Metal Gear Solid has never been afraid to put its players into harsh and desolate environments, but MG: Survive takes that to a whole new level. The game takes place directly after the events of MGS 5: Ground Zeroes, in which a giant wormhole opened up above Mother Base and sucked in part of the base and the remaining army forces. The game opens with the main character as they are transported to an alternate universe where Earth is overrun with strange crystal headed zombies. They have to hunt and scavenge parts and ammo to survive the unrelenting environment and find a way back home.
If you were a fan of previous Metal Gear titles this may not be the game for you It drops the tactical espionage for an action heavy run and gun feeling game. For me, this was a welcome departure, as I found the rigid gameplay of older MGS titles extremely unappealing. It feels like this game was meant to bridge the gap between die hard MGS fans and new ones. There will be a full single player story mode with its release but the focus on the E3 demo is the multiplayer aspect of the game a wave survival mission.
You start off in a Matrix-esque white room where you can see your fellow teammates and shoot each other in the face without consequence. My other teammates took full advantage of the lack of friendly fire before being wrangled to testing out our gear. You can practice laying down defenses, shoot some targets, or just mess around getting familiar with the controls. You can also see your teammates’ builds and change your gear up to maximize lethality or make the ultimate zombie balloon brigade.
For this demo there are only two classes for you to choose from: Fighter and Shooter. I chose shooter as I like to keep zombies at a rifle sight length and because they had a bow and arrow. In the full game, there will be no set classes and you will be able to fully customize your character with gear you unlock by completing missions. Along with your firearms you have other gadgets and fortifications to choose from like deployable guard towers, chain link fences, mortars and several varieties of traps. Which means to unlock everything you are in for a serious grind.
Once you get through the boring preparation phase, you are dropped into a barren wasteland where you must fight your way to a nearby base to rebuild its wormhole generator. This first phase can play out many different ways depending on your team’s playstyle. You can throw objects to distract enemies and stealthily make your way to the base or go full John Rambo on those crystal-headed ninnies. The more trigger happy will quickly realize the scarcity of ammunition on this new world and have to learn to make every shot count in the later waves.
After you repair and activate the wormhole generator the real fun begins. Overlaid on the ground and on your minimap are several paths that the zombies will take so you and your team can create choke points or build an impossible maze for zombies to hilariously attempt to solve. When putting down weapons like mortars for others to use, I didn’t hear an audio cue to tell others that I had placed them and saw no mark on the minimap that made the gray metal of the mortar standout against the gray Earth. But with voice chat, which will be in the final game, this is easily solved.
After a wave is finished you have the chance to complete some side quests away from the base to earn ammunition, gear, or Walker Gears. These side quests are vital to your survival for the later waves of the game. The first two waves felt rather simple to complete, but the final wave really picked up and put my team through their paces. By the end, our bases defenses were completely ransacked, most my teammates were out of ammo in their guns, and I was running around beating zombies up with an electric baton. We ended up with an A rating, my score dragging the rest of my team down, which seems a little generous for our performance. I will be shocked if it stays this simple to get high ratings, as MGS really makes you work for a good grade.
Overall, this demo was enough to pique my interest in a franchise I thought I’d closed the door on completely. I could easily see myself gathering a group of friends to sit in the warm glow of computer monitors together as we went for hours and hours of zombie murder. So if you have been itching for another zombie survival title, come on and jump in the MG:Survive pool. The water is nice.