MGSV: Ground Zeroes - General Chat Topic

I started replaying Ground Zeroes last night (lost all my data so I thought I’d start again so I can upload a finished save file to the cloud for TPP) and this is honestly such a fascinating little experience.

The level design is brilliant, the options you have are great and the tone of the game is somehow quite distinct from TPP. Giving you a variety of missions/Ops in this in the same area is great too, I just think this has such an atmosphere nailed down.

What are your guys thoughts on GZ? Honestly, one thing I’ll say: The Phantom Pain has the HUD absolutely down 110% better, but the HUD ain’t everything!


I never bonded with GZ as I did other games. But it is a very fun game. Challenging in its simplicity, especially on Hard. I try to replay it every now and then, usually trying sneak through without any contact. I die a lot, lol.
I think GZ is much harder than TPP, overall.

1 Like

I think with how far into TPP I am, I would agree. It’s got a very addictive gameplay loop with resource gathering and upgrading, but there’s something really present in GZ’s level design and limited play which makes it really hard and equally as rewarding in that regard (IMO at least)

Controversial opinion but I’d have rather well designs maps like that for each big mission than what we got in mgsv. I just wish there was more life on the mgsv maps. Maybe helping rebels, actual quest givers. Recruiting freedom fighters etc. Ground Zeroes is really the tanker chapter of mgsv.


I don’t think this is controversial tbh. The main gripe I’ve seen and agree with about MGSV is the open world maps are sparse. I still lean towards MGS shouldn’t have been openworld, stop copying Assassin’s Creed, Hideo. If openworld was necessary then one really good map would have sufficed, not two meh ones.

1 Like

I made a 28 minute review covering my thoughts on GZ two years ago:

The long short of it is that it’s a great mission and a shit product. One mission recycled seven times isn’t worth its current asking price, let alone the launch price it had to get shaved down on a week into launch. What would’ve made the game worth its asking price is if the missions weren’t all housed in Camp Omega. I don’t care how great a level is, the objective changing isn’t gonna mask the fact that each mission will feel and play very similarly in the moment-to-moment gameplay loop.

The game should’ve built towards Camp Omega. Having a series of smaller missions on other parts of the island all connecting to the larger story, and had at least one boss fight against the commander of the base that was open-ended like the rest of the game. With all of that, then I think the game would’ve been worth it.

I don’t mind repurposing the map multiple times, but that’s only if the base game has enough varied content in the onset, which it didn’t, since, again, it’s all just one really good mission repurposed multiple times with less intricacy in each reiteration.

That isn’t even getting into how much I utterly despised the writing in the game, but that’s something the review above covers.

I simultaneously agree and disagree at the same time.

What I agree with is that the open world is barren as sin, to the point of near-meaningless. I say “near” because for a few missions, the open world does add a great deal of guerilla tactics to complement the objectives. Missions where your target is on the move, for instance, like Occupation Forces, work great for open world missions because you have that entire stretch of the mountainside to lay out any number of different and creative ambushes for the convoy.

One could argue that you could just use a mission parameter area as a “mini-sandbox” for missions like that without creating an entire open world around it, and that’s fair, I think. But at the same time, it also didn’t bother me how barren the world was because the draw always felt like the missions and side missions. For me, I had a lot of fun just riding my horse and listening to some 80’s tunes after finishing a mission, then bumming some side ops in between before redoing another main op on land.

To me, it was a very strong core gameplay loop that kept me coming back consistently to the game in a way no other open world game ever has.

It’s like “shit open world but strong open world mission design,” since the missions are at least open structured as opposed to something like Assassin’s Creed or GTAV, where it’s “Do what we say or die.”

Where I disagree is on the actual level design. While the open world is barren, I maintain that the actual outposts of the game had just as strong a level design as Camp Omega. Both follow the same design philosophy:

  • Heavily guarded enemy territory with tons of cover spots and dozens of ways from A to B
  • Outposts designed to accommodate zero trace stealth or pointy-headed Rambo action
  • Secret paths to objective area in any given outpost
  • Outposts designed around open-ended missions that let you carry out the objective however you see fit

The only major differences between the two were that V’s outposts were mostly a lot smaller than Camp Omega, and that they were all attached to an open world. But I don’t necessarily agree that those make the missions or core gameplay in any way worse.

I think it all ultimately depends on what one’s personal preferences are and what sorta stealth action game they dig the most. If you prefer the ability to maintain control to adapt to full blown action and get by if situations spiral, or if you prefer screw-ups to be more punishing.

1 Like

Honestly I wish TPP had been more like Ground Zeroes. If there were fewer outposts in the maps with longer and more intense missions. Or revisiting the outposts with different objectives and seeing the actually meaningful changes to the defenses, guard schedules, armament, etc between missions based on your history with that level would have been way more rewarding than just watching as the three random guards standing at a boring checkpoint just have helmets on one day because the tranq pistol breaks the game. GZ had a lot of potential that way in having really strong level design. Camp Omega felt like a base from another MGS game that you could approach from an entirely new way with the fox engine and the upgraded controls and abilities


I do agree that GZ was a great example of konami taking advantage of MGS’s die hard fans. the price is the biggest dent i could hit it for. if it was say 10 bucks i think it’d be looked back alot more fondly. I do think kojima did at the start intending to make this a darker story but somewhere along the way lost his path. I cant say I agree with everything you’ve said in this video, i can definitely understand what you’re trying to say/coming from. I see waht you’re saying about the rape scene though, there’s nothing gained from it other than it to just sounds like shock porn. i gotta say the tapes for me are the least memorable parts of these games but i get it, it’s in the lore and really it was unnecessary since kojima did nothing with it. No traumtized Chico, nothing else but to show skullface is a bad guy.

I mean mgs could have still been open world, id have just liked a few places that were a lot more of a handcrafted experience. like the Quarantine scene!


That was the biggest missed opportunity in all of the series for me, because that was the original plan, making Chico a boss and potential buddy in MGSV:

His Null-looking costume was presumably what he’d change into when he sided with you after his fight, which could’ve ended with us killing him instead.

But Kojimbob, in his infinite wisdom, cut Chico from the game completely and replaced him with Eli, whose presence bungled the entire story.

I think when it’s a mixture of both open design and something more handcrafted, you can get really effective, like mission 20 with the Devil’s House and the eeriness leading into it.

For me, the biggest issue with GZ, storywise, is that MGS is silly. By its very name, it’s really schlocky nonsense, and that’s what’s so fun about it. But trying to go too dark in a series about a robot dinosaur with a robot dick that pisses either fire or lasers just seems so tonally off to me.


I mean To me mgs3 is a pretty dark game, sure there’s that schlocky humor around but nothing comes to mind really in terms of the main story, death river, dude’s with their heads dangling off after you slit their throats, snake’s brutal beat down by Volgin and interrogation. I got to say it’s more impactful now watching it as an adult then when i was a teen, Volgins extremely perverse sadistic nature when it comes to EVA as well. i do think, beside the boss’s which lets be honest, games of this era all had over the top bosses. i do think Kojima in some ways always wanted to lean toward darker storytelling.

But I guess it’s just a difference of point of view. i know MGS can be cheesy at time and MGS4 is the biggest culprit of it. I just enjoy GZ’s darker theme alot more, except ofcourse the rape stuff that played no role in anything. Chico should have ben kept in, another throw away character.

MGS3 is certainly brutal at times, but I never actually got a sense that was dark. Nothing about the game ever really feels uncomfortable, and so much of Volgin’s more sexual sadism is implied (which I’ve always believed works better than subjecting us to the stuff first hand for the same result). All of the subject matter inspiring these games is inherently dark due to how real it is, but the way everything is conveyed never especially feels like it’s getting under my skin the way genuinely dark stuff tends to.

Kojimbo has stated he wants to delve into horror more, and since he’s making an Xbox game supposedly, maybe, that’s where he’ll go next. I just know whatever he makes isn’t gonna be on the scale of MGSV or Death Stranding. Unfortunately, right now, it’s hard to say where he stands. On PS4, the game sold 3 million copies, including digital, and hit around 500k in the first month of its PC release. So it may have surpassed 4 million copies by now, and they used an existing engine, which helps with costs. It just depends on how much went into development and marketing. I mean, it was the first game Kojimbo ever made to end up on Conan. (Conan O’Brien should be a boss fight in his next game. He’d be a freakish spider man who’s more leg than man…though, that might just be Conan.)

What I appreciated about GZ is its structure. I feel like if we ever get another Metal Gear game, giving it the Portable Ops campaign layout with GZ style levels in lieu of MPO’s, and MGSV’s accessibility, variety and replay value, and you got yourself a winner. The atmosphere certainly worked wonders to make you feel isolated and alone. I didn’t mind the lack of the nonstop rain in V, but you really do feel that coldness in the original GZ mission which works wonders for immersion.

The subject matter in GZ was not handled well, there’s no disputing that. At the time we thought it would be salvaged in TPP, which was threatening to explore territory that is off limits in mainstream media, things you’re not supposed to talk about. In hindsight I was foolish to think Hideo would be competent enough to brave those grounds. In the end he went for “she breathes through her skin”, “nukes bad” and so on.

On the issue of the price, yeah it was overpriced. Fans of the series didn’t care, as we could comfortably pour 30+ hours into it as it tided us over until TPP. It is obviously not good to charge almost full price for a demo, but to be frank, compared to what Nintendo, Atlus, EA, Activision and others have been getting away with for decades, this is nothing. In the nicest possible way, if you are still a Nintendo customer post-Wii/3DS, I don’t think you can have a valid opinion on value for money or video game pricing anymore.

At the end of the day, the game was tight. To this day one of the best stealth experiences out there.


This is so true. And honestly it’s kind of incredible how collectively as a fan base we’ve made that same mistake over and over with Kojima.


Yes, this is just the thing, ground zeroes promised (at least for me) a depth of level design, dialogue and plot that looked incredible. The game changes tones quite fast, but it’s engine is so addictive you don’t even realize unless you play GZ again.

1 Like