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Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes is a very short and pricey prologue

Check out our review of Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes.

Although we don’t yet have a firm release for Metal Gear Solid V, fans will be able to experience the return of Snake (aka Big Boss) in prologue form when Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes releases on March 18. But it will be a brief return. Very brief.

According to a report in the magazine version of Game Informer, the game is very short. Game Informer managed to play a nearly completed version of the game from start to finish (but without completing side quests) in under two hours.

As far as a prologue goes, two hours is fair. It introduces players to the story and sets the stage for what’s to come. Ground Zeroes is also significantly longer than most demos, and it is content you will – presumably – only find in the prologue game. But then there’s the price to consider.

Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes will release on PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Xbox One, with pricing based on the generation of console and whether or not you purchase it digitally or on physical media. The PS3 and Xbox 360 version will cost $20 digitally and $30 for a physical copy. The PS4 and Xbox One version will run $30 for the digital copy, and $40 for the physical version.

When Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima was first discussing Ground Zeroes, he claimed there was a chance that it would never be released due to the mature and “risky” themes.

“Honestly, I’m going to be targeting a lot of taboos, a lot of mature themes that really are quite risky,” Kojima said back in February 2013. “I’m not even sure if I’m going to be able to release the game, and even if I did release the game then maybe it wouldn’t sell because it’s too much.”

There didn’t ever seem to be much of a risk the game wouldn’t be released, but it appears we’ll be paying a premium for it. There’s still the question of how big the side quests are. They may be significant, adding hours to the game. Or they could be like most side quests and add just a few additional things to do. We’ll find out soon enough when Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes is released in about six weeks.

Update: “Are Journey and Dear Esther long?” Kojima Productions designer Jordan Amaro claimed in defense of the game’s length. He went on to also reference the 100 page satire, Candide, written in 1759 by French philosopher Voltaire. “Yet they are masterpieces of video game and literature. This smearing will not stain and affect what we’re aiming to achieve with MGS, the game industry in Japan, or video games as a whole.”

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