METAL GEAR SURVIVE
By Jef "JeffAlpha" P. on February 27, 2017
Once upon a time (1987) there was this game called Metal gear right ? And, like a while later, there was this game called Metal Gear: Solid; a stealth/action game about a guy called "Snake", who is named after the main protagonist of the movies Escape from New York and Escape from L.A., played by Kurt Russell. This, by the way, has absolutely nothing to do with this story by the way...
Speaking of stories, trying to explain Metal Gear lore to the unknowing is challenging to say the least. Don't worry, YouTube has got your back so go look it up! Wait... not like right now.. I mean later! Back to the game at hand; I've been a big fan of the Metal Gear series since Metal Gear: Solid came out for PSX. The franchise has spawned some truly great games. From what I understand, there is something different about this latest addition to the series.
Those of us familiar with the franchise might have picked up on Hideo Kojima not working with the developers at Konami anymore. I won't get into that too much, although this fact made me all the more curious as to what direction the Metal Gear franchise is going in from here on. Will it still be the Metal Gear that we all know and love? Well, Metal Gear Survive might not be what we are used to. The setting has changed to an alternate dimension wasteland inhabited by zombies. Although this this doesn't sound like tactical espionage action, I think the Metal Gear mechanics might work really well.
Apparently, this Metal Gear spin-off focuses on events that took place spread across the period of several Metal Gear games. There have been experiments involving some kind of mirror world called Dite in an alternate dimension. Long story short, it's like a kind of hell where the undead still roam a barren and inhospitable mirror image of Earth. These undead are infected with a virus causing them to be extremely hostile and have glowing red crystals, called Kuban, where their heads used to be. Your mission is to find out what happened to the poor bastards they sent in before you, rescue survivors and gather all the Kuban you find along the way.
Since there appears to be a multiplayer aspect to the game you get to create an avatar instead of playing a predetermined character. The customization options are deep enough to make your avatar feel "unique" but not too elaborate to make you waste time on features no one will ever look at again. You get to choose between Japanese and English voice acting which I think is really cool. As one is used to when playing Metal Gear games, the tutorials are information packed. Although this mass of information might seem overwhelming at first, it's all pretty basic stuff, especially for those among us who have played a Metal Gear game before. So far, I'm a few hours into the game and I have kind of mastered the basics. There are a shitload of customization options for your base of operation, crafting and upgrading and unlocking perks to suit your playstyle and weapons of choice.
Dite looks lonely, dry and reeks of desperation. Bright colors or lights are few and far between and usually signify one of two things. Either it's a landmark and you're happy you don't have to die because you got lost in a cloud of toxic dust, or they make you stop dead in your tracks because there are hostiles or loot nearby. Other than that I suppose the in-game world looks like it should, a place you desperately want to get out of. The controls might take some getting used to at first because... well your avatar starts off pretty weak and its harsh out there, so this has a profound impact on how a character handles. I'll explain this in more detail in the next section.
Now, they didn't call the game Survive for nothing. Don't let the weird crystal heads fool you. From the moment you encounter your first Wanderer (that's what the Zombies are called) you feel an immediate sense of urgency. These guys don't play around. They're aggressive, much faster than you would like them to be and they often run in packs. Metal Gear has always done a great job in motivating you to opt for a tactical stealth approach instead of charging in guns blazing. In this respect, Metal Gear Survive is no different. Even more so, since you don't start off with any type of fire arm but rather a pointy pipe with some rags wrapped around it. In time, dreams of owning your very own full automatic rifle fade and you're just happy with anything you can find. Also, fire arms are noisy and noise is bad, mkay?! I mean, we've all seen The Walking Dead, right?! Anyway, if you thought wanderers were your only problem you're sadly mistaken.
Remember what I said about your avatar being weak? Of course this is in comparison to other bullet sponging video game characters, but your avatar is as high maintenance as that one spoiled ex you used to date. Keeping you character well fed, hydrated and in overall good health takes effort. My avatar is quite often out of breath, hungry and vomiting all over the place from drinking dirty water. Being hungry or wounded actually affects your ability to function properly. Stuff like blurry vision or being temporarily immobilized obviously has its drawbacks. If that wasn't enough there are these areas with toxic dust. To traverse this terrain you need an oxygen tank to survive, and yes it will run out of oxygen. The HUD has numbers constantly reminding you of your current physical state which adds to the pressure of finding resources fast.
Whether or not Hideo Kojima ever imagined Metal Gear to involve zombies and alternate dimensions is besides the point. Metal Gear Survive is a spin-off that fits in pretty well with the zombie/survival genre that is popular at the moment. The experience Konami has in making games really shines through. All the mechanics work as they should, everything looks polished and the game is plenty challenging. I, for one, am looking forward to how crazy stuff gets as I progress!
METAL GEAR SURVIVE
February 22, 2018