So far I don't think Konami nor Kojima has done a great job with the marketing and publicity behind Metal Gear Solid V. Don't get me wrong: I found the Phantom Pain prank humorous if transparent, but for some gamers Konami has lost the PR war with its strategy to release MGS V: Ground Zeroes – a prologue to the main experience: MGS V: The Phantom Pain. That being said, I couldn't be more excited to play Ground Zeroes.

I don't begrudge that many gamers have already blanched at paying $20 to $40 (depending on which system and delivery method you choose) on what is a prologue to the main attraction: The Phantom Pain. For me – a big fan of the series – I don't see it in terms of money as much as weighing Ground Zeroes' overall value. In that light, it fits right in with other games in the series and how I play them.

I always take the first few hours of a Metal Gear game slow. I proceed with extreme caution and use the time to get a grip on the gameplay. Since Metal Gear games' controls have traditionally been different than other titles (oftentimes irritatingly so), running before you can walk does me no good. Thus, I'm excited to play and approach Ground Zeroes similar to the way that I poured through every aspect of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty's tanker opening, the intro forest portions of Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, and soaked in the graphics of PlayStation 3's Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots.

Given some of the new tweaks for MGS V, such as tagging enemies with your binoculars, the lack of hard indicators for when the coast is clear, and the new driving, there should be plenty to master in Ground Zeroes. I also don't expect to simply plow through the prologue because of the added content of the side missions, XOF badges collecting, and the PS4-exclusive return to Shadow Moses.

Then again, for me it's not simply about a laundry list of time-sucks to artificially boost and justify how much time I spend with the game. I'm looking forward to Ground Zeroes because it sounds like a fun Metal Gear experience that is more than just a slight demo. I'm sure I'm going to dissect its events with fans like my coworkers Tim and Joe, and that's a part of the involvement that I don't want to miss out on. I also don't want to forgo the chance to have some of my progress in the prologue give me a head start in The Phantom Pain.

Through the years, I haven't always agreed with all the moves that Kojima has made with his franchise, but I've also maintained my great excitement for the each entry. That tradition continues with Ground Zeroes.

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