Snake isn’t here to save you.
I think we can all agree that Konami is reaching for a cash-in here. With Kojima no longer a part of Konami, the Metal Gear license is up for all manners of exploitation, and while Konami had previously been content with using their IPs to turn a quick buck in the gambling market, they clearly aren’t completely done with standard video games.
Cue the announcement of Metal Gear Survive, which takes place in some weird, alternate universe. As if Metal Gear Solid wasn’t weird enough already, prepare your brains for crystal-headed zombies to stalk you through the wilderness.
Can You Survive?
Like most other survival games, Metal Gear Survive appears to have the hunger and thirst thing going for it, while adding in the need for oxygen for some reason. I guess the alternate universe you’re dumped into has really poor air quality? Anyways, Metal Gear Survive‘s beta doesn’t explain much of the survival aspect of the game, but then again, it doesn’t need to. The stats you’d normally need to worry about don’t come into play due to the limited scope of the beta and the short time you spend in the world between matches.
There’s a singleplayer game planned, though the beta doesn’t give any insight into what that might be. It’s locked out at the moment, but there’s the wave-based survival mode to play with. It’s not exactly difficult, but I’ve also been playing on Easy mostly. I imagine that harder difficulties extend the match length and increase the difficulty of enemies. That doesn’t mean the survival mode is always a cakewalk though.
In order to hold your own, you’ll need to keep track of your equipment in between matches. Ammo and equipment doesn’t replenish on its own, you’re required to use resources to craft bullets, gear, defensive items, and medical items. It’s a bit different from the standard wave-based modes in other games where items are on timers or replenish on their own. I can’t say I’m opposed to this being a game mechanic, but it’s best for players to know this ahead of time.
The game itself handles pretty well. If you’re familiar with the controls of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, then you’ll feel more or less at home. It’s a competent shooter, though there’s far less emphasis placed in stealth (at least in the mode that’s actually playable). Enemies are plentiful and ammo is at a premium, so it’s imperative that you don’t spray and pray.
If you were concerned that combat in Metal Gear Survive is too simple, never fear! Taking damage can result in injuries that impose penalties on your character that consistently drain health from you. It’s wise, for this reason, that you always keep a decent stock of medical supplies on hand, unless you plan on relying entirely on your teammates to keep you standing (slacker).
Of course, your teammates can be just as dangerous to you as the enemy. Careless fire and wild swings of your melee weapons can hurt nearby allies, so you might want to make sure you have a clear shot before you start going for headshots. This particular issue can be infuriating if you’re using a bow or firearm, and you have a Rambo-esqe player on your team that wants to go toe-to-toe with the crystal zombies.
Limited crafting is also available within matches, as long as the team has collected enough materials to make something. Anything you gather during the match is added to a pool of resources, which are stored in the defensive position around the drill. Anyone can walk up to a crafting bench and restock on ammo or create defensive items like fences or spinning blades.
Additionally, there are powerups available if the team has collected enough of Kuban crystals (or energy… or whatever). This not only functions as a currency within matches to purchase powerful weapons, but it can also be used to speed along the process of the match in a pinch.
Following matches, you’re given the option to run around and bust open cardboard boxes full of items you’ve earned. Unlike other items you’ll find during the match, these are unique to you only, meaning you needn’t worry that anyone is taking what you earned. The final screen the shows up is the standard match summary, listing out what you’ve earned and how you performed. There isn’t much else to say.
It would be nice to be able to stick with a good group if you’re playing with random folks, but sadly that isn’t an option I guess. If you play Quick Match, you’re booted to the queue after each game, and forced to wait for new players.
From the menu, which I’ve obviously started calling The Matrix, you can craft new items, repair your damaged ones, customize your character, upgrade your abilities, do a little target practice, and queue up for more matches.
Speaking of upgrades, you can not only improve your equipment and craft new items, but you can also increase the potency of your attacks and boost your stats using the aforementioned Kuban… stuff.
When you’re not busy screwing around or blowing yourself up with infinite grenades, you can take a stroll over to the workbenches to make something new to play with. Now, just because you stroll around the map in between waves of enemies collecting anything that isn’t nailed down, and breaking everything else that is, that doesn’t mean you take those spoils home to the matrix, directly. Instead, you’re given portions of materials at the end of each match that can be stored in your depository, which then can be used to make new toys.
Metal Gear Solid, Or Metal Gear Suck?
So will Metal Gear Survive live up to its name, and survive a launch day without getting savaged by gamers and critics? It’s hard to say. The beta certainly is a competent experience with fun to be had, but it’s hardly a complete experience to say the least. There’s so little to be seen in the beta, but I can definitely say that it’s fun to play around with. As far as wave-based survival shooters, Metal Gear Survive is pretty good, but there needs to be far more actual depth to the game before I would be willing to drop money on it.
If Metal Gear Survive ends up containing more gameplay modes and a meaningful singleplayer campaign, it might just pull it off. Otherwise, this might be the end of the Metal Gear IP as we know it.
Also, Konami; would it kill you to make it easier to alter the controls? I spent the first 20 minutes trying to find the menu so I could invert my aim and increase the sensitivity.
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