More than any other game this year, I was looking forward to finally getting my hands on Metal Gear Survive. This was both due to excitement (I adored Metal Gear Solid V), but also due to some skepticism. Seeing how it’s the first Metal Gear game since Hideo Kojima’s highly publicized departure from the company, I wanted to see if the series would still have its signature charm without its eccentric creator.
After a few minutes into my appointment, I was incredibly relieved. Metal Gear Survive, while definitely different, is still very much a Metal Gear game. Since it’s using the Fox Engine, the game’s action felt instantly familiar to me. All of The Phantom Pain‘s polished espionage action is present, but it’s used in a very different way. No longer are players sneaking into enemy bases in order to fulton everything that isn’t glued to the ground, as they are now defending themselves against hordes of zombie-like creatures.
The change in goal, also manifests itself in Survive‘s mechanics. Players can now use the directional pad to bring up various items that can help solidify an outpost and block out the undead enemies. From chain link fences to towers, I was able to decide how my team of four was going to defend the base. Freedom has always been an essential part of Metal Gear, as creative solutions to problems have always been encouraged, and it’s necessary that this game nails that component.
One of the biggest changes comes from the new enemies. No longer are players dealing with the intelligent guards found in The Phantom Pain, as they now have to take out a series of creatures that walk right towards the player. This leads to a much more action-oriented experience, although I wouldn’t say it’s without strategy. Resource management is key in Survive, which meant I had to save my ammo for bigger enemies, and try to take out lone foes with the combat knife my character was equipped with.
Most of the enemies are relatively easy to dispatch, but during each wave my team was tasked with eliminating some bigger threats that were trying to make their way to my base’s core. These grotesque looking enemies, hulked over the player, and could absorb bullets if they weren’t shot in their weak point. Working with a team to take down these dangerous foes was highly satisfying, and it offers up some solid variety during the mission.
A lot of elements from MGS V‘s open-world structure also reappear here, as there are optional side objectives that players can complete while in between waves. One of these found me securing a Walker Gear, a smaller robot that my created character could ride in. This helped the team out, as the Walkers have a powerful melee attack that took out the weaker enemies in one hit. This allowed us to finish the mission successfully, after which a ton of loot dropped from the sky.
While I only got to check out the cooperative multiplayer portion of Metal Gear Survive, there is a fully fledged single-player component. All of the rewards that players receive from the co-op sessions will feed back into the solo campaign, so players can then craft new weapons and gear. Konami wasn’t ready to detail the solo mode, but the solid multiplayer has me excited to learn more.
Some may want to dismiss Metal Gear Survive as a sort of cash grab by Konami, but it’s clear that a lot of effort has gone into making this a worthwhile spin-off. It certainly helps to have the Metal Gear Solid V gameplay as an incredible base to start off with, but this new cooperative riff on that is a fresh experience. It’s coming along very nicely as its early 2018 release nears, and I can’t wait to see what the full game offers.
Metal Gear Survive is set to release in 2018 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. Previewed on PS4.