The Metal Gear games are not averse to experimentation. Survive tries to revive the franchise by introducing, ironically, zombies. Whether it is a successful experiment? You read it in this review!
The last thing I want to do is record it for Konami. This games maker was once legendary (and was even one of my favorites) but no one can deny that they have been really disgusting for the past three years. Out of pure corporate greed, they turned their backs on Hideo Kojima, the games industry and their fans in an antisocial way, so it feels downright nasty that they are now trying to back out of cowardice with a fast-paced game that tries to hitch a ride on long-overdue hypes (zombies and survival). At the same time, however, I’m also extremely allergic to bullshit, especially if it comes from shallow, emotionally-driven gamers who enjoy cancer more than actually playing games. So when I was told on Twitter last month by a bunch of anonymous gamers that I was “permanently paid by Konami” for expressing myself positively about my four-hour preview session with Metal Gear Survive, I decided to using Twitter’s blocking function. Life is too short to argue with idiots.
Anyway, I understand that many gamers have an automatic hatred for Metal Gear Survive. Because is this first Kojima-less Metal Gear a cynical attempt to make easy money by mostly recycling assets from The Phantom Pain? Yes for sure. But at the same time, I also hear people moaning that something like this, which contains zombies and doesn’t feature Snake as the main character, shouldn’t contain the Metal Gear name. , please: Metal Gear has always been a cacophony of genres and ridiculous . Or have you already forgotten the spin-offs Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and Metal Gear Ac! D? One was a Bayonetta-esque hack & slash game and the other was a card game. A card game. Not to mention that main games like Sons of Liberty featured like a vampire who could walk on water. So to say that Survive is “not Metal Gear” because it contains zombies is purely selective rage. And I don’t like that. In addition, two of Survive’s most important gameplay elements build on elements we’ve seen in previous games, namely survival (Snake Eater) and building your own base (Peace Walker, The Phantom Pain). Anyone who thinks that Survive should not be called Metal Gear, can officially shut up.
So yes, I hate how Konami has behaved lately, and yes, it hurts my Metal Gear heart that spiritual father Kojima got the middle finger. But no, these are not things that I have taken into account in my judgment about the game. After all, I believe that products should be judged on their qualities as products, and not to push a political opinion or to make a personal statement to the people who made that product. (It’s the same reason I’m not a fan of the Black Panther movie; I genuinely love that it’s a celebration of African culture and diaspora, and that the black community has their ‘own’ Marvel movie with this, but if superhero movie and part of the MCU I found it extremely mediocre. And I like to keep those two things separate. But that aside.) So, yes, somehow I want to give Metal Gear Survive a devastating insufficient for my negative feelings towards it. company, but I’m not going to do that. I would be going against my own principles and, hopefully, yours too.
The truth is that, overall, I really enjoyed Metal Gear Survive. And this is mainly due to the Fox Engine, with which the excellent The Phantom Pain was also made. It remains a technical miracle, one that manages to juggle many of Survive’s mechanics very well. The fact that the game has taken over much of what was under the hood of Metal Gear Solid V is a curse and a blessing in that respect: I have often been disturbed by locations that were transferred directly from The Phantom Pain, but I also thanked God my bare knees that I could apply almost everything I had learned in that game here. Shooting, exploring deserts and jungles, gathering resources, building your base, and messing around with your iDroid’s menus just feels, looks and sounds good. It feels very… Metal Gear.
Survive is non-canon by the way, which means it is not part of the official Metal Gear story. It does take place exactly between Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain, but in the form of a ‘what if?’ Scenario. The benefit of this is that the legacy of the Solid games is not tainted if fans unanimously decide Survive is jerk, but personally I should have liked Survive as a canonical part of the franchise. What was treated as a joke in The Phantom Pain (technology with which black holes can be made) forms the basis of the plot in Survive, and it is used in a surprisingly cool way to explain, for example, why in the game world occasionally avoid elements from the other games. What at first seemed like a lazy excuse to give this spin-off the right to exist (“a black hole appears out of nowhere that swallows half of Mother Base”) ends up being used to tell a surprisingly interesting and crazy story. Granted, the static codec talks scream ‘budget game’, but the script is particularly in tune with the franchise. When the end of the game also hits you with a big, Kojima-like plot twist, it becomes increasingly difficult not to just see this as a full-fledged Metal Gear spinoff.
Like a boss
So you may hate Metal Gear Survive, but hate it for all the right reasons. For example, the first ten hours of the game are mega hardcore, and not in a good way. The ever-present hunger and thirst constantly get in the way of all the sandbox-like fun you could have with the game world, for example. And especially thirst: clean drinking water is almost nowhere to be found. This forces you to drink dirty water, which can give you stomach flu and which gets in the way of gameplay at every turn. Later in the game you get the option to clean water, but then you are already so far that you are almost used to your chronic vomit. And perhaps even more annoying is the amount of grind that is required. Building your base costs resources and Kuban energy (the game’s currency), but so does leveling your avatar. Especially in cooperative multiplayer, where enemies are often of higher levels than in single player, it is necessary to have a well-developed and equipped character. Annoying, because it means that, unlike in The Phantom Pain, for example, you can’t win just by playing as a boss. You won’t get there with just a spear and handgun, purely because your damage output numbers are too low. Stupid.
This somewhat forced emphasis on grinding becomes clear when you look at the microtransactions Survive offers you: for the price of a beer you can buy a temporary boost pass that makes grinding a bit easier for 24 hours. This immediately creates a bad taste in the mouth, because you just know that the game would have been less gritty if these microtransactions did not exist. And I haven’t even mentioned the already infamous fact that a second save slot also costs money. Do you want to create a second character without deleting your first? That will cost you ten euros, friend. These are practices that would have been somewhat understandable if Survive had been a free-to-play game, but for (the initially seemingly reasonable price of) forty euros !? Bah. All of this is typical Konami bullshit that destroys much of the positivity that the gameplay manages to evoke. All in all, Survive is a surprisingly good spin-off that, despite its lack of originality, plays very satisfyingly, but which cuts itself in the fingers with its obvious greed. If this had not been the case, the game would have scored at least one and a half points higher; then the game could actually have gotten a life of its own.
63 Metal Gear Survive is a powerful survival experience that is very much in the way of sneaky microtransactions. However, the gameplay and the story prove that the Metal Gear name might survive without Kojima. Metal Gear Survive is a powerful survival experience that is very much in the way of sneaky microtransactions. However, the gameplay and the story prove that the Metal Gear name might survive without Kojima.