Plenty of fans and members of the press want to discuss Respawn Entertainment’s first person shooter, Titanfall, which debuts for Xbox One, Xbox 360 and PC on March 11. Coverage will only increase the closer we get to the release date, but there’s another game that is just as big, Konami’s long-awaited Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes, launching on multiple platforms the following week, March 18. Players will once again take control of Snake (Big Boss) as he infiltrates enemy strongholds, but unlike previous entries in this outstanding franchise, Ground Zeroes will take the MGS brand in a whole new direction. If you weren’t excited before, you will be after seeing these jaw-dropping features.
Kojima Productions’ Unbelievable FOX Engine
Seeing the proprietary FOX Engine for the first time produces one of those “come on guys, you’re pulling my leg” moments. Environments, character designs, skin textures and the pitter-patter of raindrops appear too realistic to believe. Clearly some form of trickery, right? Full motion video too good to be actual gameplay. Then Konami demos Ground Zeroes in front of your eyes, and it’s all over. You lose your mind. Yes, this game looks that amazing. Cloth billows in the wind, grass sways against a raging thunderstorm and sunlight kisses stone. Daytime or nighttime, Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes is unquestionably one of the best-looking videos games you’ll see in 2014.
Exclusive Missions that’ll Test Your Allegiance, and Possibly Drain Your Wallet
Most people own one video game console. It has less to do with being a fan boy and more with the simple fact that the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and their predecessors cost a lot of money. With this in mind, Konami will make the Sony or Microsoft decision that much tougher with exclusive missions for different platforms. On the PlayStation side, there’s Deja-Vu, where you step into the combat boots of classic Metal Gear Solid Snake from the PSOne days, complete with pixelated graphics; enemies also take on a similarly retro appearance. Meanwhile, Xbox fans can enjoy Jamais Vu, a mission where they’ll sneak into a military base overrun with aliens (AKA Body Snatchers) as Raiden. No, not Raiden from Metal Gear Solid 2, but rather the sword-wielding cyborg who starred in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. We still don’t know which version of Ground Zeroes to buy. Maybe both?
Open World Play, Which is a First for the MGS Series
Despite featuring lengthy campaigns, previous Metal Gear Solid games are for the most part linear. Stealth is by far the best method of attack, and while there’s limited exploration, there’s still the feeling of moving from point A to point B. That changes in Ground Zeroes. With the FOX Engine at their disposal, the developers managed to build a huge world that becomes a personal playground of sorts. You’re free to complete missions using Snake’s trademark stealth tactics or rushing in guns blazing, providing you have the necessary firepower; you can also take down enemies using hand-to-hand combat. Meanwhile, Side-Ops missions let you approach targets on the ground (by foot or in vehicles) and from the air. We’ll stop short of comparing Ground Zeroes to Grand Theft Auto 5. We doubt the world will be that big, but considering this series’ roots, presenting an open world to players represents the sort of dramatic shift we love to see.
Here’s the most incredible thing about Metal Gear Solid 5: Ground Zeroes. It is merely the prologue to what should be a more in-depth and feature packed follow-up, Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain.