So remember that Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes impressions blog where I said I finished the first mission and thought the game would continue from there? Well boy do I look like an idiot now. It turns out that the lone mission was the only one in the entire game. Oh joy.

So yeah, it’s short. Very, very short. I was able to finish up the entire game, side missions and XOF patches included in under 4 hours. If length to money ratio is a hot-button topic for you, I’d really recommend waiting for a price drop. No matter how you cut it, this is an overpriced game.

While I insulted the combat originally, I slowly warmed up to this new gameplay. Even though enemies take longer to notice you from any distance, they can see Big Boss from across the map. This has led to some moments where I found the slow motion to be helpful, giving you a head start on fighting the far-sighted marines. After completing the first mission, you can unlock more interesting and varied weapons for the sandbox of Camp Omega.

That's really what the game feels like at times, a glorified sandbox. The game is as interactive as ever, and there are plenty of new and interesting ways to mess with guards. The game has the level of interactivity I have come to expect from Metal Gear Solid entries, and the new vehicle convoys are a blast to mess around with. However, I did quite enjoy my time in this sandbox more than I should’ve.

The side-ops are rather short, but enjoyable nonetheless. The objectives can range from protecting a VIP on your helicopter to taking photographs to blowing up Anti-Aircraft weapons. They all have grading systems, giving another incentives for completionists to replay missions again and again.

The music and voice acting is top notch, and I have to say that Kiefer Sutherland outclasses David Hayter as Big Boss. Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes’ version of Big Boss is on the road to becoming a villain, and Kiefer’s no-nonsense tones fit this antihero better. The real star of the voice acting show is Tara Strong, who does a wonderful job as a dying character. I’ve already known she can emote amazingly, but her performance is absolutely terrific in Ground Zeroes.

I found myself enjoying the music as well. This game’s signature vocal theme is a faster remix of Here’s to You, however this more upbeat version takes on a darker meaning when played in context. The other tracks are fine as well, doing a good job of raising the tensions in combat.

The story is one of the most bleak and depressing I’ve seen in games, and it takes some time to warm up to this tonal shift. There are no psychic terrorists, british clones, or nuclear T-Rexes in sight in this game. Just death, and a lot of it handled in a depressing manner. The audio tapes are certainly not for the faint of heart, depicting roughly 30 minutes of brutal torture.

The villain of this game doesn’t have much of a motive, making him seem like a bland shadow of a character, as he doesn’t have much screentime or explains his motives. However, he isn’t too hammy and is very easy to hate. As mentioned in the audio tapes, not many villains have the audacity too… Well, you’ll see yourself.

I played this on the PS3 version, and I was very disappointed by the FOX engine. Characters and environments looked decent from afar, but I saw plants pop into existence as I ran past them. That’s honestly unacceptable. The throwback mission looks nice, accurately capturing the feel of the PS1’s polygonal models.

I don’t have much to say about Ground Zeroes, but there’s admittedly not much content in the game. Any fun I had was quickly stomped by the thought that I paid 30 bucks to experience four hours of content at best. It may be a decently made experience underneath, but I can’t say it’s worth a purchase for anything but the story.

+Kiefer Sutherland does a great job as Big Boss

+Exploring the base is a blast

+The darkest MGS has ever been

-Story mode is very short

-Combat can be easy

-Skull Face isn’t too strong of a character

-Not worth the price point

Quality: 7.25/10

Fun: 4.5/10