Metal Gear Survive [PS4 Game Review]

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MGSurvive is easily the most fully realized survival game out there right now and is leaps ahead of any of it’s competitors. It’s also really unique in that it’s not only a survival game but an exploration game where you map the world out, a tower-defense type of game where you build defenses for your base (and other things to fill it up with and use) and hold off waves of enemies, and a Metal Gear game full of exactly what you expect out of one. The only thing I can think to compare it to is State of Decay, and that pales in comparison with the exception of AI controlled partners to take into the wild and more vehicles.

This is a depressing game to really think about because every single thing about it is the current pinnacle of the main genre it’s in and it was completely overshadowed by fanboyism. Had this been titled anything else, had Kojima worked at Konami still even if he didn’t work on this at all, had any other company made this? People would be clamoring over it and praising it nonstop – survival games are still huge yet they hit a plateau of indie mediocrity and retarded MMO style shit. You might wonder, then why make it Metal Gear at all? Well, the story heavily relies on that, builds on it, and as someone who has played every MGS game it definitely makes good on tying in to the main series and adding to it in a meaningful and cool way while also adding to ITSELF through using the world and lore of MGS. While you could enjoy it without all that, it would dramatically change it in a way I think would absolutely lower the narrative quality by not having those games to be attached to. Not that this doesn’t stand on it’s own in a general sense, it’s just that this is VERY MUCH A SPINOFF so it does in many ways with the plot and other elements lean on the main series, as it should as a spinoff. Just like why MGRevengeance would suffer (even more) if it weren’t for being tied to MGS. So why not call it something else? Because then you’d ruin a lot of what makes this such a cool game. Obviously both games would still be fun if you go into them without knowing Metal Gear at all, but MAKING THE GAMES without that connection would drastically change things.

This game could have completely changed that and revitalized an entire genre while setting a truly worth reaching bar for entry but because of people’s grudge against Konami they refused to buy it and also made sure to shit on it no matter what almost always without even trying it.

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It’s also sad in that it really finally proves what many, or at least I, thought all along. Kojima is a hack and someone who is popular due to putting his name in smart places while never actually being the one deserving to be known. Kojima is a celebrity, not a director, not a writer, and absolutely not a developer. He put his name in the right places and got famous for it and that’ll never stop no matter how much shit he pumps out because the blame will never be put on him. Anyway, I’ve bitched about Kojima plenty of times the point is this; Survive is more “Metal Gear” than the two games he made without a co-writer – 4 and 5 – and a much better video game overall than both as well in every single aspect.

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Hell, the introduction to this game is fantastic and honestly more emotional than the ENTIRETY of MGSV aside from the triage chapter which is still one of the best things in the entire franchise…sadly stuck in a complete trash game. Right off the bat I was emotionally connected to the game, with the opening cutscene being the leftover soldiers of MSF collecting the bodies of their comrades to give them proper burials. It was fucking sad and the cinematography was great and made it even more powerful. Then a bit later on they even managed to connect your character in this into the main story in a fun and cool (yet small) way without damaging the canon at all.

On top of all that the story actually helps explain a lot of the REALLY DUMB BULLSHIT that wasn’t even ATTEMPTED to be explained in 5 and honestly could be said to explain a lot of all of MGS’ more stupider plot points like nanomachines and future tech, let alone the wormholes and crazy monster squad in 5. Again, “helps” – it adds more convoluted and confusing shit, but some of it could explain certain things for sure.

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It’s also a VERY “MGS” story full of everything you’d expect out of one of the main games. In fact it’s more “metal gear” than Revengeance was – and easily more of a metal gear game than the awful pile of shit MGSV was with it’s entirely missing plot and characters. It actually had me as interested and involved in trying to figure out it’s connections to the other games and the overall world as much as the first four games even though it’s “not canon”. And boy does this story ever go full Metal Gear by the end. Loads of over the top twists and turns, retard overly complex “tech”, all the trappings attributed to Kojima (post credits followed by post credits followed by yet more post credits), and just this really perfect meshing with the rest of the franchise. Also, compare this game to MGSV – guess which one has more cutscenes? Yup, the one made by “pachinkonami” without Based God Kojima. Remember all those cutscenes in V? Oh…it only had like 2 that were about 90 seconds long each aside a 30 minute drive with Grandpa Skullface sitting in a car with no dialogue? OOPS!

The really sad part though comes in the ending which disappointingly leans heavily in the direction of MGSV in terms of just being lacking and not really giving any closure to the story. In this case there ACTUALLY WAS A STORY to close unlike MGSV, so it kinda blows that the ending was changed from “we survived, we made it home!” to “well we want to make it so the player can continue on playing without making it extra retarded” so it comes off kinda eh because I really wanted my character to make it home.

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Up to the very moment you’re dropped back in though it was a great story with all sorts of crazy entertaining and completely convoluted shit like you want out of anything titled Metal Gear…it does leave a bit of a disappointing taste behind though all the same. I prefer to just assume they made it back after the final battle and the rest is non-canon – or at least that EVENTUALLY they do make it home. That isn’t the ending though so it doesn’t really fix it, but again the actual plot itself is concluded really well and was a really fun ride throughout, it’s just that I would really have loved a conclusion to the life of my character and the people he fought through all this with instead of just “well they’re stuck, the end!”.

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Beyond going well above what MGSV did for the story and cast it ALSO manages to be a much better video game and have many more fun and interesting gameplay mechanics. Most notably the base building – you know, the thing promised to players for 5 that never actually existed…yet now we know it did exist and Kojima just didn’t bother putting it in and instead made it so you could…uh…change the color and that was it. There was no customization but with Survive it’s the exact opposite.

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Nothing about your base is pre-done with the exception of the small center portion with story-centric stuff set up. Aside that it’s all on you and boy is it fun to build – over time as you can make more varied defenses, buildings, and even things like farms and tents develop this base of yours into your own military compound surrounded by layers of barbed wire fence and concrete barriers if you choose to put them there. It’s really cool and rewarding every step of the way with a genuine good feeling when you’ve got your base looking how you want and feeling save for fellow survivors. Revamping it every chance you get never feels tedious either and instead is still enjoyable and the game does a great job giving you the tools and the personal drive to make this place feel (and actually BE for the times it gets attacked) safe, be efficient, and look pleasing to the eye for your crew and as the home you always come back to after venturing out into the dust.

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The weapons and armor also are surrounded by neat features. You not only craft them out of all sorts of shit you find in the wild, but you can customize many to add attachments you’d like – ranging from things like silencers to new pouches on your pants for more ammo capacity. Both weapons and armor also feature a really great ramp-up throughout the game, much like the base building itself. You can absolutely go find schematics for either whenever you want (at least on the first map) too, but even then you’ll still unlock some stuff with time or miss out on things by missing a box or not noticing a field of corn growing near a small village. Of course there are loads of foods to cook and so on as well.

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Early in the game I got totally fucking lost and ended up on the opposite side of the whole map.

The atmosphere is super well done too and the whole dust concept was implemented to perfection – destroying your sense of direction and awareness and making the player really feel the harrowing despair of being completely lost and desperately searching for escape, especially early on. Another great aspect that this adds to the gameplay is the map. While it isn’t Etrian Odyssey levels of literally drawing it yourself, in Survive you won’t uncover the map until you’ve walked there – and even while you’re walking there, because you’ve never been there, the map does not fill in until you return home nor does it show you on the map where you are at all until you’re in an already mapped zone. This was ingenious in making this a more tense, exciting, and genuinely adventurous game. Almost nothing else makes you go somewhere before you magically know everything about it, but here you only know what you personally have actually seen and it forces you to actually explore not only to enjoy exploring but to make progressing in the game more viable and safe for yourself in the future. Mix that with said loss of sense of direction and you get something great and different from anything else.

Unlike MGSV the map is also very busy and full of stuff to find and see, not just barren nothingness with one enemy patrol and then a copy pasted base design 30 times. I keep shitting on MGSV because it’s appallingly bad, but also because it’s the same engine and it’s a Kojima created game (where he makes sure you know it by putting his name after every mission about 8 times each time), yet it was total shit. The map was bland, the ‘towns’ and ‘outposts’ were all copypasted and identical, and there was absolutely zero fucking atmosphere outside of triage.

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Survive is almost always a little spooky, but once you’re in an interior area it’s legitimately pretty scary.

Speaking of atmosphere, it’s not hard to notice how much of this game seems similar to Death Stranding and what Kojima’s described it as along with Silent Hill(s). I won’t be surprised if he just stole the idea Konami already had the team working on as a spin-off and made his own version which, if that is the case, it’ll be really hilarious and sad seeing all the fanboys flock to it and scream how amazing it is after shitting in the exact same game just because he wasn’t involved in it. There are even clothes that look straight out of the Death Stranding trailers as well as a lot of the DS imagery being very similar to things in this game.

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Survive also features a really fun co-op mode of wave-based defense where you have to last 3 full waves while keeping the automated driller safe. You do this by gathering materials in the mission itself and making do with what you’ve got. It’s really fun even with just one other person to play with, and it’s absolutely doable rather than being exceedingly difficult. From doing this you gain a heap of materials and often times really good “broken weapons” which are weapons you can “craft” (repair) into extra strong versions of their basic form along with added perks like more damage to weak points or making it so your ammo won’t be used sometimes. It’s really fun, but without a friend who also has the game you’re likely to never find a game thanks to the whole NO KOJIMA controversy making it not sell.

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The game does have issues though – most notably a couple story missions. There’s one shitty mission to protect a certain location for 15 full minutes with a non-stop onslaught of enemies and no way to resupply yourself with any defensive things like fences or claymores, let alone ammo and such. You’re basically forced to abuse the AI of an enemy type that does a lot of friendly fire damage while just being lucky and holding off what makes it through their own attacks. If you’re lucky it can be made a lot easier if you’re able to find the blueprints for gun emplacements but otherwise you’re sort of fucked. Even with that it’s only 120 rounds and you can only carry 2 which means also not having 6 more of a fence or other barrier. Oddly enough it’s not the end of the game, which is also challenging but much more fair and fun.

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Another complaint I have, which I ran into a few times, is that because it’s an always-online type of game you’re just fucked if their servers, or in my case if PSN’s servers, go down at all. You not only can’t play it at all, but if you are playing it you’re immediately kicked off. Luckily they were smart – the game near constantly saves itself. Not for you to load to if you die, but if the server shuts down you won’t lose progress at all.

You’ll hear a lot about microtransactions from people as a big complaint for this against EVIL KONAMMY but, and I’m not lying to defend this game nor have I not put in the time to look, I genuinely cannot find what the fuck you’d actually be paying for. Nothing in this game is paywalled as far as I can tell, and you can’t buy anything useful like, say, resources or boosts to your mutualized food, water, and medicine or ammunition for a gun. The absolute only things I could actually find that use real money are the following:

  • The expedition team or whatever can be called back early. This is kind of useless though because all they do is bring back like 3 of a thing you can go get 50 of yourself in a few minutes at the most. Plus almost all their missions take 22 minutes, who gives a shit – just wait it out.
  • You can have another character slot to play the entire game from the start.\

That’s it.

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The latter I’ve heard a lot of complaints about that, if you actually look at them and look at the game, are not real complaints but ones made up to shit on the game further – basically it’s purposefully false whining so people can pretend “no, it’s NOT just because it wasn’t made by Kojima”. You can only have one character, that applies to…let’s see. Oh. Basically every game ever made in video game and even tabletop history. So there goes that aspect of the complaint. Certainly showing off other slots makes people complain, I get that…but pretending like these are “save slots” or even worse, pretending most games allow you to make a billion main characters to play through the game a million times? It’s bullshit. Did you hear this same bitching when the Mass Effect trilogy only let you play as one character you made? Metal Gear Online? Fucking ANY GAME EVER aside MMOs? No. No you did not.

Hell, how many “save slots” did Metal Gear Solid V have? Oh. One? If only Kojima had made MGSV ma- oh he did? Shit.

Doubling down on the stupidity, they claim Konami did this to “lock you out of the bad ending” because once you don’t choose to go that route you end up never being able to access it again unless you start over. Which would be the case with 300 character slots too. But the claim is that it is IMPOSSIBLE to get all the trophies in the game (who gives a shit, but still, this is their main way of giving any weight to their bullshit complaint) without PAYING REAL MONEY to BUY another character slot.

This is untrue. You can literally delete your character and start over. You know, like every single other game with multiple closed endings ever forces you to do. I mean this is the same result you’d get out of having another character slot – replaying the whole game from the start to get the other ending. So why this dishonesty about “having to pay for another character just to get all the trophies”? Because muh kojimbo. Nobody is going to be playing a game like this with multiple “characters” anyway, given it’s all about building up your character and their base – there’s literally no situation any real existing person would want to play two games of this at the same time.

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This isn’t the best game of all time, but it’s absolutely the best survival game ever made  up to this point and a very good game overall. The gameplay is fantastic and varied with great controls and an amazing engine (The Fox Engine is actually used properly here), and it looks visually great. It’s also a really good Metal Gear story. If you’re into that style of game this is without a doubt worth picking up, if you’re into MGS then this is that much better as well, especially at it’s low price (even lower by now). Hell, more than a survival game it’s a base defense game and exploration game, and it does those fantastically well too.

I REALLY enjoyed my time with this especially because it’s so unique while also being so much what you expect out of a game with this title – which was extremely welcome after the shitheap non-story non-metal gear game that was MGSV.

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I’m gonna say it again more clearly: if you are a fan of the Metal Gear franchise you owe it to yourself to play this, especially if you want a better send-off to the series than fucking 5 turned out to be. Metal Gear is NOT dead – or rather it is but didn’t need to be. It was killed by the fans who refused to let it successfully live on due to ignorant idolatry focused on nothing but a director who, clearly, was only a very small part of the actual product that was loved so much by so many. All Kojima brought to the table was some ghibli-tier in-your-face anti-war ideology and a billion tweets showcasing he did nothing on the job aside take pictures of Stefanie Joosten. People forget too easily that games are made primarily by everyone except the director.

Survive has all the wackiness, all the convoluted over the top story beats, crazy twists, intriguing story, and overall feeling. There’s nothing missing here aside the gameplay conceptually being different – and this is a spinoff like Revengeance, a different type of experience should be a positive because that’s the point of a spinoff. Stop treating Kojima like a God – hell, go ahead and KEEP doing that if you want – but give Metal Gear what it deserves and don’t fucking shit on it just because the only name in the credits you knew is gone.

Stop being a fan of Kojima while claiming to be a fan of Metal Gear and start being an actual fan of MGS itself – you managed it with Revengeance. It’s too late now though, you killed Metal Gear over a fucking meme of a man. Congrats. Really great fans you turned out to be.

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7 responses to “Metal Gear Survive [PS4 Game Review]

  1. Pingback: The 24FPS Game Awards 2018 Presented By Jeff Keighless ft. Public Service Announcements |·

  2. I started playing Ghost Babel recently and even though it was neither written nor directed by Kojima it feels 100% like how a Metal Gear game should, much more than any game released after Snake Eater at least. So you may be right about Kojima being little more than just a name and a face used to sell a product.

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    • I recently saw that game cuz they did a feature playing through it on GB and I agree, it feels ABSOLUTELY Metal Gear the whole time even though it’s non-canon and all Kojima did was okay it’s production. He brings something to the games, but at least half the writing and quirkiness is thanks to more than himself.

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  3. Eh I’m kinda over Metal Gear in general now so I probably wouldn’t have any interest in playing it even if Kojima hadn’t left Konami. Or at the very least it will be a long while before I find time to give it a shot.

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    • yeah i can get being tired of it especially after V, Survive is worth checking out some day but i doubt it’ll ever be hard to find or ever expensive at all so just wait till you’re in the mood for a survival game cuz unless this new State of Decay soon blows it out of the water I doubt much will top it in what type of game it is for awhile

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  4. UHHHHH

    HOW MUCH DID KONAMI PAY YOU TO WRITE THIS?

    I MEAN THAT HAS TO BE WHAT HAPPENED I LEARNED THAT FROM /v/?

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