Report: Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes at BAFTA Inside Games Event
With the newest chapter in the Metal Gear saga only days away from releasing, a special event in the United Kingdom offered a chance of getting an early taste of the game. This marked the first ever BAFTA pre-Awards event: Inside Games, taking place on March 12th and showing some of the biggest and most anticipated new and upcoming titles. One of those, of course, being Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. The event itself took place at London’s Tobacco Dock (a former warehouse for, well, tobacco), a really nice location made even better by the great weather. The Inside Games section was downstairs.
The place was crawling with Metal Gear characters – multiple Snakes, Millers and Quiets, a Psycho Mantis, even a Cyborg Raiden, and a lone Dark Souls 2 warrior stalked the hallways.
The line leading up to the Metal Gear Solid V stands was there the entire time, as the game was clearly one of the more popular attractions at the event, only matched by Titanfall and the Oculus Rift.
The Metal Gear Solid V stands were in a relatively small room, and there were only six spots available. The outside of the room featured a large Ground Zeroes sign, a picture of Big Boss and multiple FOX / XOF logos.
Inside, the space was decorated with red and blue lights, a large FOX logo on the wall and some very nice looking t-shirts of the game.
The presentation was also really nice: the tvs were sitting on wooden crates, with in front of them the famous MGS ‘orange’ cardboard box to take place on.
The PlayStation 4 version was the only one playable at the event (probably because it’s the best version, at least according to Kojima and many who have seen the versions side by side). Because everyone wanted to try out the game, playtime was limited to 15 minutes (which felt like 5 minutes, and that says something about the game). The playable mission was the first one in the game, the story mission. The game also stated a precise date: March 16th 1975, at midnight.
This probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but based on the play session, the game is simply awesome. First of all, the graphics look really impressive, with very crisp and sharp details. The controls feel fluent and intuitive. For example, hiding behind cover happens automatically when Snake approaches an object such as a roadblock (which also can be destroyed by enemy fire, at least partially, even though this may be just cosmetic). With the L3 button Snake can ‘peak over’ to see if the coast is clear. The coast is seldom really clear though, as enemy soldiers keep a sharp watch over the camp. Even on normal difficulty the game seems to be pretty challenging. You really have to watch your surroundings and know what you’re doing. You need to have a plan before advancing. If you get spotted and you just try to shoot your way out, it quickly results in a game over screen. The Reflex Mode can help you, but requires some practice and quick reflexes as well.
Guards don’t let themselves get fooled easily either. Shooting a light of a watch tower will mean the guard climbs down and comes looking for you, so you always have to keep thinking of the consequences of your actions. Think you can hide in a watch tower after being spotted? The enemies will simply toss a grenade at you, and the whole thing comes crashing down. Kojima Productions wasn’t kidding, the game really is harder than it looks.
Camp Omega seemed pretty large, although the iDroid didn’t give any specifics about its size. One thing that’s pretty cool about the map is that you can switch between a schematic or satellite photo view.
As most will know, the codec can now be used while looking through the binoculars, pointing at an object an pressing the L1 button. It feels logical and although the conversations seem to be shorter, there are also multiple entries for the same object. Also, all the conversations are saved in transcripts in the main menu to review later (at least the mission objectives), along with a lot of other information.
One of those is a list of personal player records. The game constantly keeps track of your actions as there seems to be a record for almost everything you can do: for headshots, for ‘sending enemies flying’ (by running them over with a jeep, for example, or causing a barrel next to them to explode) and for long distance shots. This should also increase replay.
Snake can also sprint by clicking the L3 stick. Weapon selecting is done using the d-pad. There were four default options available: an assault rifle, a tranquilizer gun, grenades and a pair of night vision goggles (which show the environments in yellow and green tints). By pressing R1 while aiming, you can toggle between third and first person view.
Cutscenes can be skipped with the touchpad on the PS4 controller. A menu similar to the one in MGS4 appears, which gives you a ‘resume’ and ‘skip’ option. Another thing that should be noted is that players can control the camera a little bit during cutscenes: by moving it with the analog stick and by zooming in. This feature was in previous Metal Gear Solid games and it’s back in Ground Zeroes.
Footprints seemed to be absent from the rocky ground of the cliff, but maybe that depends on weather conditions or the specific surface Snake is walking on.
Fifteen minutes of Ground Zeroes are over before you know it, but it sure makes you look forward to the game’s release.
While people patiently waited for their turn, suddenly something seemed to be going on, as everyone was pointing cameras in the same direction. It turned out that the man himself, Hideo Kojima, had arrived. He took some pictures of cosplayers and of the people enjoying the game. After that, he walked into the main hall followed by hordes of fans, and took some time for a group photo.
A few hours later Kojima could be spotted again when he and the people with him (Ayako, Ken-ichiro Imaizumi and Steven Key, among others) drove off to a different location.
Around 6PM, Hideo Kojima re-appeared, now in black tie attire, for his walk over the red carpet and the subsequent award ceremony (during which Kojima would present a Fellowship award to Rockstar Games).
Kojima answered some questions asked by media outlets standing at designated spots, after which he disappeared into the building.
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes will be available on March 18 in the US, and on March 20 in Japan and Europe.