A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Explores concepts of community, survival. Some segments encourage teamwork. Occasionally addresses thorny themes of war, including moral relativism, child soldiering.
Positive Role Models
Player character's skin color, gender can be customized. He/she is largely silent, but helps other survivors whenever possible by carrying them to safety, providing essential supplies. Other characters display varying levels of compassion, trust, self-interest.
Ease of Play
Steady learning curve stretches out over first dozen hours, slowly teaching players a variety of complex game systems, mechanics. Missions can be challenging, with long stretches without opportunity to save, no option to lower difficulty.
Violence & Scariness
Third-person combat against soldiers transformed into alien monsters involves knives, guns, bows and arrows, explosives. Enemy bodies sometimes break into crystalline chunks. Realistic player character injuries include rivulets of blood running down screen.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Female avatars can be adorned in a bra-like top revealing deep cleavage.
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Infrequent moderate language, including "s--t."
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Products & Purchases
Microtransactions allow players to spend real-world money to gain advantages within the game.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Metal Gear Survive is an adventure game about surviving an alternate dimension filled with aliens and monsters. The hero does battle with humanoid creatures using knives, guns, explosives, traps, and a bow and arrow, sometimes causing them to break into crystalline chunks. Blood runs down the screen in vivid red rivulets when the player's character suffers a vital injury. The main character is customizable, with players able to edit gender, skin color, and facial features to better reflect themselves. This character is largely silent, but means to aid and assist other survivors. Conversations with non-player characters sometimes tackle tough issues to do with war and conflict, such as moral relativism and child soldiering. Parents should also note that in-game microtransactions encourage players to spend real money to gain play advantages.
Is It Any Good?
While neither as character-driven nor as philosophical as a traditional game in this series, this survival sim gives players a chance to revisit some mechanics from the series' older games. Metal Gear Survive's greatest strengths are its combat and survival systems. Learning how to manage scarce resources, use your time in the field efficiently, and effectively combat enemy hordes takes time and is challenging, but never unfair. Plus, the tactics involved in protecting targets by strategically deploying barricades, traps, and other gadgets are compelling. Map exploration is perhaps a little more frustrating than it needs to be -- especially in areas obscured by a toxic dust cloud that makes it very easy to get lost -- but there's a definite sense of satisfaction that comes with discovering and revealing new locations and earning a hard-won wormhole transportation device (essentially a fast-travel location).
Long-time series fans are bound to be a little disappointed by Metal Gear Survive's refusal to move Metal Gear's intricate narrative forward in any serious way, but there are still some brief moments of reflection on the consequences and follies of military conflict -- aspects for which the franchise is well-known. A bigger issue is that the survival shtick eventually becomes a bit formulaic and repetitive. Hunting for food and purifying water grows wearisome after a while, and many mission objectives fall into just a handful of categories. Thanks to the large and diverse array of gradually earned weapons, gear, and gadgets, the combat remains fun and satisfying throughout, but the goals we're provided could vary a little more. Though fun in places, Metal Gear Survive is undeniably a minor entry in Konami's storied series.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.