Metal Gear Survive: will Konami succeed in the surprise?
It’s really weird with Metal Gear. On the one hand, many players A) can hardly believe that the Big Boss or Solid Snake saga is over and B) can hardly believe how it ended, so purely narrative. On the other hand, after the story-patching of the last part and Konami’s painful divorce from Hideo Kojima, no one really wanted to leave it. Konami is still at hand and seems to want to prove something.
A game that relies on character personalization is a bit of a contrast to the Metal Gear universe, which revolves around well-defined, larger-than-life characters. It would be nice if, at least in the background, a dazzling figure pulled the strings.
I’ll be honest, this came way too early for me and yet the composition of its ingredients is very convenient, the vibe is really arbitrary without the rock star appeal of the illustrious main and secondary characters of this universe. Then again: MGS5 was perhaps one of the best games I have ever been able to experience in purely systemic terms. How bad can more of it be? After the release date, the answer is at least not clearly to the disadvantage of Metal Gear Survive and has been postponed to the release in early 2018 for the time being.
I played it in a short foursome co-op session and got something whimsical and heavily personalizing that mixed Metal Gear with Fortnite. Setting out an area in a team with fences and barricades built from nothing but crafting ingredients to defend a generator against onrushing hordes of zombies certainly doesn’t sound like the crown of creativity, but opened with a wealth of weapons – especially in the direction of close combat options some tactical depth. At least in theory. It remains to be seen whether this will also be needed; it is definitely there.
Then again: simply leaving this engine and these gadgets – and the new ones Konami has come up with – would be a waste too.
The handling went straight back to the first day, so that in between I kept thinking about how good it was to be here again, even after I had mostly completed the MGS5 missions with S-ranks. This feeling when the wind whistles in your ears while sprinting, these animations when you melt from the upright run elegantly like a two-legged snake into the stealthy crawl space. I have seldom fetishized the confluence of audiovisuals and manipulation as much as I do here.
And yet, this is a completely different beast. A crafting survival title in a metal gear sneaking suit, which so far has only touched on an insane parallel dimension story instead of going to the full to give the fans at least some of the “everything goes” madness that they are used to the series. You have to see how much space there will be for it in the end. For the moment, it all seems very systemic and careful with its mechanisms. Even more than in the less talkative Phantom Pain, everything revolves around missions, loot acquisition and building a base in this familiar, alien world. That can easily fascinate for hours and what after the Horde defense with revolvers, mines, fighting rods, fences and traps on blueprints to recreate from the reward boxes, looked like interesting personalization options.
Maybe it will work after all. As a low-price spin-off, the game is at least honest with where it sees itself in the franchise.
Technically, it looked great on a developer kit with Xbox One X specifications and, as I said, played flawlessly. The question will be whether there is still a lot of desire for another search, collect and craft game at the beginning of 2018. I’ve definitely played worse tracks of this type before, and the general handling of the fifth Metal Gear … it just feels amazing to move through this world. Finding blueprints of varying rarity, expanding your base and thus expanding the area of influence that can be explored, that can be a nice cycle. Visually, there is still a lack of character or it is often too close to the map of the original, but as I said: On Steam, poorer titles based on this pattern are released almost every week. Whether that should be the claim of a new Metal Gear is the question, even if it appears at half the price. After all: More or less nothing has been said about the single player mode, which is interlinked with the co-op, but runs completely separately. We will see.