Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes - How Not to Review

Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes review tips and what not to do.
How not to Review Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes.

The release of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, the prologue to Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, will release on Tuesday, March 18, 2014. Reviews will be surfing their way through the net starting today, Monday, March 17, 2014.  Do you ever wonder what is going on through the minds of a reviewer? Professional or not, every reviewer will have the unfortunate job of putting their own touch to the review with key points to backup their statements and score.

Value over Quality?

Ever since it was announced that Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes will be a $30.00 game, ($20.00 for digital copies) fans, media and press alike have been attacking the game with comments such as; "I am not paying $30.00 for a demo!" "The game is too short, it's not worth it." Note: an article by Game Informer stated that Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes was completed in just two hours. Since then fans and press alike have been in an uproar. One review in particular, Luis Santos of, caught the community by surprise:

"this is not a real game but a glorified demo which Konami and its subsidiary Kojima Productions is forcing its rabid fan base to pay $29.99 for"

His review alone is a showcase of How Not to Review.
If you're reviewing a game based off its length and price, you probably should not review video games. 

If you're reviewing a game based off its length and price, you probably should not review video games.  The length of a video game will always be justified by its quality, therefore, determine the quality of the game, rather the length.  Heavenly Sword is a prime example; a $60.00 game which has been beat in just 5 hours. You are paying $12.00 an hour to complete it. With Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, you're paying $10.00 an hour with an added bonus of free replay-ability and extra missions. Which adds on toward your completion time. Though that's only if we gamers really cared about the value of the game rather than the quality.

Quality is key in gaming, movies, TV shows, books, art and illustrations.

A 5 inch painting can be just as high quality in creativity and content as a 3 foot painting. Professional reviews have no personal banter splashed upon their articles. Whether dying fifty times or being unsatisfied with the graphics.

Before writing a review, explore everything the game you are reviewing has to offer. Complete it 100% before you jot down the 10% you played.

Spoilers: Just Don't

Never in a review, spoil the game in any way, shape, or form. If it hasn't been released for more than 30 days, only write details which have only been posted by the developers in order to ensure your readers get the best experience their first run-through of the game. Whether it be Grand Theft Auto V or The Last of Us, never spoil a video game. You wouldn't want someone to tell you the ending of Avengers: Age of Ultron before you go watch it in a theatre would you?

Telling Viewers What To Do.

It is unwise to sucker punch the game creators by telling readers not to buy their product or by using profanity or slander. It is one thing to list the pros and cons in an organized fashion but on a whole different scale, ranting and raving in your review will do no one any good. No one enjoys being told what to do.

Leave it up to the reader, it is their money and time, do not squander it with an unbalance of negative and positive points in your post.  The decision is in your reader's hands, not yours, most viewers want worth, so tell them your insight without ruining their perspectives and desires to play.

That concludes a short list of How Not to Review.

Look for Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes on Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One this Tuesday, March 18, 2014.  Look forward to a review from me to you.

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Published Mar. 16th 2014
  • Blobface
    There are games that cannot be completed, so by the logic of cost vs hours, Flappybird is more worth it than Half Life 2.

    Anyway, we shouldn't think of this as $30 for Ground Zeroes, but we should think whether Ground Zeroes + Phantom Pain is worth $90, my guess is, yes.
  • Razdek_1361
    This article is so wrong... As a consumer I read reviews. I should be told that the game is not worth the $50 AU price tag for only a 10 minute (yes that is the actual length of gameplay as there are only three actual missions and the rest is mostly cinematics). People SHOULD be trashing this game in reviews to send a clear message to corporations that we the consumers won't be cheated out of our hard earned cash. We demand quality AND a gameing experience that will last longer than a cup of coffee .
  • Ryu Sheng
    I have to admit i disagree with you on the cost versus time. I do agree that it should never be the focus of your review, but it is something that deserves weight. In the case of this game it's a very important factor given how short the game is (it can be finished in just over an hour) and is slightly more expensive than average.

    For example a prime example of this would be Journey, a game that is equally short, but was released at a 9.99 price point for digital and 14.99 as a disc release, but came with a lot of extras that made it worth while.

    As for the rest, i do sort of agree. However for me one of the biggest things i despise on reviews are scores, arbitrary and useless. If you write your post well enough people will get the idea of what you felt about the game. Scores are just a lazy way out
  • Erick Mattos
    Featured Contributor
    Thank you my friend, very good comment and I definitely see your point. Agree on the scores too.
  • SNAKE_6521
    Say what you will but a game that's only an hour long is ....WEAK!
  • SNAKE_6521
    Say what you will but any game that's an hour long is just....WEAK!
  • solidsurfer
    Don't like it, don't buy it... but don't whinge about it....

    I understand that it's short, however, I'm getting it due to the quality not quantity... I want to see what Hideo has planned for MGS V and understand the story behind MGS V. If you really have issue, wait until MGS V comes with Prologue bundled...
  • Dave_9716
    As hard as you tried to be impartial on this matter, I don't think you are, but that's really not a bad thing at all, and I agree with many of the points you made. Anyway, do you think that the overwhelming majority of your colleague/reviewers follow your template of how not to review a game? Recently, Titanfall is an example of how a lack of quantity/content in a $60 game influenced reviewers perception of the game's overall quality. With an average of 87 or so (Metacritic), a really good average, the sum of Titanfall's reviews was a redundant narrative of "Fantastic gameplay", "As fun to watch as play", mixed with "Not enough game modes", and "No single player." Didn't you think the scores (consistent across both major and minor publications) for this game were influenced by a lack of quantity or content? Shouldn't reviewers judge games for their quality RELATIVE to their content? I don't think the art comparison/analogy is fair, because I don't think there is an established precedent as to what a consumer of artwork expects, when compared to the video game consumer. Art is very personal to the consumer as an individual, and often its exclusivity or individuality is its appeal, which gives it its value. Video games are a major industry where big games like MGS and Titanfall appeal to large conglomerates of consumers, hoping to get the most for their dollar. A movie might be a better comparison as it is a piece of entertainment shared by large groups of people. Movies all run anywhere from 90 to 120 minutes, occasionally longer, but rarely shorter. Big games today offer about 40 hours of main story gameplay (i.e. GTA series, Skyrim, upcoming Watch Dogs, etc). MGS is no different. This is the precedent. Would you take time out of your day, and pay half-price on a matinee to see 15 minutes of Robert De Niro at the top of his game? Maybe I would, but probably not. Thanks for your time.
  • Erick Mattos
    Featured Contributor
    Well my template is mostly for a game like Ground Zeroes. There's a lot of games with 200+ hours of game time for $60 but I believe they should still be graded on quality too as well as length IF it's a long game. If a reviewer is just going to say 'This is too short, not worth it" and only plays the main mission. Well, that is not very feasible. The problem with games is that they're like movies but you can play them. A movie is roughly $15 to $25. Giving you 1 to 2 hours of watch time. A game, gives you 2-12 hours on average.

    Ground Zeroes is a short game but the quality of it is awesome. I will be posting a review AFTER I get 100%. I start my game time today :) I will record via If anyone has a capture device, knows how to produce and edit, knows graphic design or anything that can be used to make quality entertainment. Please contact me, I am looking for partners (Unpaid sorry, for now) to join my Gaming Network.
  • Karl_9903
    I didn't have a problem with aforementioned reviewer talking about game length. What I did have a huge problem with was the spoiler. At least give a disclaimer or something – it was such an amateur move. Good article btw Erick.
  • AlbionHero
    Different people have different standards on whats important to a game. Personally, I'd never pay full price for a game unless I can get at least 30 hours out of it. If its shorter, I'll wait for a price drop... I want to get at least a half an hour out of every dollar I spend. So for a game like Ground Zeros, I wouldn't pay more than 5 dollars. Length of a game might not matter to the article writer, but just like he said himself, don't tell your viewers what they should think.
  • Jimi_4757
    Luis' "review" was completely bogus. I'm not sure what mental malfunction was going on in his head but to just randomly write major spoilers about the end was just beyond unprofessional of him. But it's not like Kojima and Konami are hiding the fact this is just sampling and tease into what MGS:PP will be like, but the guy didn't even bother talking about or playing the side missions and then went to ridicule people within the comments section about how he's not going to play or review the side missions which is a huge part of the game and the playing time as well lol. Obviously the guy wasn't fit to do that review, or maybe any review. But it was a bit surreal to see a "review" like that on such a website (if you can even call it a review since he didn't actually review anything, but just ranted about the length and price plus gave away key spoilers).

    They've now removed his article and just left this article which is much more professional...
  • Prateek Saini
    Thank you I agree with what you say
  • okayfrog
    Not sure how to reply to other comments, but I'll just say this is in response to Derp: I disagree. Well, actually, it's a bit more complicated. You want length to be a contributing factor because you're paying good money for a game and you want it to last you a long time. I don't think that's right because it's going back to rating games based on their price and value. Prices change overtime. GZ may be $20 and 2hrs now, but in a couple years it'll be $5 or less and 2hrs. Does it then deserve a better review? I mean, it is cheaper, so you're getting more bang for your buck!

    That being said, I do believe that length can be a contributing factor to a review score, just not in the way you believe it to be. See, if a movie's too long or too short, a reviewer will make a note that the pacing is off. Video games are the same way. Look at something like the Triforce fetch quest used to pad the last few hours of Wind Waker. It throws off the pacing of the game and can be used to point out a flaw in the game. If Ground Zeroes is able to do what it needs to do in the short amount of time given, I don't believe it should be knocked for that. However, if it does leave the player wanting more not because they feel like they got a complete game and look forward to the next one but rather because they feel as if the game is incomplete, then I think it's okay to consider it flawed.
  • Erick Mattos
    Featured Contributor
    Beautiful, just magnificent! Very well said my friend.
  • Erick Mattos
    Featured Contributor
    A good read by Kotaku, perfect timing too, on video game values and the consumers. Check it out:
  • Bluesman_2941
    So basically a game such as Skyrim which boasts hundreds of hours of gaming for $60 should be judged the same as Heavenly Sword's time?

    Sorry, but game time IS a huge factor because THE CONSUMERS have to spend money to play a game. Not everyone can throw away money, I for one don't buy games unless I see a value to it.

    A French website completed the main mission in 25 minutes minus the final cutscene. How does that make you feel? Remember we have already seen 3/4 of the game in the trailers as well.

    Adding side missions, ranking, and collectibles is a crappy way to artificially increase playtime.

    I look forward to see how your review goes.
  • Erick Mattos
    Featured Contributor
    I understand but games have been rated by value for years. The point is; Ground Zeroes has replay-ability, numerous individuals have posted that they have played over 10 hours with 75% completion.

    It's all a matter of opinion though. I might find Adam Sandler hilarious yet you might hate the guy with a passion. The game is $20 and there are way too many factors. Those factors are; Skyrim is big yet, it's $60 and has great value. Heavenly Sword was $60, COD4, Weapons of Fate, etc.

    As I've said; many games have various play times and replay-ability. Some games you're paying 12 dollars an hour, some only 5 dollars. My article is about how reviewers should not fully concentrate on size, length and value. Thank you guys for your feedback.
  • Derp_1264
    Length should be a huge contributing factor to a review score, if a game is 2hrs it should not be rated 8 even if the game is fun for those hrs.....same goes with price, if it's charging too much for the content you get it damn well should hurt the review score...

    GZ should not be a retail game, it was and is designed as a demo, the fact that that are trying to charge for it and how much they are charging is an outrage.
  • Erick Mattos
    Featured Contributor
    Well, at least my article isn't as bad as Examiner :P I appreciate your feedback.
  • ObsessedGeorge
    Thank you dude, that was a great article. I hope that Examiner fires that pathetic Luis guy. Spoiling the ending to others just because he didn't know he bought a "demo". It's prologue, not a demo.

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