Game Rating: 3/5
Release date: February 20, 2018
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
Genre: Action-Adventure, Survival, Stealth
Developer: Konami, Konami Digital Entertainment
Producer(s): Yuji Korekado; Noriaki Okamura
So you are a fan of the Metal Gear Solid series huh? Well get ready for a zombie survival addition. This addition to the series features a nameless hero (you), and is essentially a side story from Metal Gear Solid V. Reviews so far are quick to jump to the negatives but as a Metal Gear Solid novice I can honestly say that I had fun playing it. It gives a stealth aspect to an open world survival game. The story line is cheesy but also very quirky and entertaining. At first the game seems to have continuity issues involving the previous games, but things are cleared up after some unusual plot twists. Metal Gear Survive take some particular aspects from previous games and stitches them together into this clunky survival adventure. Get ready to be thrown into Dite from an inter-dimensional portal, evade red-pointy headed zombies, tackle waves of enemies while trying to restore warp points, and traverse poisonous fog with your trusty oxygen tank. Check out the official AButtonGames detailed review below!
Metal Gear Survive features a plethora of complicated mechanics revolving around surviving and exploring. You must eat and drink to maintain max health and stamina, but in order to do so you must butcher animals and drink contaminated water (at first). You will suffer from numerous injuries, ailments, wounds, infections, etc (and so will your allies). You can build a base, craft weapons, armor, gear, med packs, and much more, however everything requires materials which turns the game into a huge material grind. During the first few hours of the game, surviving seemed pretty tough as animals and materials are scarce and I found exploring the poisonous fog disheartening and threatening. It seemed like every time I drank water I got poisoned, and I couldn’t get very far without having to return back to camp. It’s not until you reactivate your first warp point that the game really opens up and becomes a bit easier.
Stealth seems to really pay off when exploring the environment. Normal enemies will die from a back-stab while they are unaware, and most can be back-stabbed while they are actively engaging in fighting you. Yet, stealth isn’t really an option while activating warp points and digging for energy, as ruthless waves of enemies will swarm you. But don’t worry too much because Metal Gear Survive provides you with portable structures to keep baddies at bay. You can pull a fence out of nowhere, and most wanderers are too stupid to even go around it. You can even stab enemies through it. It’s not until much later when you will experience enemies that are smart enough to jump over or shoot through your basic defenses.
The beginning of the game forces you to invest in skills that pertain to 4 different types of weapons: one-hand, two-hand, lance, and heavy. You can also upgrade stats and other basic abilities. Through these four types of melee weapons you will do most of your killing (until you get your bow). Guns are a thing but I find they have minimal usage as crafting ammunition burns through copper like dropping toilet paper in a volcano. They help in a pinch but are not a reliable main weapon.
Mechanics wise, you will be running, walking, crouching, climbing, jumping, driving/riding (on occasion), shooting, slashing, stabbing, and mauling your way through hundreds of zombie like wanderers.
Lets Dig In!
Metal Gear Survive is very repetitive as missions and material collection haves you going to the same areas to complete the same kind of missions. In late game you will even find merit in just warping to each base, picking up materials, and then warping back to camp, rinse and repeat. Yet, the game has a way of constantly unlocking new features, tools, and weapons that help build up your arsenal (seriously, even at level 55 I’m unlocking new and improved gear that I didn’t even know about: Explosive arrows for the win!). Eventually you will have a self sustaining base with several gardens, cages for livestock, exploration teams, base defense teams, and so much more. Unique weapons and gear are constantly being unlocked by finding containers in the wilderness and it feels pretty good to come across the rare materials. It almost feels like the main story of the game is the tutorial, and everything after that is the meat. This is supported by the sub-classes that are unlocked after reaching level 40. Metal Gear survive leads you to believe that every player will wind up at a max lvl of 40 with the same boring skills as everyone else until you get to this point. Why does it take so long to unlock sub-classes? Ask Konami.
As I mentioned, the game seems to open up after beating the main story, yet it still falls short of delivering a meaningful play experience. I don’t want to spoil anything big but I would like to mention that there ARE boss-like fights after the story is completed and the credits roll. But these monsters tend to be scarce (and bloody strong), and in the meantime you are left finding rare creatures, “washed up” containers, resources, and Kuban energy (Energy used to create things, level up, upgrade gear, etc)… but for what? If survive could give more stealth missions, dungeons or different type of multiplayer settings, then maybe the end game would have more meaning. But don’t give up too early on the action, there is still fun to be had.
UPDATE: A New Multiplayer mode has been released: Rescue Missions! Watch Konami for more events and multiplayer modes (As this is the real meat of the game).
One of the main parts of the story, multiplayer scavenger missions, and side missions is Iris digging. This is when waves of enemies will come at you from all sides and you must use your arsenal of weapons and defenses to protect the digger (a giant machine laser aimed at the ground). Every major mission seems to have the same theme: defend the blank (insert essential machinery here). This gets pretty old and gives the game a tower defense feel. This is still metal gear solid right? Well the reused flora and fauna will attest to it.
The story of the game is not exactly short, but it doesn’t really have much depth and the character development is very shallow. Dialogues seem forced and awkward as characters act like they are buddies but there never really seems to be much interaction between them or you. There are definitely some goofy plot twists and every time the game seems to be wrapping up a wrench gets thrown into the plan. Most of the time you can see it coming a mile away. There is only two real boss fights, and one is fought by firing 2 rail bolts at a giant monster and winning. The majority of the fights are the same wave after wave base defense. I had some laughs at the story, but overall it could use some work.
Although Konami had us buying extra save slots, extra storage and other miscellaneous things, I have been getting a good share of SV from them as a daily gift. I guess this is more of a band-aid to a problem that shouldn’t even be there. Although I don’t really think you will really need another save slot. Since your character just keeps getting stronger and there isn’t much in the way of customization or choices there’s no real point to starting the game over again. You wouldn’t want another save slot for your Call of Duty character right?
One thing that Metal Gear Survive did right is the graphics. The environment is visually appealing and the cutscenes are great (I guess it helps when you use so much content from previous games). Metal Gear Survive is set in a dry wasteland, covered in ruins, yet they repurposed their assets from their previous expansion: Metal Gear V: The Phantom Pain. In fact, the opening scene of Metal Gear Survive steals footage from The Phantom Pain. Even though Konami seemed to just stitch together bits and pieces from previous games, they still managed to create a graphically satisfying environment. There is better ambient collision and more detailed textures, and plenty of fog effects that create a mesmerizing experience.
For the PC the game looks better as long as you are using 1080p. Ultra High Definition (UHD) or 4k, seems to lag and experience serious framerate drops. So unless your gaming machine exceeds the maximum requirements of Nvidia GeForce GTX 960, don’t count on a smooth 4k experience.
The multiplayer features for Metal Gear Solid Survive are minimum at best. You must enter a co-op staging area where you can do a multitude of actions including training, crafting, and joining an online mission. UPDATE: The game offers two multiplayer missions: Scavenging missions and rescue missions. You get to choose the difficulty of the mission and then which map to use… you can only play on maps that you have already completed in single player.
Although co-op matches have huge potential to gain massive resources, kuban energy (xp), and rare weapons, it tends to get old fast. Essentially the scavenge mission is protecting the digger from waves of enemies, the same thing you do throughout single player as well. Rescue missions are a bit different, as you must find a survivor in the map, avoid wanderers and boss creatures, and make your way back to the extraction point. Multiplayer has gotten a tad better since the game release but the servers still tend to fail pretty often (or maybe that’s just my internet connection). Either way, if you get disconnected from your co-op mission the game will undoubtedly fail to reconnect you and then you lose all progress. There is no rejoining. Despite the requirement of constant connection to the MGS servers, they don’t offer many fail-safes or re-connection options to people with finicky internet connections.
Overall, the multiplayer features are fun and rewarding but could do with even more different missions, PvP modes, or even co-op story to make things more interesting. Konami… make your connection features better!
How does it compare?
Metal Gear is one of the longest and largest ongoing video game series with it’s first game being released on July 13, 1987 (Metal Gear). Since then a plethora of sequels and additions have created an entire metal gear universe with an in-depth story arc with extensive lore. Metal Gear Survive plays off of the predecessor’s stories but takes place in a parallel universe. It doesn’t really follow any of the main characters from the previous games and features a wasteland called Dite that is heavily compared to Dante’s Inferno layers of hell. The game has slightly improved graphics but really offers a reworked regurgitation of it’s previous games. There are not many improvements to speak of from Metal Gear Solid V, however I think we can look forward to patches and updates that will improve Survive in the upcoming future.
- Gates and barriers seem strange to pull out of nowhere (I suppose we can sum it up to warping technology). Also baddies will get stuck on a fence when they can very clearly go around it. They are smart enough to climb the fence, but not go around it? Pfft. Not that I want fences to be rendered useless, but this seems kind of silly.
- Metal Gear Survive requires a constant internet connection. I realize this design is used by many games but the amount of multiplayer content doesn’t really seem to warrant such a heavy connectivity option.
- There is no re-connection features in place if you disconnect from the server. This puts people with finicky connections in a bad place (like me when I’m playing at my girlfriends house).
- Sub-classes aren’t unlocked until level 40 when you have undoubtedly beaten the story already.
- Boss battles in the story mission are few and insignificant.
- Gameplay is repetitive and focuses too little on stealth for most of the game.
- Guns in your arsenal won’t have ammunition creation unlocked until you obtain the actual recipe for them. You can obtain and repair broken versions of guns, but they are still useless since you can’t craft ammunition.
- All main melee weapons take up your back slot besides 1-handed. So you are stuck with the two hip type weapons (Shotgun and 1 handed), then you have to choose between a bow, spear, two-handed weapon, heavy weapon, assault rifle, sniper rifle, or any other rifle. I understand that big weapons can’t be put on the hip, but at least let us have two weapons on our backs at once. UPDATE: Two-Handed weapons now can be put on the hip!
- Paying for extra character slot…
- More weapon variety and customization would be nice.
- More multiplayer modes would be nice.
- More stealth missions would be nice.
Conclusion – 3 / 5
If I had played all the metal gear solid games before this one, I might have rated this a little tougher but despite the issues I had a lot of fun playing through and I am still having fun with end game content. Hopefully Konami can add in some extra content and buff this game up… but as it stand I give Survive a rating of 3 stars. I can’t suggest picking up survive until the price drops. This concludes the review, make sure to leave a comment, check out our social media pages and subscribe here!