Ground Zeroes Gets Intelligence Right

Ground Zeroes Gets Intelligence Right

Critical Intel examines Metal Gear Solid's tenuous relationship with the reality of intelligence work - and how it relates to real world tactical espionage operations.

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That's a bit of a letdown to be honest. Were it some other stealth game, I would be quite excited at such a serious and grounded approach to espionage and stealth, but since it's Metal Gear... Enh. This is a series that has an electro-punching Russian man in a giant mecha tank, a guy that controls bees, and a super-powered vampire, it seems like an odd choice to suddenly focus on the serious elements now. Frankly, that's a big part of why I love these games: They have an earnest message to deliver, but they go completely batshit-insane while they do it.

I disagree. While I certainly love my Bee Bullets, ghosts, and nanomachines = super powers, at this point, I've kinda had enough. Part of the reason that I loved MGS3 so much, even compared to the other Metal Gear games, was that for all its cucko, it was pretty serious and grounded and hinted at a Metal Gear that was still fantastical but also still closer to actual espionage and special forces missions. Metal Gear has always been its least fun (for me) during the actiony, ran-n-gun sequences, and the boss fights have always been hit or miss depending on the set up. For example, the fights against young Ocelot and the End were super fun for me, but the (multiple) fights against Vamp or the various B&B fights were just tedious.

So maybe I'm the crazy one for hoping that Metal Gear could lay off on the hard drugs and present a story and gameplay that were more focused, but from the trailers for the Phantom Pain I'm sure we'll be getting plenty of "is this really happening?" insanity. I guess it's probably better than way, for without that zany bits the actual "story" of the Metal Gear games would be pretty bad, for the most part.

Serious or insane, as long as the gameplay continues to be fun, I'll keep loving my MGS! :)

I haven't played any of the extra missions yet, but this game does go for a very hard edge. So much so that you feel kinda "sliced open" yourself by the end. They might've pushed it a bit too far though, especially considering the way the whole thing ends.

But isn't The Phantom Pain going to feature a giant flaming whale devouring a helicopter? I'm sure Kojima has more than enough crazy shit in store for us.

Poerts:
That's a bit of a letdown to be honest. Were it some other stealth game, I would be quite excited at such a serious and grounded approach to espionage and stealth, but since it's Metal Gear... Enh. This a series has an electro-punching Russian man in a giant mecha tank, a guy that controls bees, and a super-powered vampire, it seems like an odd choice to suddenly focus on the serious elements now. Frankly, that's a big part of why I love these games: They have an earnest message to deliver, but they go completely batshit-insane while they do it.

Let's not forget that this is simply the first several hours in a very lengthy open world game. Also, the actual Phantom Pain trailer showcases a flaming Spirit whale eating a helicopter inside a rain forest. It's safe to say that Kojima still has a thing for the ridiculous.

This actually sounds promising. The two things that have always disappointed me with MGS games is the level of ridiculousness, and the fact that they punish you too little for being spotted. I don't think I'm going to be shelling out $30 for Ground Zeroes, but if The Phantom Pain is anything like what this article describes, I would be extremely happy with it.

Also, great article. It would be nice to see some more games that have that kind of gameplay and tone.

The two missions that deviate from the stealth can still very much be done without turning into a psycho killer. In fact, the helicopter rescue gives you an overly powerful stun gun thing that knocks enemies out. Also, there's an achievement for doing that exact mission without killing anybody, something I still haven't quite figured out (The helicopter vs. helicopter fight at the end winds up killing two guys anyways).

The other one, which I'm guessing is the one where you blow up the AA guns is also doable without kills. If I had placed my C4 a bit better and had used the rocket launcher a bit better, I'd have gotten out without kills.

TiberiusEsuriens:

Poerts:
That's a bit of a letdown to be honest. Were it some other stealth game, I would be quite excited at such a serious and grounded approach to espionage and stealth, but since it's Metal Gear... Enh. This a series has an electro-punching Russian man in a giant mecha tank, a guy that controls bees, and a super-powered vampire, it seems like an odd choice to suddenly focus on the serious elements now. Frankly, that's a big part of why I love these games: They have an earnest message to deliver, but they go completely batshit-insane while they do it.

Let's not forget that this is simply the first several hours in a very lengthy open world game. Also, the actual Phantom Pain trailer showcases a flaming Spirit whale eating a helicopter inside a rain forest. It's safe to say that Kojima still has a thing for the ridiculous.

Hopefully all the really WEIRD stuff will still be there when The Phantom Pain arrives. That's what's charming to me about the Metal Gear series; how they go off-the-wall and play it totally straight.

captcha: I am fine
Well, the same can't be said for Snake

... This actually makes me want to play it. MGS's usual insanity and endless monologues have always been a bit of a turn-off.

elihuaran:
The two missions that deviate from the stealth can still very much be done without turning into a psycho killer. In fact, the helicopter rescue gives you an overly powerful stun gun thing that knocks enemies out. Also, there's an achievement for doing that exact mission without killing anybody, something I still haven't quite figured out (The helicopter vs. helicopter fight at the end winds up killing two guys anyways).

The other one, which I'm guessing is the one where you blow up the AA guns is also doable without kills. If I had placed my C4 a bit better and had used the rocket launcher a bit better, I'd have gotten out without kills.

It's not so much about lethal vs. nonlethal play, it's more about flying under the radar. Even if you get out of both of those missions without killing anyone, you've still telegraphed your presence through blowing stuff up and landing a helicopter in the middle of an enemy base. Both, in my opinion, violate the narrative tension inherent in the Cold War setting and established via the gameplay. (Of course the helicopter mission is ultimately setup for a joke, as you know from playing the game. Since that punchline is the one thing I liked about that mission, I didn't want to spoil it.)

Metal Gear games tends to be at their best in the beginning, when it's just you, a mission and some solid sneaking to be done. It's when the floodgates to the Realm of Nonsense open that the feel of the game begins to go off, I feel.

Snake Eater was a great game, but I could just feel my enthusiasm drop like a stone when Comrade Pyton's Flying Circus got more involved. While a bunch of eccentric freaks is certainly part of the mix, I just wish it could be balanced somewhat with the tone of the game.

I'd like to pretend Snake is a dangerous agent that has begun to develop some sort of severe psychological disorder, and sending him out on a fake mission in the wilderness is the government's way of containing him.

 

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