Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes – The Best ‘Cheap’ Game Since The Orange Box

Before we begin, yes –  Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes can be played through in a matter of minutes (I completed my first play-through in 63 minutes).

Metal-Gear-Solid-Ground-Zeroes-Snake
Snake is back.

That said, Ground Zeroes (GZ) is far more than just a ‘one mission preview’ of the coming Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain.  It is a showcase of sorts for a franchise that has grown over the last few decades.  Not only is it graphically superior (even on PS3) to its predecessors, but it has also taken major steps in gameplay and control.

Metal Gear Solid has been a rather clunky handling game since its inception on PS1.  The side menus for sorting all of the items are gone.  Replaced by a relatively simple D-Pad navigation system for equipped weapons and items.  Other actions can be taken with the new ‘iDroid’ which is basically a quasi-3D PDA that Snake carries around for navigation, cassette and music functionality.  It is a less ‘high tech’ and attached (don’t forget you are supposed to be in the year 1975) Mk2 from MGS 4.

The real improvements to this game are noticed in the actual gameplay.  While MGS3: Subsistence and MGS4 both used the rotatable camera, they still had the clunky gunplay that most MGS fans (and haters) might recall.  For those that don’t know this reference – you basically had to play Twister with your fingers on the controller if you wanted to take out enemies quickly and precisely.  While it became more fluid as you played the game it usually fell short of expectations that games like Splinter Cell pushed for in handling (especially aiming and shooting firearms).

Ground Zeroes doesn’t have that problem anymore.  You now have the ability to handle weapons in a way that is closer to Splinter Cell than ever before.  For some of the MGS ‘purists’ I am sure they will try to raise hell over this new move, but really it is an improvement to the gameplay.  While it may seem to some to be a ‘dumbing down’ of the controls, it is far from that as the challenge is still there – just in a more organic fashion.

The aspect of the game I was most worried about going into this new MGS title was the new voice of Snake.  With the news that David Hayter was no longer the voice of our reluctant hero I became skeptical that anyone could take over the role with the same quality.  Then it was announced that Kiefer Sutherland would be the voice of Snake (aka – Big Boss).  Simply said – he does not disappoint.  At first when Snake says his typical “Kept you waiting, huh?” your reaction will probably feel like when you accidentally called the wrong number and a voice you don’t know says ‘Hello’.  Fear not.  By the time you get to the final part of the game you will see and hear why Sutherland is a welcome addition and change in Snake.

MGS: The Phantom Pain is now my most anticipated next-gen title.
MGS: The Phantom Pain is now my most anticipated next-gen title.

Not only does this game make improvements, but it is also full of other side-missions and other minutia that will keep you busy until The Phantom Pain comes out.  Also, the availability of this title on PS3/360 makes it a joy for those of us that have yet to buy into the next-Gen consoles as we bide our time for the better developed games and the inevitable hardware malfunctions/bugs to seep out and get fixed like last gen consoles (RROD/YLOD).

If you are a fan of the MGS franchise or trying to decide whether to jump into the series – this is worth a purchase.  Not only will you enjoy the additions, but chances are that it won’t leave your system until The Phantom Pain comes out.

Quick Tips For A Happy Christmas of Gaming

You just got it!  The game you have been waiting for for months (or years).  Now the time has come to  go into your gaming realm and avoid the family on this joyous day!  There are a few things to consider quickly before we let you go bury yourself in gaming bliss.

It is Christmas Day and you are a noob. It doesn’t have to suck… but you have some things you have to do first.
  1. MAKE SURE IT IS THE RIGHT GAME! – Did you get the game for the correct system?  Is it the right version (Battlefield 3 or Battlefield 3 Premium)?  Is it brand new?… If it is, don’t be too immediate taking off that plastic wrap and use the 10 seconds you have to read the game and make sure it is the right one!
  2. Is there an installation necessary? – If there is some sort of time involved to install the game before you even get a chance to play it (Metal Gear Solid 4… or any game you want to put on your 360 HDD to prevent unnecessary spinning of the disc) you should go get it started and then find something else to do/open.
  3. Give yourself a moment to learn the feel of the game if it is an FPS.  This is primarily for online shooters like Call of Duty or Halo.  (Don’t let yourself be the ‘Christmas Noob’)
  4. If you are getting Madden or any other sports game make sure you give yourself a challenge and get some sliders before you jump into a career mode.  This can often be key in having strong longevity in your games.
  5. If there is DLC you want/need make sure you buy the points first and give yourself the time needed to download and install.

Happy Holidays and Happy Gaming

Are You Not Entertained? – Actually… No. – The Downward Spiral of Annual Game Releases

If sports and first person shooter (FPS) Video Games were a ‘Nation’ and I were the President of Sports and FPS Video Games, I would have to say that the State of our Union is weak.

This isn’t coming from the stand-point of the gaming companies like Electronic Arts or Activision (judging by their weakening stocks I would say that they feel the same), but from the aspect of gamers.  There are numerous games that have grabbed our attention and held onto it for a few years such as the Elder Scrolls, Fallout, Mass Effect and some others that you might be able to throw out there in the comments section below.  However, sports games and some shooter titles are constantly being thrown at us every year during the summer or fall.

What is becoming more evident as we get closer to the end of this generation of consoles (XBox 360, PS3 and Wii) is that sports and shooter games are really coasting along for the last few quarters before they jump into a new fray of next-gen console development (aka – more of your money).

We have recently focused on games like Madden NFL and NCAA Football sense they are the primary Summer Releases for EA Sports.  The next game that will get our full attention is Black Ops 2.  Call of Duty is a game that is technically released every two years if you want to dive into the fact that it is split between development teams (Infinity Ward and Treyarch).  However, the series itself is pretty much the same concept with a few nuances that make each game slightly different.

These games feel disposable at this point.  We aren’t in a time period of creative thoughts in entertainment in general.  Movies are the same way with sequels and remakes that really aren’t too dissimilar from what annual sports games and FPS games like Call of Duty are doing.  The publishers of these games like to sell you on trailers and big budget marketing rather than actually take the time to be creative and take a chance with something new.

If in 2013 there would be an announcement that Madden and Call of Duty would not be released in order to drive creativity and innovation in each series, would you applaud this decision or take it upon yourself to scream in ALL CAPS that it is the worst thing that ever happened to gaming?

NoobTubeTV would applaud this decision but what is your take?

Metal Gear Solid 5 Confirmed – Was There A Brief Sign In MGS 4?

It is one thing to grab onto a rumor and let it throw you around like a cat on a ceiling fanIt is another story altogether when the developer/director confirms the news.  Kojima has always been great at marketing his games and putting the pressure on himself and his game designers to make every Metal Gear title the best it can be.  It was after hearing this that speculation started jumping around the collective head of NoobTubeTV and the rest of the Metal Gear fanverse.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is slated to come out at the end of 2012.  If you couple the return of Raiden (a badass bionic ninja) in the upcoming game with the fact that Metal Gear Solid 4 was Solid Snake’s ‘Final Mission’ you would think that the series would be meeting its end. Then again… this is Kojima’s story about Nanomachines and Cloning we are talking about!

Without trying to spoil anything for those that have yet to play Metal Gear Solid 4 (or any of the other MGS Titles) –

There is a cinematic scene in Act 2 where Snake is interacting with Naomi Hunter (the original scientist that injected Snake with Nanomachines “Foxdie” in the first MGS title).  As you can see from MGS to MGS2 and then finally MGS4, Solid Snake has aged like Mel Gibson in Forever Young.  This is the entire meta-story of MGS4 in a nutshell and it really seems to be the beginning of MGS5.

Dr. Naomi Hunter – The Queen of Jacking with DNA and Nanomachines… Do we have her to thank for MGS 5?

During this cinematic scene, Naomi takes a reading of Snake’s cellular structure and DNA.  In the process you can see her screen and it reads “Copying Solid Snake”.

While this seems like a crazy thing to grab onto as the basis for the next MGS game, you should take stock of all the hints and fun bits Kojima has included in past MGS titles.

The next step is for Kojima to give a projected release table… and he hasn’t.

This leaves two possibilities:

1 – Metal Gear Solid 5 will be among the final games developed for the XBox 360 and Playstation 3 generation of consoles.

OR

2 – Metal Gear Solid 5 will be among the first games developed for the next generation of consoles and could once again be a Playstation exclusive title in order to push sales of new consoles when they are announced.

Either way it goes there is some joy to be had in the Metal Gear fan community.  However, this does beg the questions –

If Snake is cloned again… what will he be like?

What will his name be?  (Solid and Liquid are taken… Gas Snake seems a little stinky)

How will the other characters develop? (Don’t forget about Sunny! She looks like a big part of the future of Metal Gear)

 

Is This The Worst Year In Gaming?

You may read the title and think I am nuts, but continue reading and you will see the light.

The first and most obvious sign that this year is a bad one for developers is the fact that we have Call of Duty Black Ops 2 (from Treyarch, aka – The Bad COD Developer) competing against (and already defeating) EA’s Medal of Honor: Warfighter.  Why do these two high profile games make a case for this being the worst year in gaming?  The answer goes a bit deeper but we will start with the fact that you have already seen these titles before.  Black Ops 2 is going to be based in the ‘future’ and Warfighter lets you fight in a war against terrorism with different groups of fighters from around the world.  Terrorism, future bad guys, leaderboards, prestige ranks, overpowered weapons, whining teenagers and ‘reload’.  You now have the end of 2012 being a fine example for what 2012 was for many gamers – the worst year in gaming.

 

Exhibit 1 – Mass Effect 3

It is one thing to have games like Call of Duty bringing whining people out of the woodwork, but when it is an RPG and you bring the nerds out of the woodwork – you better be ready to see the gates of Mordor open up and Sauron to have his eye upon you.

Mass Effect 3 was disappointing for multiple reasons, outside of the lame ending (which caused many Mass Effect fanboys to demand and get their money back from Amazon) there was also the somewhat forced multiplayer component.  The problem with multiplayer in story-based RPGs is that it makes it feel more like a buddy movie than an epic saga.  Say what you want, but Mass Effect 3 was a bad omen for gaming in 2012.

 

 

 

Exhibit 2 – No New Console Updates

You would think that with the gaming community all but beating on the doors for a new console from Sony and Microsoft that there would be some talk about a new console or at least some sort of new processing power that they are working with.  You have gotten nothing but rumors and even those are only coming from the XBox… where are the Playstation rumors?

 

 

 

Exhibit 3 – Sports Titles Are Garbage

Somehow there is a way to screw up games that are based around stuff we enjoy on an everyday basis.  While there is one shining beacon of hope coming from Sony’s MLB The Show baseball series – it seems that every mainstreamAmerican sports game (soccer and hockey somehow avoid this distinction) is a sad excuse for software development.

Be honest, Madden and NCAA Football have been essentially the same game for 3+ years.  While they have made some tweaks in Madden for Real Time Physics and Tuners (which werenever once used) they have avoided any real sense of innovation since they bought the exclusive rights to make NFL games and knocked 2K Sports out of the running.

This left 2K to throw their weight behind two sports – Basketball and Baseball.

2K’s basketball is perhaps only rivaled by MLB The Show in quality and overall awesomeness.  It is incredibly deep and very well developed.  The game is smooth and the AI/CPU is intelligent during the game.  The depth of Association Mode and My Player being this game to the forefront of sports gaming.  Unfortunately, 2K also makes baseball games.

2K baseball has been a disaster ever sense MLB 2K8 was released, between the glitches and frame-rate issues there is little reason to talk about, let alone consider this game as anything more than the XBox owner’s only option for baseball gaming.  That is the saddest part of all.

Sports gamers often have no choice.

There are many other reasons we could sulk over a bad year in gaming, but what about the perks and the great things that have happened in gaming?  Don’t worry – we will have a lot of time to cover those as NoobTubeTV is going into overhaul to bring you the best in gaming.

Let The Rumors Start Rolling In! – XBox 720 Info Leaked?

Well, it is that time of year again.  Just after E3 when some people are holding out hope for the announcement of a new console – only to be disappointed to see that no such announcement will take place until at least next year.  As soon as that happens, you will start seeing the most devoted (insane) gamers start scouring the internet for any sort of leaks of new information about the next consoles to be released.

The latest ‘leak’ was posted on EGM (via Scribd) and it was then pulled down and removed through the advising of one of Microsoft’s corporate law advisers.

Some of the rumors have the new console being released at the $300 mark.  If that is the case, it could be one of the most shocking aspects of this ‘discovery’.  Although, one shouldn’t forget that Microsoft and Sony have started to make a habit out of releasing multiple consoles in different versions since 2005.  Some have been stripped down shells of what they should have been (4GB 360 Slim and 20GB PS3 – I’m looking at you!).  So, please keep in mind that $300 could be the low end model (if this is even legitimate in the first place).

If this is fake, it is fake… If it is real it could be the best thing Microsoft could do to make Sony re-think another console release at $600.

We won’t be devoting a lot of time to this rumor due to the nature of it being just that… a rumor.  However, it is intriguing to consider the possibilities of a system that could have some of the specifications listed in the brief article.

What are you looking for at this point in a console?  Does this rumor excite you about the future or were you expecting something different altogether?