Let’s be honest: Metal Gear Survive is a game that no one asked for. It’s a zombie horde, co-operative shooter game where you build reinforcements against creatures that have never existed in the Metal Gear universe.
And there isn’t a Snake in sight.
But, don’t hide under the nearest cardboard box just yet – Metal Gear Survive has plenty going for it, trust us. We got some time with Metal Gear Survive at Gamescom, and took it through its paces.
Metal Gear, Solid Mechanics
First and foremost, Metal Gear Survive is about exactly that – how to survive against a roaming undead army created from Mother Base soldiers mutated by interdimensional travel. Following on from XOF’s attack at the end of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes (SORRY, SPOILER WARNING), Mother Base’s finest are whisked through a wormhole and planted in an identical, but parallel version of MGSV’s world.
You’ll create your character – with a hugely in-depth creation tool – and go about your mission to survive this new world, while also trying to find a way out of the world. Although, hopefully you’ll time it to get back after V finishes and avoid the nightmarish happenings back home.
But what happens in the meantime? Well, we’re glad you asked. Your first task will be to create your home-base, situated in front of the ruins of Mother Base, and build it up to defend yourself against the horde. Imagine this part as a way of introducing you to the mechanics of the world. The game is built on three foundations; Building, Crafting and Resourcing.
Building is self-explanatory – create your fortification to survive the enemy onslaught as you would in any tower defence system, and watch the enemy crumble as you mow them down with mounted turrets, stop them in their tracks with fences and walls, and, because this is Metal Gear, launch them in to the air with a Fulton Device and pick them off one by one.
Crafting is a touch trickier, however. This being a survival game, you’ll be limited to a certain amount of ammo and resources, so you’ll have to be careful as to where you apply these, and when and how to use them. But, once you get the hang of it, you’ll be flying – no, not literally – through enemies in no time. We saw some crazy weaponry featuring all manners of blades, launchers and modded Walker Gears in a sizzle reel following our presentation. If you ever wondered what would happen if Frank West made his way to Metal Gear, you’ll likely get your answer early next year.
Safer in Numbers
The essence of zombie survival games is co-operative play, and Metal Gear Survive doubles down on this. You and three others will join forces to build, craft, resource and importantly, survive.
During our time with the game, we were tasked with surviving three waves of enemies, although there will be larger and more involving missions given to you throughout your time with Metal Gear Survive. Our base, located in the Afghan desert was easily fortifiable, but large in size, meaning we had to have our wits about us when the enemy grew in numbers.
My character, pre-set by a friendly and informative Konami rep, was decked out with a bow and arrow, shotgun and a fantastic crossbow pistol. In terms of gadgets – of which there were 3 – I had grenades, mines and Wormhole Generators (yes, you read that correctly) which allowed me to dart across the base to where I set one down to escape an ambush. When it comes to fortifications, it’s a standard affair; fences, walls, turrets, the usual. But it’s not what you have, it’s what you make of it. We managed to place fences in all the exact locations we needed, turrets on each raised corner of the base.
Wave 1 presented us with the grunt enemy types – known as Wanderers – but it was in Wave 2 we met the Bombers. Bombers are weird. The zombies are infected with a crystal-like material, and Bombers are covered in it, protecting their entire body from the torso upwards from fire. Our only tactic was to aim for their legs and hope for the best, which is what we got.
Until they decide to explode.
Yep, kill a Bomber and it blows up and surrounds an area of effect with a hefty amount of damage. The goal was to protect a larger Wormhole Generator, so you can imagine the panic of a Bomber falling in front of that…
With Wave 2 done and (just about) dusted, our eyes were set on the third and final wave. Final waves mean more of the same, but with an emphasis on ‘more’. We get more Wanderers and more Bombers from all direction. However, this time we embark on a side quest – several of which will turn up between waves – to retrieve a couple of Walker Gear’s for us and a comrade. On our travels, and just before we reach our goal, we’re met with Armoured enemies. Suited in full riot gear, only Walker Gear bullets harm them.
Once in the Gears, we make quick work of the Armoured opposition and return to the base to finish off the wave, which very, very quickly descends in to a mess of broken fortifications, zombies everywhere and team mates falling within minutes of each other. And, with 10 seconds left on the clock, we fail our mission. Boo.
That last wave was where Metal Gear Survive shines brightly. We hadn’t organised well enough for two members of the team to be gone prior to the wave and missed the opportunity to strengthen our fortification. Thus, failure. Lessons were learned and we said our farewells, knowing we could have done better if given another shot.
Metal Gear Survive isn’t a game people thought they wanted, or needed, but getting to grips with the unique mechanics will prove intriguing to even the most sceptical of gamer. Plus, the Fox Engine will never not be a sight to behold, holding up valiantly with a sizeably large number of enemies on screen and attacking at once. Rally your fellow militaires sans frontiers and get slaying, it’s worth it.
Metal Gear Survive is due out in Early 2018 for Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC. Support for Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro has been confirmed by Konami.