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I really hope this isn’t the future of gaming

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    Metal Gear Survive

    Rating: 0.5 – Unplayable

    I really hope this isn’t the future of gaming

    What happens when you take a massive release like Phantom Pain, redistribute its resources into a generic zombie survival game, and lock basic functions behind a paywall? You get metal Gear Survive, a game that enforces my extreme dislike for big publishers like Konami these days. This game exists for one reason, and that is to milk anyone loyal enough to the Metal gear brand of their money.

    Metal Gear Survive takes place after the events of Phantom Pain, where you are left behind by your teammates and find yourself sucked into a wormhole that pops out of nowhere. From there, you wind up in a mysterious area that has succumbed to an unknown virus that turns people into mindless undead. Yup, there’s a distinct lack of originality and it also feels completely out of place as a Metal Gear game. As the implies, your main goal is to survive. You do this by wandering the area, collecting resources, and building your base. Now I’m usually interested in games with a survival aspect when they done well. That’s the key, however; it has to be done well. Metal Gear pretty much does nothing spectacular and its design is pretty bland. For one, the world mostly feels like a massive empty hub where everything is scattered about. This is exacerbated by the fact that you can’t run fifty feet without becoming completely winded from lack of stamina. When it comes to the whole ¡®survival’ aspect, the game is way too tedious and picky. I mean, even if you located some dirty water the game requires you to find a specific pot in order to boil it before drinking. Let’s compare it to a game where survival wasn’t even a major focus: Fallout New Vegas. In New Vegas, if you play on survival mode you can consume dirty water or raw meat to sustain your needs at the cost of some stat penalties. Optionally, you can combine items or use a cooking station to make them better. Here, option one is not allowed, and finding the tools and locations in order to craft things at the beginning is really long-winded and boring.

    After a while things finally start to pick up a little bit as you get squads that you can send out for resources, and you build your base to defend against the zombie hordes. By defending against zombie hordes, what I mean is put up a bunch of fences and stab them from the other side. A large portion of this game is just awkwardly stabbing zombies over and over again and attacking through a fence or slight altitude seems to be their major weakness. The zombie Ai is pretty hilariously stupid. There is a serious lack of originality or passion here. It’s pretty much a standard mix of survival, zombies, and base-building. In other words, it’s every recently popular trope thrown together in the hopes that its premise alone will make it good. Unfortunately, without actual effort the game just comes across as a desperate, clich¨¦ mess.

    On its own merits, the game is mediocre at best. It is literally a glorified mod. Seriously, they just took assets from Phantom Pain and reshuffled them into yet another survival zombie game, because we don’t have enough of those around these days. There is nothing special about this game other than the fact that it’s wearing the skin of a Metal Gear property. You command squads, gather resources, and shoot or stab zombies to defend the base; that’s pretty much the extent of it. The zombie AI is, as stated, kind of hilarious and broken at times. The game can be played solo but is really meant to be played online with other people. Either way, there’s nothing really special or unique about it and it feels repetitive fairly quickly. It’s also got quite a few balancing issues, which may be patched at some point but are still frustrating.

    What makes Metal Gear Survive completely unplayable for me, however, is the ludicrous business model shoved into the game. Make no doubt about it, it’s about half a game purchases up front and there are loads of microtransactions littered throughout the game if you want cool stuff. By cool stuff I mean things like save slots. Yes, if you want more than one save slot you better cough up $10 extra for an additional save slot. Each save slot costs 1000 coins in-game, which translates to $10. Something as basic as additional save slots are now locked behind paywalls- good stuff. Of course, it doesn’t stop there. You only have access to half the available weapon slots at the start and the other half have to be purchased. You start off with one command squad. The others are¡­ you guessed it, locked as paid content.

    Don’t even tell me that these are nice little convenient extras that are simply optional. First off, having more than one save slot has been a staple of this industry since the SNES days. Second, the amount of money required to get access to everything offered from day 1 is just insulting. If you purchase all the additional slots, the game will cost more than 3 times the amount it’s starting price tag suggests. Third, a game like Monster Hunter World provides extra save slots and all the capacity you could want right from the start. This isn’t convenience, it’s selling half a game and splitting up the other half into bite-size purchases.

    Oh, and even though there’s a single-player mode the game still demands a constant online connection to run. Why? I fail to see the point or benefit to a single-player experience requiring an online connection. Always-online requirements should only be implemented in multi-player exclusive games like battle royales or MMO’s. The one point to it I can imagine is that it means you always have access to those microtransactions. They can’t have you playing the game without a daily reminder of all the little extra things you can pay for. Of course, this means that despite have a single-player mode this game has a limited lifespan. Once the servers are shut down, players are completely out of luck.

    What would’ve been just a mediocre zombie experience is completely ruined by this level of a pay-to-win model where you either pay up the cash or succumb to horrible grindfest. It’s worrying because games like this, Battlefront 2, and Destiny 2 are showcasing a future where games will be trying to get as much money as possible for as little content as possible. I cannot, in good conscience, recommend this title to anybody. I’m aware that the die-hard loyalists will hate this and shower me with hateful comments, but this is intolerable. Also, I’m hardly a Kojima fanboy. I’m not even a fanboy of Metal Gear itself, I just know absolutely terrible and immoral practices when I see them. If you manage to find enjoyment in this game then more power to you, but I for one cannot condone this. If you have not bought this game yet, don’t.

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