Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes

Common Sense Media says

Exceptionally dark and violent war game is joyless, brief.

Age(i)

NOT FOR KIDS

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

As with all the games in the Metal Gear series, this one wants to make players consider the meaning of war, the roles of soldiers, the motives and methods of governments, and the driving forces behind private military companies. But, although it provides plenty to think about, the message ends up a confusing mess -- especially given that players take on the role of a soldier with murky motives and end up doing a lot of vicious killing.   

Positive role models

The game's protagonist, Big Boss, is a complex villain in the Metal Gear series. His reasons for doing terrible things sometimes make a twisted sort of sense. In this game he kills American soldiers -- sometimes needlessly -- to accomplish his objectives, but his objectives are to save a pair of prisoners suffering terrible torture. Regardless, he's clearly not a good model for kids.

Ease of play

Instructions are provided throughout the game, but most players will end up figuring things out through trial and error. The button layout is a bit unintuitive, so it may take some time to master the controls. A "hard" mode exists for players looking for more of a challenge than what's offered in the default "normal" mode.

Violence

Players use rifles, pistols, rocket launchers, and positioned weapons to kill U.S. marines guarding an island prison. Blood sprays from victims' bodies with each hit, accompanied by cries of pain. Players also can choke enemies to unconsciousness and use a knife to execute the soldiers they capture. One particularly gruesome scene involves an impromptu surgery to remove a bomb from a woman's stomach, and it shows in gory detail the incision as well as the medic's hands rooting around her intestines to find the device. Evidence of torture is apparent in many of the camp's prisoners, whose clothes are stained with blood. One has had bolts driven into his ankles to keep him from walking. Lengthy cassette recordings provide an audio account of whipping and torture, including what sounds like a sexual assault on a woman.

Sex

There is no nudity, but a woman's rape is implied via an audio recording that includes the sound of whip lashes, moans, crying, and clothing being ripped. 

Language

Infrequent use of words including "f--k," "bitch," and "s--t."

Consumerism

This game is part of Konami's Metal Gear Solid series, which is decades old and an entrenched part of video-game culture.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Big Boss smokes a cigar in a video that runs on the game's home screen.

Privacy & safety

No privacy and safety concerns. Online leaderboards exist but show only player handles.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is absolutely not intended for kids. In addition to its gritty military action, which includes gun battles and intense close-quarters knife combat against American soldiers, the story also includes what sounds like a vicious sexual assault, with whipping, crying, and moaning, heard via an audio recording. What's more, players encounter prisoners who have been brutally tortured, and there's a graphic and gory surgery performed on a conscious woman to remove a large bomb from her abdomen. The motivations of the game's protagonist -- the leader of a private army and an outright villain in other entries in the series -- are murky and never fully revealed, making it difficult to determine whether one ought to support his actions. This game contains explicit and mature themes clearly intended for an adult audience.

Parents say

Not yet rated
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Kids say

What's it about?

METAL GEAR SOLID V: GROUND ZEROES is a precursor to the next big game in the series, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. It focuses on a character named Big Boss who, disillusioned and at odds with the American government, raids a secret U.S. prison camp guarded by Marines in an effort to recover a pair of tortured comrades. He must use stealth to find them, listening to and occasionally torturing them for information. Players have the option of engaging in full-fledged gunfights as they carry out their mission or operating in complete silence, avoiding guards and cameras and shimmying through bushes and gutters. The game is composed of only a single, hour-long mission, though players can unlock an additional five bonus missions set on the same map with new objectives.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

There's not much to recommend the curious and ultimately failed experiment that is Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. At just more than an hour long (plus bonus missions), it feels like little more than an expensive, hyped-up demo for a much, much bigger game yet to come. It provides just enough time to become acquainted with its quirky controls and surprisingly combat-oriented action -- it's pretty easy to run up a body count of a dozen or more guards, which seems directly at odds with the game's stealthy premise -- before wrapping things up.

Perhaps worse, its narrative grapples with some deep, dark issues that the writers don't seem to have the chops to properly tackle. Clumsy and disturbing attempts to establish character motives -- including what sounds like an horrific torture rape in an audio log -- don't come with the backstory or resolution necessary to validate their presence. This is a game that clearly isn't meant for kids, but it's hard to imagine that many mature players will have much fun with it, either.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. This is a rare game in which the player's mission involves killing U.S. soldiers performing their duty. How does this make you feel as a player? Does the narrative support the action?

  • Families also can discuss storytelling in games. Games relate narrative much differently from other media, making players active participants in situations rather than simply observers of them. What impact does this have on those who play? 

Game details

Platforms:PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Price:$29.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Konami
Release date:March 19, 2014
Genre:Third-person shooter
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Violence, Strong Language (PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One)

This review of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 15 years old Written byRyanL 1 April 1, 2015
AGE
13
QUALITY
 

Not for kids.. Weeeeeell.

First off, don't buy this for anything less than $10. Now that I have that out of the way, is this really a 2 star game. A 2 star MGS game? Well, for people who bought this game at full price, this game deserves 2. Kojima fooled many long time fans riding on the hype of MGS V into buying an incomplete product. The actual game though is great when you throw aside price. I was worried about MGS, I mean we now have more of an action game than ever before. We can see enemy's through walls, we have slow motion so it's impossible to get detected. Even though these can be disabled which I highly recommended MGS is going down a bad road. Kojima has said he wanted it to end with 3 and I think that would've been fine, MGS is starting to become an over milked franchise like COD or EA's sports game with only updated rosters. Now we get to see what it'll be like without him but that's a story for another day. Alright, the other guy hear who just said "Don't listen to Commensense, listen to me!" is completely wrong and stupid. There aren't any positive message's here besides your typical good guy vs bad guy. Not that much violence? We get to watch an impromptu surgery as a doctor uses his hands and rummages through a girl's stomach for a bomb. Then she dies anyway. These writer's just don't know how to do true dark and gritty writing. Go back to what you had before with MGS. The environment is awesome at first with multiple path's to an objective but then you lose the illusion and realize that there are only a few path's to each objective which are all dull. David Hayter is gone but the new guy is fine unless you're seriously nostalgic about MGS which I'm not. MGS is becoming way to action-oriented, I mean, there are boring on rails turret section's on a helicopter even but minus the turret. The graphic's are a smooth 60 fps and 1080p. The sound is good. But the guy who said sex 0/10, might as well jump of a cliff because he has nothing to contribute to society. There are heavy, HEAVY, implementation's. And to the people saying they haven't found the tape. You get it automatically and are told to turn it on and listen to find that person. How did you miss this? Swearing isn't that bad actually and the control scheme is different but easy to adapt to. No drugs or anything. Don't be an idiot an let your 8 year old play this, that person is either high, trolling or just plain stupid. This game is for 15 plus, maybe 13 if your child is mature enough. Even if your child is old enough he may not like the dark gritty tone of the games. Regarding full price. 2 stars. Disregarding price. 3 stars (Action-oriented and poor writing)
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much consumerism
Teen, 17 years old Written byDjoeydjent June 15, 2014
AGE
17
QUALITY
 

It's Metal Gear, what do you expect?

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is an exemplary game, one that all future stealth-action games will look to for inspiration. Excellent gameplay and brilliant visuals are commonplace in the Metal Gear series, and Ground Zeroes is no exception. The new open-world style play is a perfect fit for the Metal Gear series. Aside from the actual game, there's the story. It's short and very barebones, but the dramatic conclusion sets up the next game, The Phantom Pain, expertly. That said, there is some heavily controversial content here that would not suit children whatsoever. Heavily violent, emotional, and political, the subject matter is far too dense and complex for them. There is nothing explicitly sexual about the game, but I hear you can find an audio recording depicting rape in the game, though I have yet to find it. I highly recommend this game for adults, as it is completely worth the $20 digital purchase for PS3 and Xbox 360.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Kid, 12 years old June 9, 2014
AGE
8
QUALITY
 

Do not listen to Common Sense, LISTEN TO ME!!!!

I've played this game, and it is awesome for any kid that loves strategy games. Now to the review Language 4/10: Says only h*ll, d*mn, b*tch, and sh*t (and not even one f*ck). That's what you hear in Teen games. Violence 5.5/10: When you shoot enemies (there is tranquilizing in this game also) or drive over enemies blood comes out but it's like the blood you see in Everyone games so it's animated. You listen to a sexual violence tape that is not even visible to hear because you barely hear anything! Sex 0/10: This is a Tactical Espionage game, it says it right on front of the cover. Drugs and Drinking, etc. 1/10: You see the soldiers smoking but I bet you and your child or children see that every day. Positive messages 8/10: Solid Snake (A.K.A. Big Boss) is trying to save two people he cares about in life and he is trying to defeat his brother Liquid Snake to save the world. Positive Role Models 10/10: Solid Snake: This main character is bringing an end to this war so peace could be restored. Paz: She is a ordinary girl that gives advice to Solid Snake so he could finish missions successfully. Chico: A boy that give valuable information to Snake on the enemy he's about to face. So I am a true die hard fan of the Metal Gear Series. So do me one favor, GET METAL GEAR SOLID!!!!!! I recommend getting all the games to play because they're really fun!!!! Well, gonna play some more, bye!!!!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Easy to play/use

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