If like us, you’ve become rather addicted to the wave-based defense building multiplayer mode of Salvage, then you may also be as frustrated as us too. It’s pretty clear that there is something wrong with Metal Gear Survive’s matchmaking.
Unless you have a ready-made team of four, then you are at the mercy of sitting in a lobby for up to 5 minutes as the game attempts to pair you with other players. In the beginning this wasn’t too much hassle, because despite the waiting time, we always got a game. Not any more.
After wading through easy and normal mode, Greg and myself needed a new challenge and hard mode not only gives us that challenge, but also rewards with the best loot – trouble is, we can’t beat the levels with just the two of us. The cost in materials and the juggling of enemies eventually overwhelms us, but with matchmaking taking so long and usually coming up blank with pairing us with other players, what is left to do? Surely the community hasn’t given up on the game already?
Thankfully, we have found the solution – Xbox’s Looking for Group feature. Accessed quickly through the blade, I was able to post a message to the board and specify who we were looking for, what we planned to do and a start time, within minutes I had two messages replying to my advert. I read their comments – which were perfect – and easily invited them into our party and the game. Problem solved. Thanks Xbox!
After many minutes of cutscenes, several hints at gameplay without, in fact, participation, followed by mere moments of interactivity before the next slew of dialogue and exposition kicked in, I knew I was playing a Metal Gear game. Indeed, despite the apparent departure from the tried and tested formula, Metal Gear Survive has all the same elements you might expect from the series, making it a pleasant surprise after what the open Beta suggested it would be.
As the title suggests, Metal Gear Survive is focused on survival, and this mixes up the usual stealth play and action quite well with expanded mechanics that we saw hints of in previous Metal Gear games. You must now manage your thirst and hunger, which are frequent concerns, especially early on. This involves finding food and clean water and regularly consuming them, which in turn affects your health and stamina. Allow hunger or dehydration to get the better of you and your physical abilities suffer considerably, reducing your combat effectiveness and movement therefore putting you in grave danger against your foes.
These foes take the shape of zombie-esque characters; ferocious, animalistic adversaries that mean to tear you apart. They’re called Wanderers and inhabit a dimension called Dite, a world where you find yourself after an attack on Mother Base from the end of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. You’re not alone in this strange world however, other survivors are scattered around the large, open play area, and they can be found and recruited to help build and maintain your own base of operations, as you seek to discover the fate of a previously deployed unit to this dimension and a ways to escape it.
Managing your immediate needs of thirst and hunger make up only a small part of the overall management system. Your health is threatened by raw meat and dirty water, so medication is required to treat illness, while upgraded facilities are required to prevent illness in the first place. Meanwhile, every scrap of material is precious. This scrap is essential, allowing you to build new crafting stations at your base, new equipment and weapons to aid you, and defences to help keep the Wanderers at bay. This amalgamates in building up your base and outposts to be safe, self-maintained havens for you and the other survivors. And indeed, they soon become just that, with farms growing the all-important food you need and the other survivors even helping maintain it all as well as allowing you to send them on missions of their own. It’s gruelling, desperate survival initially but eventually gives way to rewarding progress and order.
Then there’s the story, which is surprisingly deep and intriguing. The Beta gave the impression of a cooperative survival game with equipment upgrades measuring progress, but in fact there’s a lengthy tale of political intrigue with plenty of twists and turns and pleasant links to The Phantom Pain. This is so much more than just a survival game that means to encourage emergent gameplay, there’s a story here worthy of the series. The multiplayer offering of teams of four protecting an area against swarms of Wanderers is but a small part of the experience, an optional part for more resources.
The meat of Metal Gear Survive is in the single-player offering, of searching for information about the lost unit, the Charon Corps, and figuring out a way back home while enduring the harsh environment. It’s a different kind of Metal Gear, and a riskier one at that, but there’s also something refreshing about it. Newcomers are likely to find this to be a survival game that’s challenging with a surprisingly heavy handed slice of exposition, meanwhile, Metal Gear fans may find something gripping and different about the experience. Post Kojima Konami may not be entirely without hope after all when it comes to this series. There is, of course, the £10 save slot debacle, and indeed that’s anti-consumer, over-priced nonsense, but the rest of the micro transactions are less offensive, allowing you to buy additional load-out slots and unit slots to send on missions. They are entirely optional extras that most will never feel the urge to indulge in.
While Metal Gear Survive is surprising in its single-player offering and story, it still suffers some missteps. Defending against waves of Wanderers and fetching data from computer terminals are the primary missions on offer, with side missions merely pointing you towards additional resources you can gather. It all gets a bit repetitive, especially once you devise a few winning strategies for dealing with the Wanderer hordes. Meanwhile, despite the lengthy story and its twists, character development is a bit lacking. Your character is fully customisable but mostly silent with no real personality beyond the one you imprint on them, and those that are explored come across as dull and uninspired. There’s no Kojima magic here for zany characters. Certainly there’s enough intrigue here to help keep you playing to see how it all comes together but it’s more supernatural than military sci-fi this time around.
Metal Gear Survive isn’t what it appeared to be. This isn’t a multiplayer mode stretched out into a full release, instead it’s an experimental title in the series with the same single-player dedication but some new and expanded survival mechanics running the show. As a survival game it’s a fun and challenging experience, whether played single-player or multiplayer, as a Metal Gear game it’s one of the weaker titles but certainly not without its charms.
Earlier today at Gamescom, Konami announced a surprise new addition to the Metal Gear franchise, Metal Gear Survive, revealed exclusively by IGN.
Metal Gear Survive will be a four-player stealth co-op game set within the Metal Gear universe, and is due for release on Xbox One in 2017.
Metal Gear Survive is set directly after the events of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. Mother Base has been destroyed and strange portals open up in the sky dragging the survivors to an alternate universe where they’re forced to battle a force of crystalline zombies.
Metal Gear Survive will offer a fresh take on the series’ famed stealth elements,
said Konami European president, Tomotada Tashiro in a press release,
but within a unique co-op setting that is designed for a truly engrossing multiplayer experience.
Metal Gear Survive will be the first full Metal Gear game made after the departure of series creator Hideo Kojima, so it’ll be interesting to see how the series develops from here. The focus on a four-player co-op experience is certainly a new avenue for the series, but whether fans are willing to except these big changes is yet to be seen. We’ll find out next year.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is excellent. It’s hugely ambitious with sky high expectations from it ravenous fan base, and yet it still manages to surprise, even astound us with its excellence. However, this is not the Metal Gear Solid experience you were necessarily expecting.
Metal Gear Solid V kicks off after the events of the prequel Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes title. Protagonist, Big boss, has been in a coma for nine years following the attack on Mother Base at the end of Ground Zeroes, with the world largely believing he’s dead. Once you come to, the adversarial private military force XOF quickly try to kill you, finishing the job they started back in Ground Zeroes, and after an exhilarating escape from a hospital in Greece, begins the journey of revenge for Big Boss and his allies.
The first hour is utterly superb, hitting a sense of exhilaration seldom seen in the medium, let alone the stealth genre. It’s a brilliant way to kick off the story, bringing the classic, comic-book, over-the-top villains and action to centre stage in much the same vein as previous entries in the series. However, after this intense sequence the tone shifts dramatically to a more subtle and serious one. It can’t help but feel incongruous. However, after mere minutes in the first open-world location, Afghanistan, new qualities come to light.
This is a very different Metal Gear Solid, the cut scenes are typically short, the dialogue snappy, the sense of freedom immense. Instead, actions speak louder than words, and you’re not simply watching a tale and interacting with it loosely, you too are put through your paces.
The Phantom Pain is expertly crafted to frustrate, bewilder and delight you in highly precise manners, with the intension to make you feel like you’ve experienced similar emotions and struggles to Big Boss, and it achieves this brilliantly. Revenge seems so simple to begin with but becomes more complex as you chase it. Much in the same way your rebuilt Mother Base starts as a small installation and grows to include hundreds of staff that support you on the battlefield in myriad of ways. Yet this complexity is handled terrifically so not to overwhelm you, drip feeding you more options as the hours pass to gradually teach you the ropes and as you gradually change your driving focus from revenge to control.
Of course, as series fans will know, Big Boss is the central villain of the franchise, here we see how that transition from hero to villain occurs, or more accurately, how the myth of Big Boss relates to the man. This is an important tale in the overarching mythos of the series, and its subtle telling is all the more powerful for its results.
This may, however, initially disappoint series veterans. This isn’t the same exposition heavy Metal Gear storytelling from the earlier titles. This feels far more enclosed and isolated, ideal for newcomers, meanwhile the nuances for fans are largely tucked away in audio cassettes.
The battlefield will also feel strange to series veterans. Ground Zeroes laid the ground work in teaching you the mechanics but the open-world locations of Afghanistan and Africa offer such immense freedom that it’s hard to comprehend. You can approach a mission objective however you see fit, whether that’s sneaking in and remaining completely unseen, knocking out guards with tranquiliser darts and chokeholds, or go in noisy with means to slaughter everyone, it’s completely up to you. However, it’s even more freeing that that. You can call in support helicopters to bomb locations or cover you, or have new equipment dropped into the area of operation for you to use. Your cassette player can even be used to fool guards into thinking you’ve been killed if you find a tape of a guard saying “enemy eliminated”, or amusingly, if you find a tape of someone being violently ill you can hide in a toilet and keep guards away from the area by playing that. The options are innumerable, and it’s wonderfully compelling figuring out what you can do and then deciding what you want to do when approaching a new challenge.
Moreover, missions often change midway through, either because you’ve gathered intel and are moving on to the next objective naturally, or because you messed up and things got out of hand, requiring new equipment and tactics. Additionally, mission often have side objectives you’re unaware of until you discover them, such as prisoners you can extract. Furthermore, you’re always looking to expand the abilities of Mother Base, so by using the Fulton Recovery System you can extract enemy soldiers to turn to your side, as well as equipment such as static machine guns, mortars, even vehicles and crates of resources – once you have the more advanced Fulton upgrades. The missions are so much more complex and interesting that they may first seem.
This is further enhanced with the buddy system, which lets you bring a horse, dog, personal metal gear walker, or Quiet the peculiar and deadly female sniper. Each can support you in different ways and help with different playstyles. The walker is excellent at making you a one man army; when equipped with a shield on your back and a Gatling gun on the front you’re near unstoppable. Meanwhile, D-Dog is perfect from distracting enemies if stealth is more your style.
Furthermore, you can research and build new equipment and weapons at Mother Base and these enhance you option even more, allowing you to equip deadly new tools and items to yourself and your buddies to help get the job done. Moreover, as you grow Mother Base the more it can support you, with one aspect of that being combat teams you can send out on missions. Some of these mission affect the battlefield, such as disrupting the supply of weapons and equipment to enemy soldiers, which is critically important as the enemies adapt to your tactics.
As you come across enemies they gradually learn new tactics to counter your own. If you’re a fan of headshots then prepare for enemy soldiers to start wearing helmets. Having your combat teams disrupt the supply of helmets can be a godsend in the trickier missions, and boy do they get tricky. As the story progresses the enemies become more dangerous, with new weapons, equipment, larger numbers, higher vigilance and an overall superb AI. They quickly react to your presence, calling in reinforcement, going on patrol in pairs or more, and using highly aggressive tactics if they spot you. Moreover, from Act 2 some mission enhance the difficult by restricting equipment or forcing you to complete them completely undetected, and whilst this feels like padding when you first come by them, it becomes apparent how well they fit in with the overall story and theme in the end.
Indeed you can approach a mission from so many different angles that if you do have to replay them, either due to continued deaths or you want to increase your score for that mission, then there are many other approaches you can attempt. As such, frustration rarely rears its head, albeit for a couple of story missions that have you facing off against powerful bosses or overwhelming odds.
In addition to the 40 plus hours of story missions and 150 optional side ops, a multiplayer component is present to tide you over until Metal Gear Solid Online launches in early October. You can create a Forward Operating Base and manage it much like you do Mother Base. However, your FOB can be attacked by other players who can infiltrate and steal resources by using the Fulton Recovery System. When it occurs whilst you’re online you’ll get the option to stop them head on yourself, otherwise it’s down to the AI and the security forces and equipment you’ve developed for them. Meanwhile, you can also attack other player’s FOBs and try and steal their personnel and resources for yourself. It’s a fun aside that can get highly competitive.
Indeed Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is an exceptional game. It’s mechanically superb, allowing you to take a stealth or action approach with fluidity, its open-world design is unmatched in the action and/or stealth genre, offering extreme freedom that offers oodles of replayability, and the story is intriguing, profound and subtly spun with a focus on action rather than words. Its different approach to the Metal Gear Solid formula may initially disappoint series fans but this is, by far, the most intuitive version for newcomers and an incredible finale from creator Hideo Kojima.
Ah, stealth. The art of sneaking around and using nothing but your reactions and wit to overcome the towering obstacles in your way. There’s nothing quite like a good stealth game. Great stealth like Metal Gear Solid, Tenchu, Hitman, Deus Ex and not so much these days but Assassin’s Creed and Splinter Cell is hard to come by in this day and age. Enter Dark, a new stealth-based game published Kalypso Media and developed by Realmforge Studios. Now Dark might sound like an amazing prospect to the uninitiated. It’s a vampire stealth game. That means using the shadows to your advantage while teleporting toward your prey and sap their rich from their veins. Sounds amazing, right? Very, very wrong. More on how terrible the game is as we go on.
The story centres around Mr. Eric Bane, a poor gent who just so happens to be a newly turned vampire. Get this, he has amnesia! The story is riveting already. Eric soon learns that his transformation is not yet fully complete. In other words, he hasn’t even reached his final form. In order to avoid becoming one of Nosferatu’s minions, Eric must drink the blood of his sire. The game then becomes who’s who of tired clichés. Such as angels appearing to him, leading young Eric down the righteous path. It is the angel that sets blood-sucking Eric Bane on a journey to recover his lost memory, a journey that will either see him revert back to his human form, stay as he is, or turn into a hapless ghoul from a Blade movie. Dark’s story is as dull as anything you have ever played. The characters you meet along the way do nothing to stimulate the story, or evoke any kind of emotion from the player. It’s as if there is no personality in this game whatsoever.
Enough story bashing, let’s talk about the awesome gameplay. Or how it’s not awesome at all…not even a little bit. So this is a stealth-action game, that means lots of hiding, sneaking, and quiet killing. You’ll find an abundance of furniture and chest-high walls to call your home due to this. Moving in and out of cover is easy enough. You can lock on to a piece of cover while already being in cover, and simply teleport straight to the next bit without being seen. The issue with this is that sometimes the game will simply bug out and throw you to the far right, far left, on top of, or literally inside the piece of cover you’ve intended to hide behind. There is a nifty feature called vampire vision. This allows you to see through walls and slow down time to help attain what your plan of attack will be. This is the only part of the game that works as it should. It’s not innovative or new, it just works.
The problem with the stealth in Dark is that there is no surprise, only routine. Games like Splinter Cell or Deus show that sometimes having a plan of attack may not be enough. There might always be one enemy you’ve neglected to highlight who can send your entire plan astray. So having an escape route and or means of cutting off any kind of alarm system is key. Not here, there is only route learning and killing. Plus most of the other top stealth games I mentioned before have several means of completing a mission or route. To this day I’m still seeing things I could’ve done on Hitman: Blood Money and Absolution that I had absolutely no idea about. In Dark, there will only ever be one option, or the other. The main problem with the stealth aspect of the game is that it’s so repetitive it becomes a borefest. There may be one saving grace that could attract certain niche market of gamers. The game can be hard, very hard. But that’s not because of any kind of actual difficulty implemented into the game’s system. It’s because sneaking up behind an enemy and simply stealth killing them is a chore. The button prompt to kill your foe doesn’t appear until you are basically touching their backside, and sometimes you actually are touching their backside. This prompts all of Dr. Evil’s henchman to sound the alarm and shoot you with their…”lasers” (there are no lasers, but there’s gotta be something fun associated with the game). No, they just raise an alarm and shoot you dead because there is nowhere you can hide where they will not find you. There is no plan B, there is only succeed at this thing, or die a slow vampiric death.
We’re not quite finished yet; Dark has broken another one of gaming’s golden rules. RPG elements where they do not belong. Getting through areas without being detected and getting kills will award you with XP. For every thousand points of experience, you earn something called a ‘power point’ that will allow you to upgrade whatever power takes your fancy.
There’s not much to be said for how the game looks. There is a comic book/noir type feel to the game. This basically means cel-shaded with neon lights, for the modern era. It’s not great looking; it’s just not bad looking. This is probably the most positive thing I have to say about the entire game. The voice acting is bad, real bad. It’s not the kind of bad you can forgive like a dub gone wrong on a Japanese game, or voice acting so terrible it’s funny like Shenmue. The delivery was poor, like the actors were mumbling the words to themselves with no emotion as if they were at home reading a novel in their armchairs. I actually find it quite shocking that somebody oversaw the work that went into this and didn’t think to say “hey guys, do you mind sounding like people when you read these lines”. But then again, with the lines they were given, I’d probably phone it in too.
To sum it up, Dark is a horrible bore of a game. A genuine contender right alongside The Walking Dead: Survival Instinct for the worst game this year. The story extremely boring and predictable. The only fun came from me switching it up between doing a horrible Tom Hardy impersonation every time the name Bane was mentioned, and pretending the character was actually called Eric Bana. The gameplay is rigid and broken. Stealth barely works, and when it doesn’t, combat doesn’t work either. The sounds and voice acting are some of the worst I have ever heard in a game, and it’s just a 9+ hour agonising struggle to get through.
If you’re a stealth enthusiast, just play any of the other stealth games you’ve already completed a thousand times rather than this. You’re guaranteed to have a better time. If you’re a vampire enthusiast, just watch Twilight. Seriously, Twilight is a much better time than Dark.
Basically, stay away from Dark. Do not buy Dark, and kill Dark with fire.
Well we heard the news that David Hayter would no longer be voicing the role of Snake in the Metal Gear Series as he was unceremoniously not even told that the game was being made. But we had no idea that the new role would be from someone as well-know, talented, and perfect for the role as Kiefer Sutherland.
After having spent some time playing the astounding Bioshock Infinite (which we scored a staggering 10/10), it got us thinking about about Elizabeth’s character. Is she the perfect companion? We thought we’d run through gaming’s most extravagant companions to see how she would stack up to the rest. We define a companion as either an AI controlled partner or just someone talking down a headset to help enhance the story and your objectives.
Let’s run down the top 10 right now.
Rush (Megaman 3, 1990)
Rush is Megaman’s trusty robotic dog who would appear to help Megaman get past tricky obstacles by using his ability to transform into a submarine and by using his springboard coil to bounce extremely high. Rush has appeared in almost every Megaman game since and has also made a handful of cameos in several Capcom fighters.
Captain John Price (Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare, 2007)
If you were ever asked to name one Call of Duty character, 9 times out of 10 you would name Captain Price. A former member of the SAS, Captain Price is a no-nonsense soldier that alongside Soap MacTavish, goes through hell to stop the man who initiated World War III, Vladimir Makarov. Captain Price’s quick quips and charming British narcissism makes him a favoured companion amongst this list.
Cortana (Halo: Combat Evolved, 2001)
Cortana is a digitized clone of Dr. Elizabeth Halsey, who became centric to the Halo universe since the beginning. Guiding Master Chief on his journeys through thick and thin. Even having something of a starring role in 343’s Halo 4. Cortana is a fan-favourite amongst the Halo fandom, and it seems that she will be for a long time to come.
Claptrap (Borderlands, 2009)
Clap Trap (CL4P-TP) is a Hyperion manufactured general purpose robot that you will often see slumming around town in the Borderlands series. His particular brand of humour which involves outdated pop-culture references and pushing dubstep upon the player, has made him accepted annoyance. Borderlands fans often speak highly of Claptrap, and it’s clear that with the unavoidable Borderlands sequels to come, Claptrap will definitely be involved.
Miles “Tails” Prower (Sonic the Hedgehog 2, 1992)
Tails appears to be some kind of genetically mutated fox with two tails (hehe, I get it) that give him the ability to fly. He is one of the most famous sidekicks in history, next to Robin and Luigi, he may be THE most famous sidekick. If you weren’t aware (which I astonishingly wasn’t until I was way into my 20’s) that his name is actually a play on words meaning ‘miles per hour”, you may facepalm yourself into oblivion, much like I did. Tails wormed his way into our hearts with his annoying cries of “SOOOONIIIIIIIIIC”, and he will forever live there. What a guy.
Garrus Vakarian (Mass Effect, 2007)
Garrus Vakarian is the popular Turian from the Mass Effect series. A former C-Sec soldier and the most badass member of the Normandy crew, Garrus had military training at fifteen and is the crew’s resident sniper. A character so awesome, that he brushed off horrific facial scars with a witty comment like “Ah probably for the best. They were all ignoring you and hitting on me. ‘Bout time you got a fair shot.” when referring to the lovely space ladies. Garrus is cool, calm, collective, funny, and extremely badass. It’s a shame he couldn’t be higher up the list.
GLaDOS (Portal/The Orange Box, 2007)
Well this is a first. An antagonist making it as a top companion. GLaDOS is the central core to the inner working of Aperture Science. The Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System lives solely to test. When the protagonist Chell awakens from a coma, GLaDOS is ready and waiting to throw test after test after test at the newly awakened mute. It is truly GLaDOS’ humour that makes this machine a top companion, the writing staff at Valve truly have created a character for the ages in this machine. They certainly couldn’t top it. or could they?
As an added extra, check out this amazing post credits song performed by GLaDOS herself.
Otacon (Metal Gear Solid, 1998)
Hal Emmerich, code-named Otacon is a scientist and chief engineer of Metal Gear REX. Also best friend of Solid Snake. This relationship makes for some of the most hilarious codec conversations in the entire series. Listening to Otacon’s conversations with Snake about being trapped in compromising positions and even about Otacon urinating all over himself, means that the bond between the two makes for one of gaming’s best relationships.
Elizabeth (Bioshock Infinite, 2013)
Elizabeth didn’t quite make it to number one, even though she is gaming’s most perfect companion. Her relationship with Booker DeWitt develops as the game goes on. Her frail naivety develops into a strong independence. Her knack for not just being a damsel in distress is what makes her interesting. Booker wouldn’t survive his journey in Columbia without Elizabeth, and it’s easy to see why she is one of the most popular new characters in the last few years. I would hope that her story doesn’t end with Infinite, and that there are at least some glaring references when 2K make the next installment in the series.
Well after all that, who made the number one spot? It’s tough to find a character as whole as Bioshock Infinite’s Elizabeth. But the number one isn’t even a good character, he makes it there for the sole reason of being the funniest character in the history of gaming. So, let’s check out who it is…
1. Wheatley (Portal 2, 2011)
Wheatley is hands down the funniest character in gaming history. Voiced by lanky Western English comedian Stephen Merchant, all of his country charm is transfused with the robot nature of a Portal robot. In Portal 2, GLaDOS is still the villain, but Wheatley is the hero that saves the day. Bringing you through several of Aperture Science’s most rigorous tests to help you defeat GLaDOS and end her reign of terror. But don’t take my word for it, just check this out.
Thanks for checking out another ThisisXbox Top 10, come back next week for our next installment.
You may remember a few months ago, there was a cryptic trailer for a new game titled The Phantom Pain. It featured a man recovering from a coma and waking up to a bonafide battlefield. Many people speculated that the Phantom Pain was actually the fifth installment in the Metal Gear Solid series. Continue reading Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Reveal Trailer→
Over the past few years, it has become apparent that a new fad has come into fruition. Dressing up our old beloved games in a new high definition gloss, and releasing it out to the world once more. Today’s gamers have accepted these releases at a huge scale. Accepting them rather then scorning them. It’s a great idea, take something everyone loves, repackage it with more content, make it better looking, let people relive their past loves. Here at ThisisXbox, we have painstakingly gone through the list of HD re-releases and picked the best ten of the bunch to share with you. Continue reading ThisisXbox Top Ten: Xbox HD Re-Releases→