Metal Gear Survive review: Konami, I’m dyin’ over here!

Credits: Konami
Credits: Konami /

Metal Gear Survive is the first attempt by Konami to bring the series back to life without series creator Hideo Kojima, failing to deliver the experience that most will want.

Title: Metal Gear Survive
Developer: Konami
Publisher: Konami
Platform: PlayStation 4, PC, Xbox One
Release Date: February 20, 2018

I’ve been standing here for quite some time, staring down a wall of poisonous dust before me while the last few drops of rain run off my gloves. It’s a breath of fresh air after having left what seemed like a never-ending grey, churning storm of poison that will kill any who set foot into it without the proper gear. Unfortunately, it’s not my fate to enjoy the few moments of safety I’ve been given; instead, it’s time for me to venture forth and forage for valuables such as food, water, and medical supplies. As much as I hate it, it’s what I need to do; it’s the only way for my colleagues and me to survive this harsh and terrible world.

The world I’ve come to know, the one they call Dite, is oppressive one and it’s a dangerous one to inhabit for those who don’t play by its rules. Unlike those who don’t, I’ve adapted to survive through the use of bow, spear, and knife; I’ve been here long enough to know how to live. I’ve learned to craft weapons for when I need them, to maintain them so that they can function as needed to ensure my survival and the safety of my newfound companions.

But it’s not just me I have to worry about anymore. I’ve run into several other unfortunate souls that now call this Hellscape of a world home. A world where wanderers, a zombie-like creature with a red crystal for heads inhabits the lands, killing anything and everything reckless enough to cross paths their paths. They were my colleagues, my friends and the people I once called family.

Much like The Phantom Pain, Metal Gear Survive kicks off immediately after the events of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes; during the destruction of Big Boss’ Mother Base and his heroic escape. As a regular grunt in Big Boss’ private army, you’ve been left behind on the steadily sinking ruins of Mother Base, only to be sucked into a wormhole and transported to another dimension moments later. In the world of Dite, players are thrown into a hostile and barren wasteland that’s littered with rubble, wrecked cars, abandoned outposts, and once-soldiers turned wanderers.

As exciting as the world of Metal Gear Survive may sound, it’s a hollow, dark, and gloomy world, one that feels uninspired compared to dark and haunting wildernesses or hot and desolate desert lands. Metal Gear Survive feels thoroughly bland and consistently painted in colors of dark-browns and smokey greys, one where I never once felt the need to dive into the walls of dust and forage for the supplies that lie just behind their deadly curtain of volatile air.

Metal Gear Survive would soon become filled with repetition I would grow tired of.

However, there is one element leaning in Metal Gear Survive’s favor: its environment. Every time I venture beyond the fenced in walls of my well-guarded safe haven, I get nervous about where I’m going, whether I grabbed enough food and water to make the trip, and if I have enough arrows to fend off any foes that I may encounter. Unlike my time with the previous main-series entry, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, I found the overall experience one filled with frustration and confusion, feeling like a real slog after the game’s opening hours.

Metal Gear Survive would soon become filled with repetition I would grow tired of. The idea of creating another character would come to mind but quickly halted due to a setback caused by microtransactions. That setback requires me to delete my character or pay an extra $10 to start completely over in hopes for a better experience than the one I’d already begun to explore.

Credits: Konami
Credits: Konami /

But as a fan of survival games, I felt that Metal Gear Survive quickly felt like a lackluster experience troubled by a myriad of menus, tutorials and missions that felt as if they lacked any real depth or meaning to them. While the menus and tutorials themselves are overwhelming due to the multitude of crafting stations available throughout the course of the game, the trouble doesn’t end there by any means. While exploring the vast lands of Dite, Survivor (your character) feels as if they’ve been wading through a pit of tar, and even runs out of breath just as quickly as they began to find their running pace.

Maneuvering over rocks and sneaking about consumes your character’s stamina, leaving them winded and vulnerable to any threats that lurk about. Even if you manage to take a few enemies out and are reluctant enough to harvest the kuban energy from their fallen corpse (a rather important in-game currency that is used for crafting), refill your oxygen while out in the dust and even level up your character, everything feels like a full task in its own. Due to how valuable kuban is, it’s a choice of life and death.

Everything object in Metal Gear Survive has a purpose, even if it requires mundane actions such as beating an oil drum a dozen or so times with a bat to turn it into usable iron. Even that flying bird above could be a safety net, preventing you from starving to death when stranded deep within the dust. Unfortunately, this makes the task of playing feel languid, laborious and a poor choice of design. When this becomes the majority of gameplay, it results in a boring, repetitive experience.

If this isn’t exactly your cup of tea and you prefer a bit more action, there is an online co-op mode for fans to enjoy. In this mode, players can work alongside their friends by playing through the game’s defense focused missions. While these missions are certainly entertaining, there are still a few drawbacks to them, as well. Players will need to progress through the campaign in order to unlock more maps to test your skills, unlock higher difficulties and level up your survivor to put you on even grounds with the foes you’ll be squaring off against.

Credits: Konami
Credits: Konami /

If you’re just starting out, the multiplayer should be considered a last-resort option when looking for something new to do, as the starting equipment you are given won’t be effective, and your resources you use in the mode are still rather scarce. You’ll still need to watch over both thirst and hunger so that your health and stamina can be fully restored at any given time.

Much as one would expect, thanks to the survival elements of the Fox Engine gifted to Konami by the departed Kojima Productions, there is a moderately well-done title deep within Metal Gear Survive. However, when it comes down to the final execution, fans looking for amazingly well-done stealth-action with a strong narrative are better off sticking with the Metal Gear Solid V predecessor titles and their online component, Metal Gear Online.

If you’re willing to take the dive, toss out your stealth-action adventure for a rather strict and tedious resource gathering, item management and playing “Inventory Manager 2018 Edition,” then Metal Gear Survive has your back until something better comes along.

Konami. . METAL GEAR SURVIVE. 5. When said and done, <i>Metal Gear Survive</i> is a <i>Metal Gear</i> only in its name. While it certainly has the ambition to be a great survival game, it ultimately falls short of doing so due to its myriad of menus, tutorials and a forced microtransaction on character save slots that players are forced to endure. This is a game poorly planned and executed by Konami, and unfortunately, could be the final nail in the coffin for longtime fans of the <i>Metal Gear</i> franchise.

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of a review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.