What's the story ?
Part of the long MetalGear series of stealth games, Ground Zeroes belongs to the prequel sub-series whose events take place before the original Metal Gear and which star Naked Snake (otherwise known as Big Boss). Around half the price of a full game, this is technically a prologue to the upcoming Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain.
GameplayThe main mission has Snake infiltrate a US black site to rescue two targets. How he goes about that is the choice of the player, and can range from non-lethal stealth to high-alert combat with added environmental destruction. After the credits roll, players can return to the same area for a range of different side missions.
Highs and lows
The range of options at the player's disposal – crawling through drains, taking out cameras, commandeering vehicles – is impressive, and the experience is tied together by how convincingly the AI responds to your actions. The plot makes an effective political statement, though its intelligence is marred by some gratuitous treatment of one female character.
This collection of missions in only one area is a promise of what to expect from Phantom Pain, and judged on that basis rather than as a full game, it deserves praise. But while the additional missions allow players to get a "normal" game length of time playing it, that doesn't change the fact that this is really just a demo.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010