Stepping into the Konami meeting room at E3 2017, I was not sure what to expect from Metal Gear Survive. This is a game that when first revealed seemed like a cash grab, lacking much of the heart that made the Metal Gear series so iconic and beloved. When I went into the demo, I went in with an open mind and left happy to be proven wrong about the product.
The demo started off with the reps from Konami giving us a brief look at the systems at play in Metal Gear Survive along with a look at the gameplay loop we would be experiencing. The demo we got to play was a multiplayer-only segment of the game. We were told that although only multiplayer was on display, there would be a single-player component in the final product.
It should be noted that while it does have the Metal Gear branding, Metal Gear Survive is not a mainline game in the series. This is first and foremost a spinoff title. It carries over many of the ideas from Metal Gear Solid V, but players should not expect the depth or scope that would be seen in mainline titles, Survive is a more specific experience and one that seems well crafted for that purpose.
Starting off the gameplay session, all players were dropped in a lobby where we had a chance to test out skills, learn the machines and controls, and prep for the battle. This section gave a good idea of what we should expect and with this being the first time I have ever had a chance to go hands-on with the game, it allowed me to see how the new abilities and skills will play in when putting to the test. I opted for a shooter class, as did many other members of my team.
Starting up the game, we were presented with a familiar Metal Gear landscape. The setting of Metal Gear Survive felt reminiscent to that of Metal Gear Solid V, from the buildings to the way the game controlled. If you have played the main games in the series, you will quickly feel at home in this game.
From this point, we had to use the resources on hand to build up defences as quickly as possible. The reactor in the centre of the building was the point we had to defend, and using the tools and scenery on hand we had to try and built the best possible base we could to face off against the incoming crowd.
If this sounds familiar, you are not wrong, Metal Gear Survive feels very reminiscent of the Gears of War Horde mode, where you as the player must fend off wave after wave of hostiles slowly building up after each wave is defeated. That is not to say Metal Gear Survive is just a knock off version of this mode, it does a very competent reworking of this concept, taking the iconic Metal Gear items and character movements and adapting them to this new style of gameplay.
Once the wave began, every shot needed to count. Resources in Metal Gear Survive are scarce, and if you run out of ammo mid-wave, you will be of little use in defending your reactor. As the creatures tore through the fences and other traps my team worked to build up at the start of the round, it became clear that this game was no cakewalk. Even the early waves of hostiles could pose a challenge to a team that was ill-prepared or are not working together.
Once we fended off this first wave, we as a team had another chance to repair our base, gather resources and restock our inventories. The mid-game break quickly became a frantic dash to try and fix everything the enemy creatures had destroyed in their previous attack, along with trying to restock all the ammo I managed to use trying to take some of the creatures down.
I quickly went to gather resources and take to crafting. With everything using the materials you find around the world, you need to be quick and efficient with your time, and although I did not think I used as much as I did, I found myself woefully understocked for the impending second wave. Although I managed to restock some of my ammo, my traps and defences were all but depleted. This made for a very tense second round, although it also increased the sense of reward once the last creature was taken down and another wave was put to rest.
It was after this round that we as a team had the chance to complete a side mission. With a few members of my team setting off to take them on, I went to better stock my inventory. This mixing of duties worked well for the game. The team members that took on the side mission were rewarded with D-Walkers that they could use for the coming battle, whereas I had a stock of ammo and defences that could be used to fend off the final wave.
The third and final wave proved to be the most challenging, as one would expect. Even with all the planning, new D-Walkers, and improved defence, we were quickly overrun with the creatures. Lasting almost until the end of the wave, our reactor sadly did not make it, and we lost. That is not to say all was wasted. Even in defeat, we were rewarded with some new loot along with an overview of how everyone did in the battle.
Metal Gear Survive is shaping up to be a tense and fun side experience. While there are a few flaws I have with the gameplay loop and the way the systems are explained in the game, at least from the demo, there are some fantastic ideas on display. Konami may not be building the next great Metal Gear, but they are crafting a fun multiplayer experience that will be fun to play with a group of friends.
There are some compelling ideas present within Metal Gear Survive, although it has yet to be seen how well they will all work in the final product. It is also unclear how the single-player component of the game will shape up. But, at least from what I have seen, I am interested to see more from Metal Gear Survive and to see how Konami carries on the Metal Gear Legacy. The game is slated to come out on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC early 2018.