Metal Gear is a legendary name when it comes to generations-spanning games full of story and new ideas, and for years have been the pinnacle of auteur-created games with Hideo Kojima at the helm of the series. Unfortunately, after Metal Gear Solid 5 that all changed and we now have the first MGS without Kojima in the form of Metal Gear Survive. But does it live up to the franchise’s history or does it mark the end of the stoic series?
That first question – and many others – can be answered with a resounding “no”. Let me go into more detail about why that is.
Now, the Metal Gear series has always been about the story. From humble beginnings back in 1987 to the present day, the series had a history of subverting player ideas on what a game can be whilst also giving you so much story that more modern entries in the series felt more like movies than video games. Yes, the stories were getting a bit ridiculous but with Kojima there, it always felt like there was an underlying string tying everything together. With him gone, we’re left with a game story that has a lot of words in it but none of them hold any real meaning. It’s a game set in the Metal Gear Universe that’s essentially about fighting unicorn zombies in an alternate dimension; that is not the kind of story that takes over 30 years to build on.
Gameplay-wise it’s a survival crafting game like those back in the days of DayZ and Minecraft and again for a series so rife with reinvention and creativity, it’s disappointing for it to go for the lowest denominator and pick a genre of game based solely on what once was popular. Not only that but it’s a bad survival crafting game where you’ll spend most of your time stabbing zombies through fences with a pointy stick, or getting onto slightly higher ground and watching them glitch in and out of existence as you stab them with the same pointy stick. Of course there’s much more to the crafting with a wealth of weapons and structures for you to make, but as I played I found out that if you don’t have a stick and a couple of fences at your disposal then you’re going to find yourself overrun and out of fun, and that is not good game design.
The most disappointing thing about this poor game design is the fact that its built upon the stellar Fox Engine that was showcased so well in MGS5. When playing Survive, it feels like a massive step backwards for the software, and if I’m honest after this I don’t see the engine being used for anything remotely close to what it once accomplished.
So in closing not only is Metal Gear Survive a bad Metal Gear game but it’s also a bad survival game, a bad crafting game and even a buggy boring mess of a game that takes years and years of work and flushes it into the abyss, possibly never to be seen again.
Author: Hal, Plymouth store