Gotta make this quick cuz every minute I spend writing is a minute I’m not playing.
I took a chance on Metal Gear Survive. Yeah, I played the beta but the beta was just the co-op stuff. I was interested in the single player game. I wanted a game like Don’t Starve or 7 Days to Die but shinier. Better graphics, smoother gameplay. I was hoping Metal Gear Survive would be that and so far, it is.
I’m not a Metal Gear fan. I came to the game for the Survive part. That might make me unusual.
So far (and I only have a few hours into it, and there’s a LOT of cut scenes action at the start plus I spent WAY too much time creating my character) the basic loop is:
1) Scrounge for food/water so I don’t die
2) Scrounge for materials to craft with
3) Do quests when there is time
Quests (given by a pair of goofy/annoying AIs) are basically fetch quests: go find a memory core and bring it back. Said memory core is generally in the midst of a bunch of zombie things (not rotting-body zombies, closer to the creatures in The Last of Us. Human bodies that have been taken over by a life form) called Wanderers. When you bring it back to home base, it progresses the story and unlocks new game systems.
It doesn’t take long before you start having to enter the Dust which covers most of the world. To enter the Dust requires an air-tank, so now you have to monitor hunger, thirst and air supply. The Dust is really claustrophobic; you lose a lot of your hud and have to navigate by keeping an eye on the lights of high towers that rise over the dust layer.
So I scrounged and built a spear, hunted some sheep and foraged for clean water. Roasted up the mutton I’d taken from the sheep, then headed out to find a memory core. Your hunger and thirst levels go up fast, (lots of complaints that it is too fast but I find it a good challenge; also lore-wise, you are infected by this life form which might explain why they change so quickly) and faster if you’re sprinting or fighting. You do much better going at a slower pace, fighting only when it is required and using stealth to get the job done. This is going to drive a LOT of people crazy; the game rewards caution.
You can craft things, but as far as I can tell you can’t build buildings. Fences and barricades seem to be as far as things go. When you’re scrounging, you can smash up some things but not everything. So it’s not Fortnite, but it can feel kind of similar in the way you engage in the gather and build cycle.
Eventually I crafted a Rusty Machete and unlocked a skill system that I could use to open up special moves and so forth. I still use the spear a lot though, since I can jab Wanderers through chain link fences while staying safe from their clumsy attacks. Once you build gear you have to keep it in good repair and you can upgrade it, too. You’re always going to need more crafting materials.
Death is actually not super punishing. I did starve once. I had the choice of restoring my most recent save (the game auto-saves so you can’t just save every few minutes) or I could return to base camp, leaving all my stuff I’d gathered on my corpse, at which point I could go retrieve it.
At the end of the night I unlocked the co-op stuff. I was level 2. I was matchmade with a level 17, level 18 and a level 1 guy. Monsters are level 20. I died a lot. If you play, I suggest waiting a while before heading into co-op. I did get a lot of rewards though.
My next quest is to go off into the unknown parts of the map to find a teleporter, which sounds like they act sort of like towers in an Ubi game. If I find this place I think it’ll push back the Fog of War on the map, and offer me a Fast Travel option. I can’t wait to find out.
The game is getting pretty well ignored and/or hated on because of interactions between Konami and Hideo Kojima. Lots of review bombing going on.
But so far, I’m having fun. That it launched at $40 helps, too. My guess is that this is going to be one of those games that gets “discovered” when it goes on sale at some point, or is included as a freebie in Games with Gold or Playstation Plus. It’s hard to shout down the crowd and say “This is a good game” when so many are mad about the politics.
If you love survival games though, I’d say take a chance. If you want a game like the last Metal Gear, then I don’t think this is for you. I don’t feel much like Snake. I feel more like Rick from The Walking Dead trying to get supplies without setting off the Walkers.
After a second evening, still having fun. I’ve rescued another survivor, planted some crops, learned how to make flashlights and chemical lights just in time to be sent into a dark ruin. The game is really scratching a lot of itches for me. It’s the kind of game where if you set out on a quest and fail, you can still salvage some progress from it. Usually anyway. You’re always gathering Energy which acts as both EXP and currency. As long as you don’t flat-out die and restore a save, you’ve probably made a positive gain in energy during each outting whether you clear a quest or not.
I’m now using a bow which makes combat more fun. I switch it up between bow and machete, and I’ve learned a few more combat moves. Having a great time. Wish more people would give this a try.