I came to Metal Gear Survive wanting to rip the game to shreds after an underwhelming Beta experience on PC that showed some glaring issues. However, giving the game a second chance proved beneficial as my opinion of it rose.
Metal Gear Survive's glaring issues are that it was pushed out of production way too early, and with a vital component absent from the credit and intro sequences. However, many Metal Gear fans have pointed out over the years that Hideo Kojima isn't a one man studio making these games. He provides his vision and the actual studio makes it happen.
Talented people creating the games' mechanics, dialogue, cinematics all deserve credit. There are no Kojima-driven conspiracy stories in there, but actually playing the game is quite gratifying thanks to a group effort. If it weren't pushed out of production so soon, it could indeed be a proper Metal Gear game worthy of the name.
Fine, I turned a blind eye and got to playing. Then it hit me again as I navigated through the menu where I simply couldn't get rid of the feeling it was designed with a console-first mindsed. It's there that I figured that Metal Gear Survive's rushe nature is an issue that will raise its head several times during gameplay, so I made my peace with it. Well, it was more of a compromise really. I had preemptively christened it a cashgrab, but tried to keep an open mind.
The story and characters
This is the part where Kojima's absence is most evident. The story itself actually fits Metal Gear's universe. ''But how do wormholes and zombies fit in Metal Gear, when even Kojima himself said they don't?'' Oh boy am I going to get a lot of hate for this one, but hear me out. That statement actually made Kojima sound like a hypocrite, as he himself pulled a similar story back in Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater.
Remember The Sorrow? You literally walked in some sort of spirit realm with him, he was the ghost of the man who was shot two years prior. So how do wormholes to different dimensions not fit in a universe with a spirit realm? How does a parasite that possesses human hosts turning them into zombies not fit a universe where incorporeal beings walk the earth? Sure, it was only part of Snake Eater's story but it proved that there is place for such things in the MGS universe.
Granted, I was really sceptical about the whole wormhole storyline, but the game's opening cutscene gives a nice little rundown of the situation and introduces you to, wouldn't you know it, a game story with roots in political fiction. Like in an actual Metal Gear game. Soon, I discovered new intriguing bits of history and plot twists that kept me me invested enough to finish the storyline.
It's not all sunshine and rainbows though, as I mentioned before - this is an unfinished product. The opening sequence is the only cutscene for a long while and mid-game treats are replaced by voiced slideshows. This is where the game starts losing its Metal Gear vibe and starts feeling like a generic JRPG.
Make no mistake, it's not the same as the communication sequences in previous titles. It can't be as your character is a silent protagonist. The game's dialogue is put in the mouth of side characters. In their scramble for profit, Konami have managed to fumble some of Metal Gear's essential elements - storytelling through cutscenes and a protagonist with personality.
The voice acting itself is sub par. There are several exceptions though, for better and worse. One such example is Matthew Mercer being as fun as always, and his work is counterbalanced by a certain terrible robotic voice. I will not reveal who or what I'm exactly referring to, for the sake of avoiding spoilers, but the voice actor involved sounded as if Morgan Freeman plugged an electrical bagpipe into his bottom.
Crafting and basic needs
This is where Metal Gear Somehow manages to shine in spite of itself. Crafting is executed well and fairly intuitively. For example, in order to craft bullets you will need Copper, Lead and Gunpowder. A similar logic is followed with base building, but the UI for crafting on PC is downright terrible. Remember, this is a console port. Moving objects with your mouse is sluggish, what could easily be done with mouse scroll is stuck to keyboard controls, etc.
The survivors you recruit have their strengths and weaknesses , you can put them in different roles but they feel like a chore, as there is barely any benefit to them. It's nice to have replenishing stores of food and water in your base though.
When it comes to basic needs, there is this inevitable feeling your character is a glutton. It will take them less than a day to go from full belly to literally dying of hunger or thirst. Maybe they have parasites we can't cure in game. This proves to be especially irritating during the beginning of the game.
Metal Gear Survive's control scheme may need some getting used to. When you hit enemies in melee you feel the power or speed behind your attack, and you have a variety of weapons to chose from accommodating different playstyles. Likewise, enemy hits hurt and you can't endure more than a few. Should you get knocked down in a horde of zombies, you're done for. At times it feels like Dark Souls' casual step brother.
The environment is fairly interesting but I'm not actually sure if I should credit Konami for it. Just like the Fox Engine, sneaking and combat mechanics, the game's environment has been ripped straight out of Metal Gear Solid V. Assets from The Phantom Pain can be seen left and right, the game is full of them which begs the question ''How much, if anything, in this game is original content?''.
The Phantom Pain was only published by Konami, it was developed by Kojima Productions, while Survive is both developed and published by Konami. Maybe with all the assets already available, Konami saw a cheap development opportunity that resulted in the game at its core being the cashgrab that it is.
Metal Gear Survive's multiplayer is highly intertwined with singleplayer as character development, loot and resources carry over from one mode to another. Player communication is essential at higher difficulties but the game has integrated voice communication, so you just need a headset and you're good to go.
It's a good idea to get familiar with the game's systems in singleplayer first, in order to spare your team the trouble of constantly being a man short due to lack of experience. Considering title's controversial nature for bearing the Metal Gear name, and the deluge of players raging at Konami for dispelling Kojima from the franchise, it is questionable how long it will be able to keep player numbers high enough for smooth multiplayer sessions.
Konami shot themselves in the foot by calling the game ''Metal Gear''. This sparked outrage among Metal Gear fans who were disappointed with their beloved franchise shifting over to the survival genre with light story elements, from the much lauded narrative driven espionage laden political fiction.
This way it will be hard to get the player base to reach self-sustaining critical mass, as people are literally refusing to play it and F#%" Konami actually became a trend prior to the game's release. They could literally name it "Dite :Survival" and call it a Metal Gear spin-off. This way they wouldn't have poked the bear, but still have a way to draw in Metal Gear fans.
Metal Gear Survive ended up being a fun game, despite being an obvious cashgrab manoeuvre by Konami. All its flaws are countered in at least equal measure by its qualities. It's well worth the time spent but when it comes to its price tag, it may be a good idea to wait for a 25 or 50 per cent sale.
AltChar score: 6/10 - Meh. Serious potential hobbled by rushed execution.