A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What 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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
Nothing you havent seen before nor needed to see. Only gets more and more boring. Makes you pay extra for extra save slots
What's it about?
METAL GEAR SURVIVE is a spin-off of Konami's popular Metal Gear Solid series, and the first entry in the franchise not directed by founder Hideo Kojima. Play is based largely on systems and mechanics introduced in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, but the story is much more otherworldly. Players create a custom avatar that's whisked away to an alternate, hellish dimension in which alien parasites take control of human hosts, transforming them into crystalline, zombie-like monsters. The hero's mission is to find and help other humans survive, collect data on this strange dimension, and eventually escape back to the hero's own world. The hero sets up and slowly grows a base camp community where the survivors gather and work, as players venture out on expeditions into the ruined wasteland around them, scavenging supplies, searching for data caches, and mapping the area. Players must monitor their character's hunger, thirst, and oxygen levels while exploring to keep from collapsing. As the game progresses, players use the supplies they collect to craft better gear, weapons, and base fortifications to defend against enemy assaults. Customizable online missions allow groups of players to band together to explore the wastes.
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.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about violence in the media. Are there any themes to do with war present in Metal Gear Survive that aren't typically found in combat-focused games?
Talk about the concept of survival. What are some of the social and physical needs of human survival that some of us living in a wealthier part of the world might take for granted?
- Platforms: PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox One
- Price: $39.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Konami
- Release date: February 20, 2018
- Genre: Third-Person Shooter
- Topics: Adventures, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires, Space and Aliens
- ESRB rating: M for Blood, Language, Violence
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.