Ground Zeroes is Only Worth What You'll Pay For It

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Ground Zeroes is Only Worth What You'll Pay For It

The evolution from "Weird Kid" to "Creepy Kid" seems to be complete with Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, and it's nobody's fault but your own.

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Before it runs out of new content? Well in multiplayer games that is unfair, because you're supposed to play them over and over again. Was Team Fortress 2 just half an' hour of content when it came out? Was Left4Dead just two to three hours?

Of course, if you put in something which allow players to make their own game modes then the opportunities and time increase several times over. Halo 3 is proof enough of that.

Yet again, today The Escapist reminds me that we are all just assholes. This could be a trend!

#WeAreAllAssholes

Agreed on the first part.

MGS and Kojima are not the game and person to bring us an exploration of the horrors of war.

It just plain doesn't work with cloned super-soldiers, nano-vampires and mechs that jump about going "Moo".

It seems that the only thing that truly justifies the expense of a game is the quality of the experience you're buying, a somewhat subjective concept that can't be measured by hours of play time. Portal is a good example of brevity married to wit and poise. Ground Zeroes simply feels stunted by comparison, as opposed to a brief gem polished to a mirror sheen.

Metal Gear Solid had a self contained story that almost made sense, but was thoroughly entertaining regardless. Then Metal Gear got too full of itself, and we got MGS2 when they pretended like we cared about the nonsense they were peddling.

No, we just wanted Snake. We didn't care about your stupid story.

Now it's just off the rails, with no one to challenge Kojima's creative decisions and his deeply disturbing sexist pervert tendencies because they've deluded themselves into thinking he's some kind of storytelling master.

Everything is wrong here, like Evonisia said multiplayer games are supposed to be played multiple times and the amount of content in them shows if they are worth it or not (some multiplayer games are released with very few maps). Ground Zeroes has a terrible map (for gameplay) where you basicly either have roads or cell blocks and every are is played exactly the same (the sidemissions are played in the same way as the main mission, they barely offer any kind of new experience that wasnt availabe in the main one).

And MGS is self-aware, not just in your face like in the Platinum games.
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Evonisia:
Before it runs out of new content? Well in multiplayer games that is unfair, because you're supposed to play them over and over again. Was Team Fortress 2 just half an' hour of content when it came out? Was Left4Dead just two to three hours?

Of course, if you put in something which allow players to make their own game modes then the opportunities and time increase several times over. Halo 3 is proof enough of that.

TF2 has mods, user made maps, and dedicated servers, increasing its amount of content 100 fold.

Once again reminded how glad I was Red Box had it in stock. Even if I had to deal with the PS3 version's terrible frame-rate, I only had to pay two bucks to see everything worth looking at in the game.

As far as Metal Gear as a whole, it still does more right than wrong I feel. It's completely insane, but it's the kind of insane that is not only absolutely captivating in the most bizarre way (It's like a donkey show: You're confused and a little disturbed, but you can't look away), but it also occasionally says something totally unique and a bit profound. A lot of games have touched on the idea of war being made into a business, but Metal Gear 4 and Revengeance are the only ones I can think of that tackle the issue head on.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
In my opinion, the objective worth of a game should be measured in hours of content, not hours of average playtime - how many hours go past before a game has nothing new to offer and starts repeating itself, because the number of additional hours of fun that can be extracted becomes much more subjective at that point.

Don't you see the irony of your statement? You're stating that the objective worth of a game should be based on your subjective point of view instead of someone else's.

In my opinion, the worth should be based on how many hours I enjoy and continue to enjoy playing the game. I put nearly 200 hours into the first Borderlands and paid only $20 for it. I went through the side quests twice and the main story 3 times, twice alone and once with a friend.

The trouble I have with the notion of objective worth is that it has to be subjected to someone's viewpoint. I'll give the example of Splinter Cell: Blacklist because I'm more familiar with it. That game took my friend a little over 10 hours to beat (finish the main storyline) and it took me over 20. He played on normal difficulty trying to murder everyone he could find. I went through it on perfectionist difficulty and made it through stealthily without killing a soul. So how would you rate this objectively? It's the same content, experienced differently because my friend and I are two different people.

Yahtzee Croshaw:
Ground Zeroes is Only Worth What You'll Pay For It

I could go on the internet right now and download enough older games to keep me occupied for the whole 80 hours required to die of sleep deprivation (Editor's Note: There is documented evidence of someone going 264 hours without sleep.), and the combined cost would be under twenty bucks.

Ooooo, called out by the Editor! Thanks whomever that was for filling my afternoon with a wonderful area of wiki and scholarly articles about the effects of sleep deprivation. The more you know!

Now, be careful, though. If your creepy, Sonic-related work offends the very Gods too much, they might torch your house.

I do remember that silly jumpsuit thing, and that the first thing that happened when that character was introduced was that I recieved a button prompt to stare at her breasts. Mr. Snake has no manners at all, does he?

josemlopes:
And MGS is self-aware, not just in your face like in the Platinum games.
image

I dunno, MGS may have a modicum of self-awareness, but that doesn't stop it from being uncomfortably full of itself.

Sure, there is plenty of goofy stuff to point at and go, "See? MGS doesn't take itself too seriously. What serious game would have masturbation jokes?" But Kojima then expects us to become engrossed in his 40-minute cutscenes about the intricacies of the world he's built around war and death and other heavy stuff. It's just so schizophrenic.

You see, some people understand that humor can be used to break the tension in a deep, complex, emotionally depressing story. Kojima seems to have heard of the concept, but the way he executes it is just to throw in random weirdness and boobs at unexpected times. Sure, it makes us go "Wtf?! That's so nutty!" and sure does break the tension, but it also breaks the mood, the immersion, the believability, and the investment.

The only way I can even take Metal Gear seriously anymore is it goes for broke with the silliness, like with MGRising.

TheVampwizimp:
I dunno, MGS may have a modicum of self-awareness, but that doesn't stop it from being uncomfortably full of itself.

Sure, there is plenty of goofy stuff to point at and go, "See? MGS doesn't take itself too seriously. What serious game would have masturbation jokes?" But Kojima then expects us to become engrossed in his 40-minute cutscenes about the intricacies of the world he's built around war and death and other heavy stuff. It's just so schizophrenic.

You see, some people understand that humor can be used to break the tension in a deep, complex, emotionally depressing story. Kojima seems to have heard of the concept, but the way he executes it is just to throw in random weirdness and boobs at unexpected times. Sure, it makes us go "Wtf?! That's so nutty!" and sure does break the tension, but it also breaks the mood, the immersion, the believability, and the investment.

The only way I can even take Metal Gear seriously anymore is it goes for broke with the silliness, like with MGRising.

Very well put. I played MGS4 mostly to see why the series was a staple of gaming, and I was shocked at the whiplash and general shoddiness of the story. Having a FOTXTROT agent whose whole gag is having his pants drop/poop himself (I can't remember which) is fine, as is exploring the idea of taking young women from conflict zones, brainwashing them and turning them into soldiers. Having to go from one to another in the same game is too much, even if you add hour-long dialogues to break them up. It was like if two different teams were given an outline of the story at the beginning of production, then kept apart so that each could develop in isolation before Kojima spliced them together by taking random elements from one or the other at any given time.

OT: I'm still not sure that 'objective length' is a fair measurement of the value of a game, as much as it's ability to give a complete and satisfying experience within a reasonable length of time. "Non-repeating content" is a good start, but even simple combination of a handful of multiplayer modes and maps can give an incredible amount of options, further augmented by the fact that no match can or does play out the same way as another, and that's something that is core to the design of these games (for instance, most board games like chess or Monopoly have a similar set-up or relying on player action to introduce variety).

JayDee mentioned Portal, which is a good example of something with a very limited amount of objective content (once you play through once, you're in a "repeating content" state for 90% of every playthrough thereafter) that was nevertheless satisfying and well worth the cost. Ground Zeroes, meanwhile, felt abbreviated because there was no buildup or payoff, your character doesn't change meaningfully through play (only a few choices about style and equipment), and everything quickly becomes repeated content.

Titanfall's "campaign" can be completed in one hour? Uh, the game shipped with 16 maps according to one poster in its thread, and seven of them are part of the standard story campaign according to the official wiki. If you can get through all of those in an hour, those must be some damned fast rounds. What, is it like playing each of seven Counter-Strike maps exactly once, as only one side?

What about rogue-likes? Hell, what about fine art? You're article was bad and the accountant at the end was right. The only objective worth you can put on something is what people will pay.

Thunderous Cacophony:

Very well put. I played MGS4 mostly to see why the series was a staple of gaming, and I was shocked at the whiplash and general shoddiness of the story. Having a FOTXTROT agent whose whole gag is having his pants drop/poop himself (I can't remember which) is fine, as is exploring the idea of taking young women from conflict zones, brainwashing them and turning them into soldiers.

Well, that's probably why you missed what makes Metal Gear a staple of gaming. Johnny (and his grandfather)'s intestinal distress are plot points. For Johnny, it foreshadows the reveal that he's immune to Screaming Mantis' manipulation because he doesn't have nanomachines to regulate his bodily functions like the rest of his squad. For his grandfather, one of the ways to escape the prison cell is to wait until Sasaki runs off to the bathroom to open the cell door and slip away.

The 'humor' tends to serve a purpose greater than just lightening the mood. If you're into Eastern media, often serious series have lighthearted moments to break up the tension. Western media tends to keep serious stories serious all the time, which burns people out and breeds apathy towards the characters and the story as a whole.

Thanatos2k:
Metal Gear Solid had a self contained story that almost made sense, but was thoroughly entertaining regardless. Then Metal Gear got too full of itself, and we got MGS2 when they pretended like we cared about the nonsense they were peddling.

No, we just wanted Snake. We didn't care about your stupid story.

Now it's just off the rails, with no one to challenge Kojima's creative decisions and his deeply disturbing sexist pervert tendencies because they've deluded themselves into thinking he's some kind of storytelling master.

I have a lot of conflicting feelings about this. I agree with everything you said, and at the time I think the madcap game makers who actually "author" their games are one of the best replies against the increasingly "design by comitee" aspect of the industry. I don't know how other lead developers who enjoy the same status work, but it seems to me that they are at least a bit more challenged (Ken Levine), or work as a committee (Obsidian at their best). I see the failure of that format in say, Mass Effect 3, which apparently was a case of one of the lead writers assuming control of the ending without consulting anyone else, to much publicised results.

Otherwise, as I argued at length elsewhere, Kojima is sort of an awesome gameplay innovator who can't write for shit, both in the sense that his plots are bouncing off the walls, and in the more objective sense that he can't go through a plot point without dumping exposition on you by the truckload. The latter is an objective breaking of the "Show, don't tell" rule of thumb, and Kojima is nowhere near capable enough to circumvent it, but the former, I could be ok with if only the games embraced their own stupidity. What we see instead is the exact opposite, with Kojima treating each story like a magnum opus, and trying to tackle sucjects that, while perfectly fair game to be tackled in games, should not, under any circumstance, be tackled by Kojima. I mean, all other implications aside, when I saw the bomb scene, my first thought was "the only way that bomb is any more cartoony is if it had ACME written on the side. No way they could fit that into Paz's tiny, tiny frame". That thought was followed by "wait, they're saying they shoved ANOTHER of those things in her?".

As for his sexism, again, another mixed feeling. There's abundant creepiness around the board in the MGS series, crossing the line of exploitation over and over. Yet, The actual character of The Boss is just about one of the best and most solid female characters in games. Proof that even a stopped clock is right twice a day, perhaps?

The reason why I'll never play an MGS game -

No matter how many times people discuss MGS, no one ever, ever talks about the gameplay. In my opinion, this is almost certainly a game not worth playing.

Same thing happened with Bioshock Infinite, The Last of Us, Gone Home, etc. I played them, got bored out of my mind, and it's only recently that I recognize certain patterns regarding how people discuss these titles.

I join Yahtzee in his hate of the gaming public.

And again I'm completely blameless since I almost never buy new games at full price, and if I do want to buy a brand new game I'm going to wait for the reviews to make sure it's worth my money.

SKBPinkie:
The reason why I'll never play an MGS game -

No matter how many times people discuss MGS, no one ever, ever talks about the gameplay. In my opinion, this is almost certainly a game not worth playing.

Same thing happened with Bioshock Infinite, The Last of Us, Gone Home, etc. I played them, got bored out of my mind, and it's only recently that I recognize certain patterns regarding how people discuss these titles.

You're wrong. The gameplay in the Metal Gear Solid games is great. There's nothing wrong with it. Problem is, is it's now the ONLY good thing about them. Everything else is where the problems are, and that's what gets talked about.

If Kojima were demoted to Gameplay Director and let competent people take over Producer and writing roles the games would be so much better off for it.

Kopikatsu:

Thunderous Cacophony:

Very well put. I played MGS4 mostly to see why the series was a staple of gaming, and I was shocked at the whiplash and general shoddiness of the story. Having a FOTXTROT agent whose whole gag is having his pants drop/poop himself (I can't remember which) is fine, as is exploring the idea of taking young women from conflict zones, brainwashing them and turning them into soldiers.

Well, that's probably why you missed what makes Metal Gear a staple of gaming. Johnny (and his grandfather)'s intestinal distress are plot points. For Johnny, it foreshadows the reveal that he's immune to Screaming Mantis' manipulation because he doesn't have nanomachines to regulate his bodily functions like the rest of his squad. For his grandfather, one of the ways to escape the prison cell is to wait until Sasaki runs off to the bathroom to open the cell door and slip away.

The 'humor' tends to serve a purpose greater than just lightening the mood. If you're into Eastern media, often serious series have lighthearted moments to break up the tension. Western media tends to keep serious stories serious all the time, which burns people out and breeds apathy towards the characters and the story as a whole.

Are you being serious, or making a joke? Because I honestly can't tell. Seriously, try reading what you wrote out of context. The soldier pooping himself is a serious plot point in a serious game about the horrors of war, and this is why Metal Gear is a Staple of Gaming! I couldn't stop laughing as soon as I read that!

Kopikatsu:

Thunderous Cacophony:

Very well put. I played MGS4 mostly to see why the series was a staple of gaming, and I was shocked at the whiplash and general shoddiness of the story. Having a FOTXTROT agent whose whole gag is having his pants drop/poop himself (I can't remember which) is fine, as is exploring the idea of taking young women from conflict zones, brainwashing them and turning them into soldiers.

Well, that's probably why you missed what makes Metal Gear a staple of gaming. Johnny (and his grandfather)'s intestinal distress are plot points. For Johnny, it foreshadows the reveal that he's immune to Screaming Mantis' manipulation because he doesn't have nanomachines to regulate his bodily functions like the rest of his squad. For his grandfather, one of the ways to escape the prison cell is to wait until Sasaki runs off to the bathroom to open the cell door and slip away.

The 'humor' tends to serve a purpose greater than just lightening the mood. If you're into Eastern media, often serious series have lighthearted moments to break up the tension. Western media tends to keep serious stories serious all the time, which burns people out and breeds apathy towards the characters and the story as a whole.

Vampwizimp explained it better than I did, but there's a difference between breaking the tension and shattering it into a thousand pieces, gluing it back together, then shattering it again. MGS doesn't have light moments*, it splices together Dumb and Dumber with Hotel Rwanda and expects players to just accept it rather than getting emotional whiplash from the abrupt shifts in tone. There's a long road between "War never changes" and "poop jokes", and MGS4 hopped in a drag racer and went screeching from one end to the other and back before you could get comfortable at either end of the spectrum, or somewhere in between.

*which are all over the place in Western media, too. I'm not sure where you are getting the idea that Western stories maintain a super-serious tone without break if they want to tell a serious story; other than the most poorly written grim-dark, everything from horror movies to thrillers to the aforementioned Hotel Rwanda have moments that aren't relentlessly serious, because that's just good pacing and storytelling that prevents apathy.

SKBPinkie:
The reason why I'll never play an MGS game -

No matter how many times people discuss MGS, no one ever, ever talks about the gameplay. In my opinion, this is almost certainly a game not worth playing.

Same thing happened with Bioshock Infinite, The Last of Us, Gone Home, etc. I played them, got bored out of my mind, and it's only recently that I recognize certain patterns regarding how people discuss these titles.

Well, the gameplay doesn't cause controversy. People don't tend to talk about things don't have cause controversy.

The gameplay is amazing, but the controls tend to be bad. The exceptions being GZ, PW, and 4. For instance...in 3, you can't walk while crouching and it takes a long time to shoot your gun (You have to go into first person mode, hold square to draw the gun, aim, release square to fire, then repeat. This is actually intentionally since the game wants you to avoid combat, but eh). Circle also has about twenty eight different commands bound to it. Hold it hard to slit someone's throat, hold it semi-hard to hold them, mash hard to choke them, mash lightly to do something else, mash and press up to interrogate them, hold and analogue stick to throw them, hold and press triangle to disarm them, etc. There have been numerous times when I'm trying to interrogate someone and then accidentally slit their throat instead of just holding the knife against them.

SKBPinkie:
The reason why I'll never play an MGS game -

No matter how many times people discuss MGS, no one ever, ever talks about the gameplay. In my opinion, this is almost certainly a game not worth playing.

Same thing happened with Bioshock Infinite, The Last of Us, Gone Home, etc. I played them, got bored out of my mind, and it's only recently that I recognize certain patterns regarding how people discuss these titles.

That's because the gameplay is almost universely lauded. It has its quirks ad problems, but features some of the best boss fights in all gaming, and is the one place where Kojima's craziness really does pay off.

Fai57:

Are you being serious, or making a joke? Because I honestly can't tell. Seriously, try reading what you wrote out of context. The soldier pooping himself is a serious plot point in a serious game about the horrors of war, and this is why Metal Gear is a Staple of Gaming! I couldn't stop laughing as soon as I read that!

Johnny ate food in a foreign country and got food poisoning because he lacked nanomachines to deal with all that for him. That's a serious issue in real life (not lacking nanomachines, the other bit) and a serious plot point, yes. More important back when people would die from dehydration due to Montezuma's revenge and such, but still kind of important.

The issue with the MGS franchise is that as it continues, it is getting more self aware of it's wacky side, to the detriment of its sincerity.

What MGS is popular for is hardly unique to that series alone. Loads of popular Japanese games threw in the odd screwball moment from time to time. In Resident Evil 2 you could play as a giant block of tofu, and the Silent Hill games are famous for their optional joke endings.

Metal Gear Solid 1 was no different, apart from reveling in it a bit more. But it was always a quick little moment that took you by surprise. Now it's become routine, and each new entry has to out-quirk the former. That's why before we had small moments like the memory card being read and holding the controller to your arm, and now have dudes shitting in a barrel ba-dum tish.

When the quirk become routine it just becomes childish and boring. But I have the same problem with Platinum games and Suda 51.

Reading you mention Chris-chan was too much for today. I thought I forgot all about it.

Back on Topic; it's true that MGS gets away with some shit that we would bury any other game, and that's gradually changing from what I see, and it has to, since Kojima new approach to the series is turning it into more grounded elements.

I still want Hayter back, thou'.

What's even more telling to me than the fact that there is a market buying the game is that the publishers pushed it expecting a market for the game. That seems to say a lot concerning the franchise, its fanbase, and its developers. Whether the successful sale of a forty-dollar demo is a good thing or a bad thing is up to the consumer in the end, but it's unlikely other developers with less clout will be able to push games like this at similar prices.

As to measuring content, that's also up to the consumer. The problem is that it's difficult to do so before you make the purchase, and I imagine a demo for this game would run a little short.

Going from "endearing" to "creepy"... Yeah, that about sums up Metal Gear Solid for me at this point.

I fell in love with the series based on its rather cheesy, yet moderately serious, save-the-world scenario straight out of Michael Bay (they even used the same composer as "The Rock" for the sequel). It was wacky, tongue-in-cheek, yet played just straight enough to be intense and partially gripping. It was a blockbuster game that felt like a blockbuster movie.

Well, we're far from "The Rock" and we're far more into "Zero Dark Thirty" and "The Hurt Locker". I'm not having "fun" like I used to. It was only a few short years ago that Snake was skateboarding, backflipping off rockets, rubbing elbows with Pikachu and Kirby, and wrestling with robot ninja best friends and evil clone brothers, all with the amount of shock a man typically reserves for being told he has to wear a tie to work.

Now we're dealing with gang rape of underage girls, extremely graphic torture, and villains shoving explosive devices up a girl's wazoo.

Hideo Kojima may be many things, but someone with the maturity level and competence to tackle legitimately disturbing, brutal, and sensitive topics like that he really isn't qualified for. To paraphrase another journalist, it's shock value that doesn't feel earned in a series that hasn't proven it's capable of dealing with these issues in a mature way. It still parades its women around in cleavage-bearing jump suits (in the ARCTIC)... I don't expect it to tackle the issues it raises with any level of competency.

We used to have Silent Hill for that, before Konami ground that series into the dust. It was a dark, DARK series that dealt with all these issues... but it did so with such shocking maturity and sympathy that it earned my respect. It never made something as serious as child abuse, rape, suicide, depression, or torture something that merely existed to shock and "motivate" the player to get revenge... it was elements that helped inform the entire plot and became integral parts of each and every character and their personal journeys (either towards redemption or damnation).

Silent Hill dealt with those issues by saying so little and doing it well... more so than Metal Gear Solid ever did in any 50 minute-long cutscene.

This doesn't really change the point, but the game sold for $30, not $40.

I've never gotten people's disdain for and ridicule of the series. I have nothing against other opinions, but they just make no sense to me. Yes, MGS has 80's action movie camp. That's the point. Yes it's self-referential. Yes it's VERY Japanese despite being marketed towards Americans.

But there's always been a sadder, darker story behind the cheese and camp, ever since the first MSX2 Metal Gear. POWs, child soldiers, sleeper agents. Oppression. Trauma. Betrayal. Lives and cultures forever ruined and tainted by nuclear war. Hell, whether a legit fear or not, the Patriots fully embody many people's fears of Big Brother or the Illuminati, Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg Group, etc. We may not feel it anymore, since our history education is so bad, but the Cold War was a terrifying time for most of the world and profoundly affected our culture even down to books and cinema. I personally feel that while yes it is a bit goofy that the villain looks undead or whatever, the implied rape and the prison camp were never meant to be silly or tongue-in-cheek. They were meant to be dead serious, and someone who's followed the plot instead of emptily consuming the game for mechanics and the random cheesecake shot would see that.

Nieroshai:
This doesn't really change the point, but the game sold for $30, not $40.

Not in Australia (which I believe he's from). The price is (ABOVE) $40 down under... grr....

SKBPinkie:
The reason why I'll never play an MGS game -

No matter how many times people discuss MGS, no one ever, ever talks about the gameplay. In my opinion, this is almost certainly a game not worth playing.

Same thing happened with Bioshock Infinite, The Last of Us, Gone Home, etc. I played them, got bored out of my mind, and it's only recently that I recognize certain patterns regarding how people discuss these titles.

You thought the gameplay was bad in those games.

I'm sorry.

I'll go play my shit games now, with their shit stories, in my shit house. And love it. Now where did I put Skyrim?

EDIT: If that came off as confrontational, the friendly version: no one talks about the gameplay because only bad gameplay is worth discussing. No one complains about a door that doesn't squeak or a used car that actually runs kinda nice and doesn't suck.

Trishbot:

Nieroshai:
This doesn't really change the point, but the game sold for $30, not $40.

Not in Australia (which I believe he's from). The price is (ABOVE) $40 down under... grr....

While likely true, everyone would assume (and so far has) USD anyway and act like the game is more expensive than it is. It is a point worth note.

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