Ground Zeroes: The first non-Metal Gear Metal Gear. Part Three, Final.

Ground Zeroes issue number 121423: hashtagnothinguponcompletion.

This is a big detractor for me as a fan of the series and someone excited for the game: You get nothing for getting 100 percent. Absolutely nothing. Again, big shock. In past games you would get get a bundle of things depending on conditions met such as: A Tuxedo costume that you can wear when replaying the game, a bandana(Editors note: This almost said banana) which gives you infinite ammo, a stealth camo device that turns you completely invisible to enemies, allowing you to poke and prod and preform all sorts of not-very-nice activities. You would also sometimes receive a weapon such as a Revolver or a Patriot, with infinite ammo.

You know, Joaquin Miller, I have no idea why you are still here.

No matter what, you would at least be given SOMETHING as a reward for your dedication. But in Ground Zeroes, the game in which these items would have made the most sense - what with the added replayability - gives nothing. Literally nothing. You don't even get a cassette tape. You get a whole lot of nothing.

I wouldn't say this was disappointing so much as it was disheartening. The game is running on the FOX engine, an engine that allows you to take a physical object and tron-scan it into the game in a fraction of the time it would have taken you to manually design it. The ease of such a task is at an all time high. In fact we already know that The Phantom Pain has a multitude of weapons featured within, so why not port one of those over to Ground Zeroes? After all, they are the same game.

A few weeks before Ground Zeroes officially released it was announced that all costumes and outfits unlocked in GZ would be ported over to The Phantom Pain when it comes out. They then went on to show a cross-brand PR event with Puma showing Big Boss wearing the specially made and also extremely limited Ground Zeroes Puma gear. And naturally, me and a lot of other people thought that this implied there would be a special outfit in the game in which Big Boss can wear these clothes, perhaps a special unlock. But it turned out to not be the case. In fact, the only costumes you can unlock in the game are the ones found in the not-so-console-exclusive missions Deja Vu and Jamais Vu, which include PS1 Grey Fox, Solid Snake, and Metal Gear Rising Raiden, White Raiden, and Green Raiden. So, not very exciting after all. Sure, it would be ungrateful to brush it off as nothing, but really it feels so underwhelming considering what the series used to consider costume unlocks.

Ha ha, yeah, I still got it.

This is just a another issue that, while bothersome on its own, it only makes other issues seem even more odd, like the lack of a cardboard box, but Hideo Kojima actually explained the reason for this, and in doing so almost agrees with the idea that Ground Zeroes really is the first non-Metal Gear Metal Gear game.

In this video interview, Hideo Kojima was asked why the iconic yet quirky staples of the Metal Gear Solid series, like the cardboard boxes, knocking on walls or hiding in lockers were removed, and he had this to say:

"Cardboard boxes will be in The Phantom Pain, but in a way that they don’t conflict with the tone of the game." and then "The same goes for all these quirky, funny elements that are characteristics of Metal Gear games."

In his own words, Ground Zeroes was too serious for these elements or else they would break the dark setting. It's disappointing that he would make a decision like this in order to maintain the illusion of a super serial dark and special unique snowflake story but then only take half measures when it comes to other elements, such as enemies going on alert for a moment of time and then returning back to their (static) patrol like nothing ever happened, because once upon a time Ground Zeroes was going to be a lot different.

It makes me wonder if Kojima is maybe embarrassed by these elements or ashamed by them. They are staples of the franchise that do more good than harm and to all of the sudden hide from them puts a strange taste in my mouth. We are in an age of video games where everything is hardcore dramatic and every game takes itself so seriously now that we have this split between games that take themselves way too seriously and then we have satirical parody-esque games like Saints Row and Mass Effect 3 that take themselves just seriously enough to shoot few goofs in there to make it unique.

I wonder exactly how "limited" these scenarios are going to be in The Phantom Pain, since the cardboard box has been relegated to side mission encounters only.

 It was announced that every guard has changing patrol patterns to make it increasingly harder to play because you are never aware of their locations, adding a dynamic element to the game where you have to play it very safe, even more so than in other MGS games since you always know where they are thanks to the soliton radar or other, more obvious means. But here, where the enemies blend so effectively into the darkness of night, you can never be sure who's around what corner. It started to sound like Ground Zeroes was becoming quite possibly the best stealth game of all time, with fans wondering just how dynamic the game could be thanks to the FOX Engine. Somewhere down the line, however, that element was removed and enemies will either stand still until the end of time or walk back and forth as they would do in other games.

It's just another disappointment with Ground Zeroes. What was once known as a small game with titanous ambitions turned out to be a small game with miniscule ambitions that would seem to drop entire features in favor of an illusionary dark toned story that takes place mostly in collectible and entirely optional cassette tapes than the cutscenes in the one story mission in the game.

And of course the first probably biggest issue I have with the game. The ultimate and penultimate issue. The alpha issue, the omega issue. The one, the only, the... Lack of an actual Metal Gear.

MGS1 had REX, MGS2 had RAY. MGS3 had The "swaggin and shaggin" Shagohod. MGS4 had everything under the sun. Portable Ops had some weird thing that I didn't truly understand and Peace Walker had Metal Gear Zeke. Hell even Rising had an original Metal Gear and that game was canceled like eight times.

But Ground Zeroes, while only taking place a few weeks after the events of Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, no Metal Gear is to be found. No Zeke, no Chrysalis, no Peace Walker, no Pupa, no "Bigger Than The Original Xbox" Cocoon. First of all, what. Did they seriously just leave those mobilized weapons of mass destruction chilling all max and relaxing all cool in the middle of Costa Rica? Be sure to donate to the Costa Rican Anti-Mechanized WMD charity fund after little Jimmy decides to board one of those fucking things and set fire to the country.

Oh Little Jimmy, you so crazy

Anyway, back on topic. The only time we even hear of Zeke's existence is when Huey explains that he is... hiding Zeke on the ocean floor so the "totally cool and not completely inconspicuous" UN Inspection Team doesn't spot anything out of the ordinary. Which is a perfectly acceptable and totally appropriate plan that will not fail.

Source. One of the funniest comics I've ever read, and I've read All Star Batman & Robin, The Boy Wonder

It's a bummer because since the redband trailer totes spoiled the ending of Ground Zeroes, the only thing I could think of when I was first playing the game was "I BET ZEKE IS GONNA WRECK. SHIT. UP." I was practically salivating at the idea of seeing Snake, or perhaps Kaz, even Huey, someone - ANYONE - pilot Zeke against the hostile forces attacking Mother Base. We didn't get that. And in reality we didn't get much else either.

I can't help but wonder why Kojima decided to limit himself so much with Ground Zeroes. Constrained narrative, limited A.I behavior, limited unlockables and no special items at all, a one-note ending that explained absolutely nothing and failed to deliver because like all of the other cutscenes in the game, they are short and don't contain much.

If anything it gets me excited more for The Phantom Pain, which will have full MGS freedom reinstated and hopefully cranked up to 11 in this gigantic open world awaiting us. But then again, we have been lied to before...

And on that, I leave you with this.

Alas, poor Hayter! I knew him, Hideo; a fellow of infinite ruse, of most excellent derangement; he hath confused me on his mind a thousand times; and now, how fiddled in my imagination it is! My gorge rikes at it. Here hung those nanomachines that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your ruse now? Your memes? Your genes? Your flashes of scenes, that were wont to set the mind on a roar?

Fukken mad legit titlecard broo.

My name is Ryan. I like to play video games and Dungeons and Dragons and all kinds of other cool stuff. I also like to write. This is my website, it's nothing special, but I write about topics from time to time that probably make no sense. But if you think they do make sense, then hang around and check out some other articles. My friends call them "blogs" but goddamnit I've got a URL and everything, so they're "articles".

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