Going into Metal Gear Survive, I told myself one thing: I would not try to hold this game up to the standards of the previous Metal Gear games. Survive recycles a lot of assets and gameplay mechanics from The Phantom Pain, and has a pretty fitting theme considering that fact. Survive is appropriately named, given the entire game is about taking what you have and trying to make do with what you have. That is quite literally what Konami has done here. They’ve taken Metal Gear Solid V and built a multiplayer money machine out of it.
The bar was set pretty low for Survive in the first place, and it manages to limp its way over that — but just barely. There is no real sense of drama about the game. The events of this game don’t do a thing to touch on series’ overall story arc, and the gameplay is very little to write home about.
You might think it an odd choice that I’ve decided to separate Survive from the rest of the series, but it was the easiest way to assure my reactions to the game weren’t based on just the change in direction. But if you’ve noticed, I couldn’t escape the looming spectre of Metal Gear Solid V.
Survive is not Kojima’s Metal Gear. No matter how much we all (including the development team at Konami) might wish it were, it’s a sad attempt.
The combat is satisfying but feels recycled, because it is. The maps look familiar, because they are. The matchmaking lobby for the online PVE is the most new thing about Survive, and matchmaking lobbies are hardly original. MGSV doesn’t even do them well. You get a blank white room.
Which seems a bit Freudian considering Survive is supposed to be Konami’s blank slate for all new Metal Gear games. But if this is the foundation they’re building on, the future does not bode well for the series.
Instead of proving that Metal Gear can continue without the mind of Hideo Kojima behind it, Survive has only proven that it can’t — not unless they burn everything behind them and give us a proper blank slate, not a lot of recycled pieces of a groundbreaking game series.
However, Survive is still playable. It isn’t a pile of garbage with a Konami label slapped on it. Parts of it are even enjoyable. Sure, the story has no relevance or stakes, and much of the game is recycled. But Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain was such a good game, even this pale reflection isn’t an abomination. And that might be the kindest thing I can say about it.
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