Don't waste your money

Well, I haven’t used this form of title in a long while. In fact, I believe I’ve only used it once before, and for good reason. Usually I just sort of presume every game has some kind of merit to a specific audience, which means it gets a “Should You Buy” article.

That might be the case here. Certainly the Metal Gear Solid series has its audience of devoted fans, but I sincerely implore them to approach this game with caution. I won’t deny that it has appeal and character. But it’s a prelude to a (presumably) larger game. I want to see that game, not this one.

For myself, I’ve never been able to get into Metal Gear, in much the same way that I’ve never been able to get into Tolkien or General Hospital, though I acknowledge the influence and appeal. The series is like a 30-pound sugarless doughnut: Big, dense, and rather flavorless, just in my opinion.

The game is a sequel to Peace Walker, which I’ve never played. It concerns Big Boss, the former Naked Snake, rescuing some young compatriots from an American prison camp in Cuba. This is more or less all there is to the story. I’m fairly certain I would have had to play Peace Walker to understand the significance of the two kids in the grand scheme of things, but they are just a goal here.

When all is said and done, this game is the length of a demo and costs around $30, and I bought it after Konami dropped the price. For what it offers, which is a bare preview of a presumably deep and involving sandbox stealth game involving a single mission and a few side challenges, that seems steep.

Let me be clear: My franchise-based misgivings notwithstanding, I’m looking forward to The Phantom Pain. Ground Zeroes has done its job in that regard. The stealth is interesting to play. I gave the upper difficulties a try and it was quite the challenge.

Think about how easy this was for Kojima and Konami. They could have offered this game for around $10 US, if not for free. Imagine how different it would have been had they done so: Fans would have had their first entry in the Solid series in four years (or six, depending on how you feel about Peace Walker). Non-fans would have said, “Oh, I recognize that series’ name, and it’s cheap. Might as well give it a try.” The game publisher could have made their money back easily and we could have had a tantalizing glimpse of a juicier game.

I've got my fingers crossed for Phantom Pain. Please don’t mess this one up.

I'm the daughter of a veteran who spent my childhood in Killeen. As of 2013, I have a degree in English from the University of Texas at Austin. I'm a critic of books, films, television, and video games. Find me on Twitter: @rachel_knows

(2) comments


While I'm hardly your proto-typical Kojima fan, I really must question the motive beyond the equivalent of unsubstantiated opinion vomit behind your ‘review.’ Honestly the only indication that the reader is given that you even played the game before offering up such wisdom as “Don't Waste Your Money” is your contention that you ‘gave the upper difficulties a try.’ Barring that gem, you drop canned responses involving the nature of the franchise, culled presumably from some bizarre amalgamation of a high school English class, and the oft-generic responses found in virtually every consumer report written. “Simply insert X product here and you have a review!”

While I certainly don’t discount the ability of amateur journalists, writers, and reviewers to challenge convention and provide a thoughtful dissenting opinion to that which is popular, you certainly haven’t done so- nor have you done the prospective game buying portion of the Killeen Daily Herald’s readership any favors. I can appreciate your free-admittance of not knowing much about the series, the medium, or even apparently gaming in general, uninformed opinions on social media all too often parallel ignorance.

If you want people to respect what you’ve done on any sort of level, I suggest you do some field research beyond Google or Wikipedia. Read what fans of the Metal Gear Solid series (not merely a franchise) have valued and continue to value throughout the nearly 30 year history of the series. Educate yourself on more than the 10-secont etymology of Ground Zeros, and find a better reason beyond the trailer to play the forthcoming Phantom Pain. THEN review the game with an open mind and a clear conscious. If your opinion hasn’t changed, then at least you’ve made your bones and can support it with an informed bias rather than whatever it is you’ve attempted to accomplish here.

Though it may be incredibly trite of my the old adage still holds true: Step up your Game.

Rachel Kaser Staff
Rachel Kaser

Thanks for your opinions, Nezumiiro! You seem to have me at a loss. Do you object to my style of writing or do you disagree with my opinion? I'm not sure which one it is.

If I may ask, what exactly do you expect from me? You call my opinion "unsubstantiated." What would you like to see? Footage of me playing the game? A point-for-point itemization of every pro and con, IGN-style? Technically, there's no proof beyond my word that I've played any of the games I've thus far reviewed. If you don't believe that I have, you're at perfect liberty to click away.

While I don't believe anything I've said in this blog needs to be defended, I will say this for myself: I'm not allowed to put everything on here that I might wish. I have an upper word limit of around 500 words, with rare exceptions. If I have the choice between including dry information on the game mechanics or something a bit more colorful and/or subjective, I will choose the latter.

As for Metal Gear in particular, I can't bring myself to hold a negative opinion of something that hasn't been much of a part of my gaming life, if that's what's worrying you. If your contention is, as it seems to be, that I need past experience with the series in order to appreciate it, then I would say that works to Metal Gear's detriment. It's been almost six years since the release of Metal Gear Solid 4, and I cannot be the only neophyte hopping aboard at this stage. Are you saying that our opinions are inherently worth less than those of long-time fans simply by virtue of the series' level of entrenchment?

If you have a suggestion for how I should revise my review metric, then give it, by all means. If your only objection is that I have not given the history of this particular series the respect you feel it deserves, then I invite you to consider what you want. Even if I were interested in your suggestion that I devote myself to learning the history and influence of this series, I'm under no professional obligation to do that. I paid the price of admission, and that's the only qualification my opinion needs. By the way, all reviews are opinions, even the positive ones. If you're looking for one that isn't "opinion vomit," you could be looking for quite some time.

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