As a long-term fan of the Metal Gear franchise, I steered very much clear of Metal Gear Survive. However recently I was gifted a copy, and I must say it surprised me
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Before we jump into this let me just clear some things up. I apologise if you already know this, but for those who don’t, it’s quite simple. I loovvee Metal Gear. The franchise is easily my favourite in all of the gaming world. I played Metal Gear Solid when I was a wee pre-teen and it blew my mind. I already enjoyed video games, but this was different. To me, it was like playing a blockbuster movie. Spies, deception, battlefield romance. I must’ve completed that game at least five or six times. This love for the franchise carried over into every game (although none captured my heart like MGS1).

After Kojima and Konami parted ways, I was unsure of how it would affect my favourite franchise. I wanted more Metal Gear, but I wanted Kojima’s Metal Gear. Without him guiding the project, I just couldn’t imagine how the next instalment would look. And then eventually I found out. Metal Gear Survive …

The PS4 launch trailer for Metal Gear Survive

Let’s just say that this trailer did not fill me with optimism. In all honesty, to me, this game looked like a mockery of the Metal Gear franchise. It was simply a cash grab from Konami, using the IP that Kojima had poured so much love into. And because of this, I paid no attention to the game. Like at all. I knew for a fact that I would never play the game. But fast forward to late 2020 …

A friend (hello Michael!) and I were streaming some GTA Online, playing the new Cayo Perico heist. We began talking about the Metal Gear Survive, which my friend had been playing. I ranted about how the game was a butchery of the franchise. The next day I received a message with a code for some PlayStation credit, with a message saying this is for Metal Gear Survive. Begrudgingly I bought the game; it was only £5. Not only was it a gift, but I figured that if I truly did not enjoy it then it was no loss of mine. Yet to my surprise, I have actually really been enjoying the game. Mainly due to the advice that was given to me; “Don’t think of it as a Metal Gear game”.

Metal Gear Survive
You find yourself in a strange universe, full of animated corpses

So I booted up the game and opened my mind. And much to my surprise Metal Gear Survive is actually a rather good game. Now don’t get me wrong: it is still an awful Metal Gear game. But in terms of its actual mechanics, I was pleasantly surprised. The game centres around a character, that you customise, that is pretty much thrown into an alternate dimension by a shady corporation. The dimension is home to a range of undead creatures. These are the corpses of humans, that have been reanimated by an unknown lifeform. It is the players’ job to identify the lifeform, find a way to stop it, and then make their way back to the real-world.

You make your way to “base camp”, which is basically just the remains of the destroyed Mother Base. This becomes your base of operations where you can craft weapons, gear, and gadgets. These can then be repaired or upgraded as you play. The gameplay revolves around different types of missions. These begin as simple fetch quests, that task you with retrieving a memory board. Later on, these missions become a bit more dangerous and involve rescue missions and opening wormholes that act as fast travel points. While venturing out to get these, you will encounter “wanderers”. These are the animated corpses hellbent on killing you.

Metal Gear Survive
A trusty fence will keep those wanderers out, but only for so long

Luckily you have a range of gadgets that can be used to help you in your efforts. These range from things such as fences you can construct and Molotov cocktails, up to mountable machine guns and spinning blades. These can be used either offensively, or defensively depending on the situation. You can kill the wanderers, or block off their path so you can make your escape. As you progress you unlock more recipes and better crafting stations. Throughout the game, you collect Kuban energy, which is used to upgrade your character and even buy perks from an (unfortunately small) selection.

There is much more to the game though. For example, the game features a stamina system. Actions such as attacking with melee weapons or running will use your stamina. If your stamina depletes, you become unable to do these actions. Fairly standard, but there is something that adds a bit of depth to the game. Your stamina (and health) are also impacted by your hunger and thirst meters. In Metal Gear Survive, the player must feed and water their character lest they die. I ventured out, without water, and my character ended up thirsty. Luckily I was able to escape the wanderers before my thirst impacted my stamina too much. When I returned to the base I was stumbling, and luckily managed to get some water from storage.

The game shares many control and gameplay mechanics with MGSV

Another nice feature the game has is the ring that encompasses the player. This ring acts as a sensor for any wanderers you have spotted. Once you spot a wanderer they will appear on the ring as a soundwave. This allows you to track them, and avoid combat (which I highly advise where possible). This allows you to always have a track of those pesky wanderers and is something that honestly I would like to see implemented into more games of this genre.

But the single-player aspect of Metal Gear Survive is only one part of it. The rest comes from the multiplayer. And this is honestly where it shines. The multiplayer, which allows for up to four players, allows you to take on a range of missions. These vary from defending the extractor, to rescue missions. Whilst playing in the extraction mission, side missions will become available and task you with collecting supplies or energy (which is used to escape). Originally we paid no attention to these, but we soon realised that these actually boost our overall score in the level. The more energy we collected before the end of wave 3, the higher our score. And the higher our score, the more/better items we got for completing the mission.

Virgil acts as your guide through the strange world

These missions give you sooooo many rewards if you get an S rank, which is honestly very doable with three people. It’s also doable with two but just harder. I levelled up very quickly. I found myself opening reward cases for items I didn’t even have the workbench to build! And the best part is that the Kuban energy you get from these missions, as well as the items, all transfers over to the single-player mode! So I would play with friends, unlock some stuff, and then craft it and use it to progress the story. It’s very simple in the grand scheme of things, but sometimes simple is all you need.

The only thing I can think that would create an even better multiplayer experience is some form of deathmatch mode, maybe similar to the online mode in The Last Of Us. Pre-determined loadouts though, to stop those with better weapons wiping the floor with lower-level opponents. Keep the sound circle, and fences, and let players have at it! Other than that, the game is actually really good. The mechanics are good, that circle around the character is a god-send, and the multiplayer is fun and rewards the single-player experience. So thank you Michael for introducing it to me.

However, it is a fucking dogshite Metal Gear game ..

About the author

I've loved video games for as long as I can remember. Recently found a love for reporting video game news and decided to start Games Bulletin, and have been enjoying every step of the journey.