care for the Metal Gear legacy, and spits on it when it can. It's a game that is trying to be 7 Days to Die with Metal Gear. I think we can all see why that concept will never work.

Here's my unabashed review of Metal Gear Survive, or "why did I play this game?"

I was gifted a copy of the game to review which has led me to the conclusion that my readers do enjoy torturing me. Metal Gear Survive is worse than Battlefront II. Maybe E.T. The Extraterrestrial bad. It's a game that you will hate before you pick it up. Say what you will about Kojima and his need for perfection. The man knows how to make a compelling game. If you've ever wondered what a non-Kojima Metal Gear looks like, Survive is a prime example of everything a game could do wrong.

Survive moves the series away from the tactical game play into an action shooter, with some crafting thrown in. Yes, it's weird. The game starts at the end of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, after Big Boss' base is destroyed. Your custom created character is sucked into a wormhole that appears out of nowhere and sends you to another dimension/plane where you are surrounded by nanotech zombies. They are zombies because they want to destroy everything. They are not the flesh-eating type of killers. Your goal is to survive (eye roll) by creating defenses and gathering others to help you fight off the nano-zombies. There are story missions throughout that eventually lead you back to your realm.

Much of the game works off the MGS5 assets. You'll see a lot of repetitive content and barren deserts while you make your way through the story. Honestly it feels like they took MGS5 and said "hey, let's change all the mechanics to turn this from a stealth tactical game to a third person shooter!" Because that's exactly how it plays. The controls are clunky and not intuitive. You'd have better luck punching wood in Minecraft than trying to gather materials in Survive.

Running, ducking, hunting for food - it's all a chore that feels forced on you rather then a "do or die" scenario. I shouldn't need to surf through 20 menus to find the one item I want to craft. And then accidentally cancel when the action/jump button are the same. (Hey devs, can you stop doing that please?)

By the way, this is the entire game. You gather stuff. You craft. You make some defenses. You get attacked by nano-zombies. You gather some more. You craft some more. Somehow all of this allows you to get closer to reaching your goal of going home, but the game never explains why.

Logically if I were in the game, I'd go find the source of the wormhole and start adventuring around, if this was normal video game logic of course. Because sitting around and gathering to make defenses is not the most enticing game play. But that's all this game is! Waiting. And waiting. And waiting some more!

Just to make it more of a chore to play, if you fail one of the story missions you have to restart from your last checkpoint. That sounds fine in theory. Lots of games do this. The problem is checkpoints are incredibly scarce in Survive, much like food and water (which you need and it takes way too long to resource). You may not see checkpoints for up to 5 missions. It's maddening! Imagine spending 20 minutes fighting off a nano-zombie hoard only to die with 10 seconds left on the clock? There is no checkpoint before the fight or during the sequence. You get to spend another 20 minutes doing it all over again, plus the extra 2-3 hours beforehand farming and crafting your defenses. Fun, right?

And I can't say that it's part of the "charm" of the game to have it be so punishing. It's not. It's aggravating. You don't want to pick up the controller and continue when the game hates you so much. At least 7 Days to Die, Minecraft, and Dragon Quest Builders provide you with means to store, share, and access your content after you've died so you can continue on without it affecting your sanity. Survive offers none of that. It's a pat on the back and a "f off" to you.

If the game were at least nice to look at or had interesting places to explore, it might excuse a tiny bit of the oversight on the checkpoint situation.

Super, mega tiny. So tiny an ameba would think it's a speck.

It's not Minecraft where it's fun to explore outside of your little island to see what else is out there. Survive is a world of dirt and grimy sand: brown, grey, and some shades of black. Bleak worlds can look interesting. Think outside of the brown palette!

Metal Gear Survive is a trash game. I hate to say it because I know countless people worked on this title in hopes it would be a new start for the franchise. I do not blame the staff for what's happened. This is all on Konami and management. When you take a game series that's already fantastic and completely re-work it into...whatever this is, it's too far gone to be saved. I was so angered by the single player content I couldn't bring myself to try multiplayer.

Avoid this game at all costs. Go spend your money elsewhere. Monster Hunter: World is okay. Horizon Zero: Dawn is better. Or go slam your face into Overwatch. Anything but Metal Gear Survive.

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