Snake is back. Find out what his latest mission has in store.
For once the mission facing grizzled operative Snake in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes seems straightforward: infiltrate a black site facility located on the Cuban coast, locate two targets and extract them. All in a day's work.
The complications arrive with the mass of disturbing information he uncovers on the ground.
Snake is working with security organisation Militaires Sans Frontières – or MSF – to establish the whereabouts of two trusted agents inside Camp Omega. And since the camp does not officially exist, it is where high-value prisoners are sent to be forcibly relieved of sensitive information. If Paz Ortega Andrade and Chico Libre are broken, their knowledge of MSF could bring the entire outfit down.
The longer Snake spends in Camp Omega, the more concerning the questions become. Where was the mysterious special forces unit known as XOF headed as Snake slipped into the camp? Why does Chico claim Paz is dead? And what caused the horrific scars on Paz's body?
You'll get answers, but the explosive climax of Ground Zeroes begs another question: what comes next? You'll find out in the full-length follow-up, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain.
Here's to you, Hideo
It is 1975, and if Snake sounds noticeably clearer of throat, it's thanks to voice acting by Kiefer Sutherland. He swaps round-the-clock terrorist-hunting in TV show 24 for, well, round-the-clock terrorist-hunting in Ground Zeroes.
In another nod to Hollywood, "Here's to You" by singer Joan Baez and film composer Ennio Morricone frequently pops up on the game's soundtrack, capturing an air of mid-Seventies paranoia. As it plays while the rain lashes down on Camp Omega, as Chico is hauled into an exposed cage, the effect is haunting.
Metal Gear creator and movie buff Hideo Kojima has treated Ground Zeroes as a dramatic intro to a larger story. There's a snapshot of a lethal foe, a pre-credits cliffhanger and a tantalising glimpse of what lies in store in The Phantom Pain.
And just like influential director Alfred Hitchcock, Kojima even throws in a fleeting cameo.
Through it all spotlights flare against the camera, snippets of overheard conversations offer clues to your progress and you a vital insight into Snake's character before the scene is set and the credits roll.
Below the radar
As Snake, your mission begins on a high vantage point just outside Camp Omega. Below you the facility is spread out and all seems oddly serene. As you whip out your binoculars, you can see sentries patrolling the perimeter, a truck winding its way through the camp and in the distance, an ominous walled-off sector.
You'll also notice that the series' traditional radar has disappeared from the corner of your screen. More than ever before, you'll need to rely on what you actually see to inform your next move. There are helpful cues, however – if you're spotted by a guard, the screen is momentarily flooded with light, while enemies tagged with your binoculars can be detected behind walls if you stay still.
Reconnaissance complete, it's time to infiltrate. Since you have just two main objectives, you can eitherflit through the camp, find Paz and Chico and call in a chopper, or you can explore, recovering special patches, audio tapes and following enemies to see what turns up.
Four additional missions – Side Ops – are unlocked after the main campaign, set in the weeks prior to Ground Zeroes. Look out, too, for Déjà Vu, the PS4-exclusive mission that melds 1998 PlayStation classic Metal Gear Solid with the events of this game. Finishing Ground Zeroes is just the beginning.