Metal Gear Survive

Metal Gear's first post-Kojima outing plays fast and loose with the formula, with results that are equal parts brilliant and baffling.

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Metal Gear Survive: every console version tested

Digital FoundryMetal Gear Survive: every console version tested

Solid enough on PS4, Pro and X - but the standard Xbox One struggles.

Metal Gear Survive is something on an enigma - a spin-off from its illustrious predecessor, that pushes the franchise into a whole new direction. A look at the credits reveals a mixture of Konami developers old and new, some who worked on the brilliant Metal Gear Solid 5, others who are working on the series for the first time. It's a team that seemingly doesn't have the same level of talent in working with the publisher's iconic Fox Engine - and it's clear to see that what we have here is a technical downgrade from MGS5.

It's strange because at the nuts and bolts level, Survive has much in common with MGS5: the open world design and core assets look very, very similar, there's the same 60 frames per second target and the Fox Engine's distinctive ID is almost completely unchanged. The one key difference is the inclusion of the new area - The Dust - a stormy cloud system that players can only survive in with the use of an air tank. It's a distinctive visual effect built on performance-sapping alpha textures. There's nothing like it in MGS5 and it is, possibly, why the developers have chosen to alter Metal Gear's visual make-up.

The straight, native 1080p of Metal Gear Solid 5 on PlayStation 4 is replaced with a horizontally upscaled 1600x1080, a 16.7 per cent reduction in pixel count. Owing to the post-process heavy nature of the game, the drop passes by mostly without notice and performance is good - not quite as locked as MGS5, but clearly a notable improvement over the 50-60fps we noted in the beta period. In terms of performance at least, it's a solid enough read-out.

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Metal Gear Survive review - surprisingly enjoyable horror spin-off

This was always going to be a tough sell. Metal Gear Survive is Konami's first big console game outside of PES since its infamous split with Hideo Kojima, and as if that wasn't enough to raise eyebrows, it has the temerity to carry on the lineage of Kojima's most famous creation, too. Survive? Given the spittle-flecked rage the mere mention of Konami is often accompanied by these days, you'd be surprised if any new Metal Gear game post-Kojima could.

Metal Gear Survive

Developer: Konami

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New three-day Metal Gear Survive beta kicks off next week

A new Metal Gear Survive beta begins next week. It runs from 16th to 18th February on PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.

The beta includes three missions across two maps in co-op mode, which can be played by up to four players online.

Expect special daily missions during the beta. If you finish creating your character, you'll get a few bonuses for the full game: a Fox Hound name plate, a Metal Gear Rex head accessory and a bandana accessory. The beta will be the last chance to play Metal Gear Survive early, Konami stressed.

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Digital FoundryThe jury's still out on Metal Gear Survive

MGS5 was a technical masterpiece - Survive's beta shows that work still needs to be done.

There's a lot riding on Metal Gear Survive in Konami's post-Kojima era, and it's fair to say that reaction has been mixed so far. In a nutshell, this is a wave-based survival off-shoot to the series, set just after the finale of Ground Zeroes. Right off the bat, you're hunting animals and stockpiling water, just to keep your hunger and thirst levels at bay. And similar to the classic Metal Gear Solid 3, you even heal wounds using supplies found on the field. That's the survival bit - once you have your feet on the ground, the focus shifts to scavenging for resource to build weapons, tools and even structures to fend off oncoming hordes of enemies.

Metal Gear Solid has always been a self-referential series, but this is something else entirely; a Metal Gear game that feels like an unofficial rip-off of itself. Even the premise of Metal Gear Survive reads like fanfic. Set in an alternate universe, the player-created character has been sent through a wormhole, along with other Militaires Sans Frontières soldiers and the remnants of Mother Base, to a world populated by weird crystallised zombies. It all feels strangely heartless; without Hideo Kojima at the tiller, those odd moments you'd previously write off as the eccentricities or flights of fancy of one man can now feel empty, soulless and written by committee by comparison.

The new Konami is doing very well indeed

Profits up in the post-Hideo Kojima world.

Konami is the not the Konami of old. The Japanese company has ditched Metal Gear creator Hideo Kojima and big-budget console video game development in general in favour of mobile games, casino machines and... gyms.

Watch the first Metal Gear Survive gameplay

Watch the first Metal Gear Survive gameplay

"It's like a nightmare that you can't wake up from!"

Konami revealed the first gameplay footage of Metal Gear Survive today at Tokyo Game Show.

As you can see in the following footage, this four-player co-op spin-off looks a lot like Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain. The graphics and setting appear almost identical, only now there's co-op and zombies.

There's still a fair bit of stealth though as players can slither through the grass and use fulton balloons on wildlife to bait the undead. Sometimes things get more action-focused, such as a section where the players set up a beacon and have to defend it from an onslaught of zombies.

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Oh Gamescom you beautiful, sweaty maelstrom you. No matter how many trips to Cologne you have under your belt, Gamescom always manages to teach you something new - cherished lessons like 'oh gosh it's humid here' or 'that cathedral looks nice' or 'turns out bag thieves on the Eurostar are really efficient and now I have no camera' (that last one actually did happen to me once).

FeatureWatch: At least Metal Gear Solid 3 is still really good

As Johnny finds out in Late to the Party.

So, how about that Metal Gear: Survive, huh? Well look, no matter what happens, we still have the brilliant Metal Gear games of yore. Perhaps my favourite one is MGS3, because you got to fart around in the jungle and put lots of animals in your pockets to keep on hold as a handy snack. Despite having played and loved the earlier games in the series, Johnny had never played Snake Eater, and, at the risk of sounding like clickbait, the reason behind that may shock you. Exclamation mark.

Konami tries to explain Metal Gear Survive's ridiculous story

"So, an unexplained wormhole opens up..."

A new Metal Gear game, the first since series auteur Hideo Kojima dramatically parted ways with publisher Konami last year, was announced today. It happened while I was in the midst of another, unrelated Gamescom presentation, so once free I had to crouch down in some deserted corridor of the Koelnmesse, to watch the trailer prior to my appointment with Konami later that afternoon.