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The Ground Zeroes Price Debacle - Is It Worth It?

This is where I take my positivity hat off for a second and talk about something I strongly feel gamers should not be supporting. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes is the Tanker Mission-esque prologue to the upcoming Phantom Pain. A decent stealth action game that lasts for what many estimate as an hour of story related gameplay, with some side missions that basically serve as padding. If you want to get an idea of just how short the game is, here is a couple of speed runs of the game being beaten in under six minutes.

I will start by saying that I am a huge fan of the Metal Gear series, having played all but the MSX titles (and having purchased and repurchased the games through discs and the Legacy Collection), but have not played Ground Zeroes, nor do I ever plan to do so. Ground Zeroes was released on a disc for $30 and digitally for $20. Originally the price was going to be $40 until fan outcry persuaded Konami into changing the price tag. It is worth noting that the prices of the previous generation versions, physical and digital, were never dropped and the price change only impacted the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game.

Generally when people defend the game, they say it is because they have a great deal of fun replaying the main mission and side missions over and over and they have gotten more time out of it than most modern games. I would argue that this is a personally subjective viewpoint and an argument like that is relegated only to the player, in this case a very big Metal Gear fan. But you cannot go assuming that everyone is as committed as you are. Not everyone will want to replay the missions over and over. There isn't much replay value to them to begin with.

The Binding of Isaac is a $5 digital game on Steam (albeit a pricier physical copy with bonus material is available) and can be beaten in less than an hour. However unlike Ground Zeroes more akin to Left 4 Dead, the level layout, items, bosses and even upgrades change every single time you start and restart the game. No two times playing the game are the same and you would need to play the game for hours upon hours to experience everything and get all that you can out of the experience. Why couldn't Ground Zeroes be designed with shortness and replayability in mind? For many gamers who would only want to play it once (presumably for the story) there is not much game to play and certainly not enough to justify spending $40, $30 or even $20 in my humble opinion. There are cheap indie games that offer more content than Ground Zeroes. That is an objective fact.

How could Konami have quelled the fan outcry? Let me respond by bringing up a Capcom game (ironically). Dead Rising 2 was a full game experience that was fairly priced at $60 and was most definitely a lot longer than Ground Zeroes. However there were two DLC campaigns that were released, a prologue and an epilogue titled Case Zero and Case West respectively. Both of those titles had only a few hours of story related content which also allowed your stats and save data to be transferred to and from the main game. This was not unlike Ground Zeroes all except for the fact that the campaigns were released for $5 digitally only. They were not treated as some sort of glorious collector's item the way Ground Zeroes is, they were treated exactly as they are, a pair of extra and affordable stuff for fans of the game. If Capcom could price this accordingly and fairly, what was stopping Konami from doing the same thing? Konami could have made Ground Zeroes a cheaper digital release that could sync with Phantom Pain. But instead they treated it as a full retail release and burned many people with its bloated price tag and short length.

To those who are enjoying the game, I do not fault you for your opinions for a moment. I applaud you for spending your money as you see fit and enjoying yourselves. You're very much entitled to that. The Ground Zeroes campaign sounds like a lot of fun, and as a Metal Gear fan I would have liked to play it. But sadly I earn my own keep and do not make enough to spend that much on a single hour long experience that I know I would only play once. I can only hope it is included in Phantom Pain in some respect.

edit: While people are debating about the new Remastered version of The Last of Us, I'm scratching my head as to why more people aren't concerned about having demos sold to them for egregious amounts of money in this fashion versus buying a Game of the Year edition with better graphics. True, The Last of Us came out last year, but Remasted also comes with all of the downloadable content and possibly even includes a promotion to give owners of the original a discount. No such promotion is being given to Metal Gear fans. You won't save $20 on Phantom Pain if you buy Ground Zeroes. You're buying a minuscule piece of the game for $20 - $30 and then paying $60 for the primary experience, effectively making the complete game $80 - $90. How can this be considered by anyone? It feels like this is something fans should be very, very angry at.

Just to note, this is absolutely not a blog that is meant to bash Ground Zeroes. Exactly the opposite: Ground Zeroes deserved better treatment from Konami and did not deserve to be sold in the controversial manner in which it was. It should have either been released as a cheap digital download and could have even been a pre-order bonus as an incentive to buy Phantom Pain. Instead it was over-bloated and left a bad taste in the mouths of many, myself in particular. I will someday play Ground Zeroes. but it is when I borrow it or rent it or buy it when it's well below it's current price tag. I will not pay $30 for something so short. That's all I have to say.

And now I leave you a video of ProJared, a quality internet reviewer who believes that Ground Zeroes is a fantastic experience but that it should not be purchased because of its massive price tag.

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xX-StolenSoul-Xx1498d ago (Edited 1498d ago )

I still stand against it being too expensive. I can't support this, and as a community we should not encourage or support it as more will follow. I don't want smaller games for a higher price thanks.

Your point of Dead Rising is good, it was $5 and if you wanted to complete everything in the game it still would be a good 8 hours, which is a whole lot for the price.

The community here at N4G seems to be very divided on this, and I urge the people who supported this to be careful, you're crossing a thin line, we can't let others follow suit. Even if Kojima/Konami released the game it does not make it any more justified. I stand against bad business practices and I am someone who loves MGS, and it's no doubt my favorite gaming series.

Ground Zeros is a good game, I rented it for a day but I'll never purchase it.

randomass1711497d ago

I love a lot of games and some companies don't have to do much to make me smile and earn my money. But the thing is if Sony or Nintendo or any of the other game makers I liked did this I could never support it. $30 for an hour, two hours tops of content just does not cut it no matter how much I may enjoy the experience.

Anthotis1497d ago

Should never slap a price tag on a demo.

Crazyglues1497d ago (Edited 1497d ago )

Yeah I think that pretty much sums it up...

I could not believe that's what it turned out to be, for #30 bucks that's a dam rip-off and I'm as big as a MGSV fan as you can get..

Really sad we had to pay for what was basically a tech demo... -(I don't care what anyone says, that was not a game preview, not a prologue, not an intro, not even a hint of a game... that thing was a demo. Plain and simple... -and A dam shame...

Konami should be ashamed of their self... 30 bucks for a dam demo that doesn't even have a boss battle. That thing was the most boring and dull game I have ever played in my life.. -and for 30 bucks that was a slap in the face..

I really couldn't believe this sh*t - Angry Joe sums it up best-

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gamejediben1497d ago

13 years ago (in 2001) the Tanker chapter of MGS2 was free with an issue of Official PlayStation Magazine. You could also get it with Zone of the Enders.

Now you have to pay $20-30 for an even shorter demo to MGSV that has no boss fight. War has changed...

and we all lost.

randomass1711497d ago

Further proving that this business model could have been handled much better than a grubby cash grab.

MysticStrummer1496d ago


lol I had that disc and it was not the entire Tanker chapter.


As for the OP posting speed runs, what does that prove? You can find incredibly short speed runs of Dark Souls if you care to look.

I will continue to argue that this is not a demo. It is a prologue, something we all knew ahead of time if we cared to investigate at all, and I've gotten more gameplay time from it than two Call of Duty campaigns. As someone else on here said, you guys are essentially complaining about pre-game DLC.

randomass1711496d ago

A prologue whose only purpose is to give you a taste of The Phantom Pain. There are demos that last longer than a game with an hour of content. This game can be beaten without exploits more quickly than The Binding of Isaac and Case Zero, both of which were only $5.

"As someone else on here said, you guys are essentially complaining about pre-game DLC."

Except it's not DLC at all. It's a physically packaged product with a disc being sold for $30. It just happens to have a slightly cheaper digital version. It was a cash grab that did not need to be and the asking price on all versions is just far too high for what is offered.

Pillsbury11496d ago

You are what's wrong with the industry now, supporting these kinds of disgusting cash grabs. We vote with our wallets and if these trends continue expect to see more 40$ demos because that's what it is... A DEMO.

MysticStrummer1496d ago

@Pillsbury - I paid $20 for it, I knew what I was getting before I bought it, and I'm happy with the purchase. I'm an informed consumer. Just because I bought something you wish you hadn't doesn't make me what's wrong with the industry. I feel like most of the people complaining didn't bother to find out what they were buying and they all seem to have paid more than I did. That type of person is what's wrong with many industries, the uninformed whiner who wants a do over. Once again, I've gotten more playtime from GZ than from two Call of Duty campaigns, and it doesn't matter if that's story related content or not, or if replay time is added to that since replay value is certainly a valid part of overall value.

@randomass - Again, exploit free speed runs of many games can be found on YouTube. That doesn't lessen the value of those games. The value of the content is subjective to the person buying it. I paid less than you, and I'm happy with what I got because I knew what I was getting ahead of time. Why didn't you guys know what you were buying? The info was certainly there to see.

BBBQ_BYOBB1494d ago

Considering the content of GZ is different to what's in the full game, it's much like any other DLC. Good luck explaining that to the drama queens though.

For those harping on about the price, it doesn't factor in to whether it's a demo or DLC, all that means is that it's overpriced DLC. I personally played if for 17 hours and had a lot of fun with it.

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sweetSWAGGER1497d ago

I almost posted a blog that covered the same topic, but it would match this one beat for beat. Excellent reasoning! Bravo, Sir!

I think Master Miller summed it up best concerning Konami/Kojima Production's handling of the game's pricing:


randomass1711497d ago

Thank you. :) It's an absolute shame that Konami resorted to what is so obviously a cash grab. There are many cheaper games with more content and there are prologue games that are not ripoffs.

CrossingEden1496d ago (Edited 1496d ago )

Nope, it's not worth it. Plain and simple, supporting this is supporting cash grabs and the exploitation of fanboys.
^ Thanks to games like GZ and fanboys that defend GZ this will be the future of gaming sooner rather than later.

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