Marking the first instalment after Hideo Kojima’s departure from Konami, Metal Gear Survive melts the action-adventure theme of the franchise with a survival twist. There’s no doubt that the newest addition is looking to reshape the Metal Gear experience this time around, but is it actually any good?
Metal Gear Survive hits most of the criteria you’d expect with regards to a survival game. You’ll spend a lot of your time hunting for food and water across a large map and will encounter countless numbers of Wanderers (zombie enemies) along with a few variants later on. As you progress, you’ll have to upgrade your base and complete a vast number of missions in an attempt to find a cure for a horrific infection.
Unfortunately, Survive has a number of pitfalls that make the prospect of sticking with it less than appealing. Progression feels painstakingly slow to begin with and many tasks feel unnecessarily drawn out just to provide you with the option to upgrade them later on. Collecting items felt slow, although after upgrading this felt slightly less infuriating. Many of the missions were repetitive and defending the base and other areas didn’t feel particularly varied or fun. Don’t get me wrong, there were a few moments when Metal Gear Survive showed glimmers of promise and enjoyment, but these weren’t enough to keep me feeling engaged for the majority of my playthrough. In keeping with previous Metal Gear games, Survive is also incredibly cut-scene heavily, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you find yourself gripped by the wild story. That said, I found that I lost interest in it quickly, and even later on when events picked up, I was a bit past the point of caring.
One of the things that previous Metal Gear games have been praised for in the past is the level of creativity they leave in the hands of players when dealing with enemies. Survive appears to strip this back completely. Stealth is still very much encouraged in this instalment however, there are far simpler ways to deal with enemies. Erecting fences and poking the enemies through them with a spear proved to be the most efficient way of keeping them at bay. There is a wide range of other options, such as molotovs, mines and more, but sadly they were much less effective than the fence-spear combo. Despite the countless recipes and weapons that you’ll find over the course of your playthrough, the gameplay itself doesn’t evolve much beyond what you’ll see in the opening hours of the game, and that’s really disappointing.
Furthermore, Konami have made some questionable decisions when it comes to accessing certain aspects of the game. Despite the recent uproar over microtransactions, Konami have opted to include them in Survive. With only one save slot available in the base game, Konami are charging around $10 for additional character slots, which can be purchased using the in-game currency, ‘SV Coins’. These coins can also be spent on other items, including boosts and emotes. Even though similar practices were in place in other online Metal Gear games in the past, this still seems like a bit of a cash grab. It’s also worth mentioning that this title is also always-online, meaning that it requires a constant internet connection, even if you’re playing the single player mode.
METAL GEAR: SURVIVE VERDICT
All of the issues that I’ve outlined with Metal Gear Survive essentially boil down to one thing: the vast majority of the game feels boring. It takes quite a long time for certain aspects of the game to stop feeling tedious, and its very easy to feel discouraged from playing altogether as it takes so long for the game to feel like its actually going somewhere. If you can be bothered to sit through hours of hunting, completing repetitive missions and accumulating skill points at a painfully slow rate, you’ll eventually feel comfortable enough to focus on the crazy story. If exploration and survival is your cup of tea, this one may be for you. If not, this is not worth your time.