While publications like Game Informer have stated that it takes less than two hours to finish Ground Zeroes, an in-depth look has revealed that players will actually only be playing the game for 13 minutes at most.The game begins with a twenty minute dialogue between Kazuhira Miller and Big Boss establishing the setting of Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes. Newcomers to the series will feel like they’re a veteran after watching this gripping cutscene. After the initial dialogue, Miller will then go through the controls of the game with Big Boss talking about buttons and controllers as if they were part of the in-game universe, a series staple.
After the fifteen minute tutorial, players will then be able to control Big Boss as he makes his way to Camp Omega. You will need to get Big Boss to the entrance of the camp which will take approximately one to two minutes depending on the difficulty setting. Afterwards, you will then be treated to a ten minute cutscene introducing one of the antagonists of the game, Skull Face.
This is the point where the open-world concept of Ground Zeroes and The Phantom Pain begin to take form. You have to make a decision on whether to rescue Chico or Paz first. It will take anywhere from two to three minutes to rescue either target. Once you get there, a ten minute cutscene will play for Chico while a seven minute cutscene will play for Paz. Afterwards, you will need to rescue the other person and watch their cutscene.
By this point, you’ve already played over half of Ground Zeroes. But it’s not over yet! You will need to escape Camp Omega after another seven minute cutscene showing the enemy forces discovering Big Boss. You will need to hijack a vehicle and meet up at the extraction point in less than five minutes otherwise reinforcements will arrive and kill Big Boss. Once you make your way to the helicopter, you can put down your controller and relax as you watch the ending cutscene.
The ending cutscene takes around twenty-five minutes with Miller debriefing Big Boss on his mission. We will not spoil what happens during this cutscene, but it directly leads into The Phantom Pain which will be releasing in 2014 or 2015. Hopefully people will have long discussions and make tons of theories about The Phantom Pain after finishing Ground Zeroes which could potentially make the gameplay in Ground Zeroes last even longer if people count that as gameplay.
Many people have criticized Ground Zeroes for being a glorified demo that people would normally get for free. However, many supporters have shot back saying that they gladly would have spent 30 or 40 dollars for the tanker chapter of Metal Gear Solid 2 if they had that opportunity.