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Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes review: A stealth sandbox, a glorified demo, an hour and a half

Hayden Dingman | Jan. 20, 2015
Would you pay for a TV show's pilot episode? What if it were written by Hideo Kojima?

Like Ground Zeroes, P.T. is a relatively-replayable, short demo for an upcoming game. The difference? P.T. was free. Ground Zeroes is not.

Is Ground Zeroes worth playing? Undoubtedly, if you're a Metal Gear Solid fan. And to be honest, I'm not much of a Metal Gear Solid fan. Not really at all. Ground Zeroes has me hooked though--it seems like MGSV will be the incarnation that will polish the controls and the mechanics enough to get me into the series.

For once, however, I'm going to recommend you wait for a sale. That's exceedingly rare for me. I hate including purchase recommendations in reviews because it feels tacky. Money is different for everyone. Twenty dollars for me is likely different than twenty dollars for you is likely different than twenty dollars is to a billionaire is likely different than it is for a fifteen-year-old kid who gets one or two games per year and treats them like treasures.

But by the economics of our current market I cannot say that Ground Zeroes is twenty dollars worth of game or twenty dollars worth of "experience." If you want to argue games should be more expensive, well, that's a different argument for a different time. I'm simply doing a comparison to similar episodic products e.g. Telltale's and, for that matter, Kojima's own damn game. Really, P.T.'s zero-dollar price tag is the nail in the coffin for me when it comes to Ground Zeroes retailing for twenty bucks.

Bottom line
In conclusion, I'm not assigning a score because there's nothing to score here. I hate tacking a score onto episodic games and have stopped doing it in the past year, and Ground Zeroes is essentially an episode of Metal Gear Solid V. It's a brilliant episode, too! The writing is strong, and the stealth sandbox foundation is perfectly executed.

But it's a demo, boxed up and sold as a stand-alone game. You'll have to decide what that's worth to you.


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