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  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Paz and Chico's treatment by Skull Face garnered sympathy due to the pure Nightmare Fuel and Squick of it on top of both of them turning out to have ultimately died.
  • Annoying Video-Game Helper: You'd think that, with Ground Zeroes being a handful of missions and challenges on the same map, tips would be optional. Turns out both your first time on normal and your hundredth on hard mode will have Miller parroting the same lines of dialogue every single time. Bonus points for the "Eliminate the Renegade Threats" mission. Miller informs you that you should get a good look at your targets and their area of activity, both of which are on the iDroid. If you fail to check both pictures and the map (such as during a replay or speedrun), if the targets move (the second one always does), or if you restart a checkpoint (probable during first few times), he will shout the same selection of lines again.
  • Author's Saving Throw:
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    • There was quite a bit of backlash when it was announced that Ground Zeroes would be fairly short compared to other titles in the series. In response to this, Konami lowered the game's price (about half the price of competing titles) shortly before the game's release to compensate for this, made the game free on PlayStation Plus and Xbox Live Gold for the months leading up to The Phantom Pain, and gave the game away as a pre-order bonus for Steam users.
    • The previously exclusive extra ops for the PlayStation/Xbox versions of the game, Déjà Vu and Jamais Vu, respectively, are available for all platforms via a patch.
    • Presumably, this is also the reason why Paz is never called Pacifica Ocean (her real name); a lot of fans thought it was a lame name, and "Paz" is easier to take seriously.
  • Broken Base:
    • Media relating to Ground Zeroes has invited this, given that the game brings massive changes to the formula, such as adding lens flare, slow-motion takedowns, more action focused gameplay, tagging, and more of an emphasis on regenerating health. To be fair, regenerating health has been part of the series since Metal Gear Solid 3 (though it was dependent on stamina) and enemy markers is similar to the Soliton Radar. In addition, there are also some fans that are disappointed that certain staples to the franchise (such as the famous cardboard box) were cut from the game in order for it to feel more realistic or to be released as DLC for The Phantom Pain. A video at E3 in 2014 confirmed that the cardboard box would make a return.
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    • Fans seem to be divided over the game being Divided for Publication. Some think Ground Zeroes has enough content to stand on its own and will hold players over until the sequel comes out, while others think that the game should have been released as a whole instead of letting Konami publish what they see as an extensive demo for The Phantom Pain.
    • A lot of fans don't seem to be happy with the borderline Diabolus ex Machina way that Paz dies, but others think it's an interesting shock necessary to get the ball rolling on the game's storyline.
  • Contested Sequel: Ground Zeroes, coming after of the widely acclaimed HD version of Peace Walker, was hit with this. Regardless of concerns over its length, people are divided on the story issues. While gameplay is considered by the majority of fans to be the best in the series, the sheer overwhelming darkness of the story has divided everyone.
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  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Metal Gear Solid V has the darkest story in the Metal Gear series. Several of its themes are controversial. Big Boss is intentionally turned into a Nominal Hero to show his transformation into a villain. The tapes from Ground Zeroes already contain horrible information about what happened to Paz and Chico that might not be suitable for everyone to listen. Being a prequel, a happy ending for all this is out of the question.
  • Fan Wank: There are plenty of people that believe that Paz's death in Ground Zeroes was faked, which is fairly conceivable. However, the theory that the character in question had a sex change and became Psycho Mantis is pretty hard to swallow. The former turned out to be true (except not really). The latter... not even close.
  • Game-Breaker: Has its own section on the Metal Gear page.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Chico's "Love" Briefing Files from Peace Walker and Paz's tapes where she speaks about the time she spent with Chico and the boy's crush on her. It's hard not to feel sad knowing how Skull Face takes advantage of their bond and Chico's feelings for Paz, and how tragically this all ends, with Chico being unable to save Paz.
    • The fact that you can erase the logos of Hideo Kojima-directed games in "Déjà Vu" becomes this in light of Konami removing Kojima's name from box art and promotional materials.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • This bit of fanart from 2008 featured Solid Snake going up against Jack Bauer. Flash forward to present day when we learn who's going to be the new voice actor for Jack/Big Boss: none other than Jack himself.
    • During 24's popularity in Japan, they got Kiefer Sutherland to appear in a CalorieMate commercial.
    • The implication that Paz's second bomb is in her crotch can become downright hilarious if you happen to be a South Park fan, as the 2007 episode "The Snuke" featured that very thing as part of a parody of 24.
  • It Was His Sled: Interesting exploited in Ground Zeroes' marketing, as one twist, the destruction of Mother Base, was heavily advertised in order to keep another, Paz's bungled Heroic Suicide which causes the crash that kills Chico and puts Big Boss in a coma, a secret.
  • It's Short, So It Sucks!: Most players are able to finish Ground Zeroes main story in under two hours and it all takes place on a single map. This was the game's main point of contention for a lot of critics and fans. The most harsh of which labeled it an expensive demo (especially considering that previous games had demos of almost comparable length). Not helped by the fact soon after its release, speedrunners, who knew what they were doing and skipped all of the cutscenes, completed the game in under 10 minutes. To its credit, the game does have extra missions available after completion, multiple ways to approach objectives and of course, a ranking system to master. In essence: fans of the game feel it has high replayability, whereas as detractors feel its overall content isn't enough for its price tag.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Miller starts to become this here, and it only gets worse for him in both the Jerkass and Woobie departments in the following game.
  • Moral Event Horizon: According to one of the audio files, Skull Face took a flying leap over the line when he beat and stripped Paz, and then forced Chico to have sex with her while he watched.
  • Narm Charm: It's heavily implied that Skull Face placed Paz's second bomb in her vagina. It sounds like part of a bad Aristocrats joke (or an episode of South Park), but in context it's more than appropriately horrifying and heart-rending.
  • Never Live It Down: Ground Zeroes' extremely short length and meager amount of extra content despite a 30 dollar price tag has led to its own breed of controversy.
  • One-Scene Wonder: Skull Face only appears in one scene in person in Ground Zeroes (all other scenes are on tape recordings), but his theatricality makes it memorable. His seven minute audio tape is considered by many to have some of the best voice acting and writing in Metal Gear history, as well as one of the most horrifying things ever put into the series.
  • Player Punch: The destruction of Mother Base is this for anyone who spent so much time building it in Peace Walker.
  • Polished Port: The PC version of Ground Zeroes looks even better than the already beautiful console releases, works well with keyboard and mouse, and is extremely well-optimized (all despite being from a Japanese developer, quite a few of which having brought over a number of Porting Disasters). On top of all that, it comes with the DLC missions for free (though they need to be unlocked), and the base price is cheaper than the base for the console versions ($20, as opposed to $30). To the extent Ground Zeroes has gathered a whopping 10/10 from gathered Steam users reviews (officially classfied by steam as a "overwhelmingly positive" reception). A much more positive reception than the original console release.
  • The Scrappy: Any players who hated Chico and Paz in Peace Walker for their annoying personalities and unceasing tendency to do nothing but cause more problems for Snake to solve might not find much respite in Ground Zeroes. In fact, with their current physical debilitations, both characters have moved from being metaphorical loads to very literal ones. Though, strangely at the same time, everything that Skull Face did to them garnered more sympathy.
  • Scrappy Mechanic: Or rather, the absence of an established mechanic in Ground Zeroes, makes gameplay more frustrating. Given that the artificial intelligence is considerably better in this game and there are fewer places to hide, the cardboard box would be crucial; given that it isn't there, you're much more likely to be caught, and since it's harder to hide in the game, evading the enemy is that much more difficult. The box will return in The Phantom Pain, however.
  • So Okay, It's Average: Some of the more critical reviews for Ground Zeroes put it in this territory, claiming that the game is too short to truly show off the potential of the Fox Engine. However, they claim that the game is good otherwise, and the game has still received a considerable amount of praise nonetheless. Overall, the general consensus is that the game is a superb prologue for The Phantom Pain, both gameplay and story wise, but many feel its short length wasn't worth releasing as a standalone title.
  • Special Effects Failure: Ground Zeroes only: If Big Boss is sprinting while holding an unconscious or dead body, his elbow will always clip through their arm.
  • Squick:
    • Chico now has a headphone jack in a rotting hole in his chest. We can hear the small fleshy noises as he pulls it out to listen to his tape, too.
    • The conclusion of Ground Zeroes starts off with Snake and Chico attempting to remove a bomb from Paz's abdomen, without anesthetic and whilst she is still conscious.
    • And then that was topped by there being another explosive placed inside what may well be her vagina.
    • The contents interrogation tapes in Ground Zeroes.
  • Tainted by the Preview: The English Ground Zeroes trailer was met with this in regards to the voice acting. Complaints were mainly targeted at Sutherland's bored-sounding voice, further adding to the Hayter controversy, and Skull Face sounding like someone trying too hard to sound cool.
  • Take That, Scrappy!: Paz and Chico were the least popular characters from Peace Walker, and both get majorly screwed over in Ground Zeroes. But on the other hand, what ends up happening to them goes way too far, so it arguably ends up as more of a Take That, Audience! toward the players who hated them.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: A lot of fans were upset with the decision not to re-hire David Hayter for the game, even before news that Kiefer Sutherland would be taking his place came into account. Of course, a lot of the negative reaction towards Sutherland also stems from the perception that Kojima threw Hayter under the bus after he'd contributed so much to the series, and it doesn't help that Kojima never directly answered why he didn't re-hire Hayter while re-hiring the rest of the returning cast from Peace Walker.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: A good number of fans were upset that Chico was unceremoniously killed off in Ground Zeroes before the events of The Phantom Pain (off-screen, no less), as they had hoped that after everything he was put through (extremely inhumane torture, being forced to sell out his comrades, and feeling guilt from his partial role in Paz's death), he at least deserved a chance at redemption and retribution.
  • The Woobie: Paz and Chico.
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