Why You Shouldn’t Write Off Metal Gear Survive
I get it. I was as skeptical as anyone. When Konami announced that Metal Gear would be continuing (without series creator Hideo Kojima) as a zombie/survival game, I was not interested. However, after playing Metal Gear Survive at E3, I’ve changed my tune a bit. Though a 20-minute demo isn’t enough time to offer a full endorsement, I no longer question the game’s right to exist – and neither should you. Here’s why.
Metal Gear Survive generally uses the same control systems Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain – meticulously polished and executed games. After being refined during the course of Metal Gear Solid V’s development, this control scheme still feels great. If you’re familiar with MGS V, you’ll be comfortable with Metal Gear Survive almost immediately. Responsive and intuitive gameplay is something that studios struggle to achieve, so starting with that already in place gives Metal Gear Survive a leg up.
I played a team-oriented defense mode, and during breaks between waves, players have the chance to fortify the base with various traps including barricades, oil slicks, and spinning blades. You also have weapons like remote-activated C4, which helped me eliminate several groups of enemies rushing our base. My favorite, however, was a Walker Gear that I obtained by running out to do a side objective between waves. Just like in MGS V, Walker Gears are highly mobile, and mine came with a powerful machine gun and melee attack that made me feel like a one-man army.
I had a surprisingly good time with moment-to-moment gameplay in Metal Gear Survive. It controls well, provides more tactical options than I expected, and has potential for interesting teamwork among allies. Because I only had a short time with the game, I can’t speak to the long-term progression or other ways that it could keep players interested, but the one round I spent defending a generator from encroaching waves of zombies was a lot of fun.
Though Konami has only highlighted the multiplayer experience so far, the game will also launch with a single-player mode. I didn’t get to see it in action, but the company says it will focus on players using a variety of survival techniques, including building a base camp and collecting resources.
Even considering all of that, I’m still not completely sure who this game is for. As a longtime Metal Gear fan, I’m not particularly drawn to the story or the apparent focus on multiplayer. But I’m also not sure that Metal Gear Survive’s vision for its world and modes is going to pull in fans of shooters or survival games. I can’t ignore the baggage and expectations that come along with the Metal Gear name, but the fact that it faces an identity crisis doesn’t negate Metal Gear Survive’s solid mechanics.
Metal Gear Survive is scheduled to release in early 2018 on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.