Konami went through 2014 without a deep list of games. However, what it did offer was superb in terms of new generation gaming. For our Konami Gift Guide this year, we are focusing on PES 2015 and Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. These were Konami’s first big releases on the PS4 and Xbox One, with the PS4 versions offering better visuals. Kojima did not hesistate on pushing the new hardware with his detailed Fox Engine. The results for both games ended up at 1080p and a consistent 60 fps with highly detailed graphics. In a year full of controversy surrounding resolution and frame rates, Konami was able to stand tall above the rest.
Announced in 2013 alongside the PS4, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain looked to show what the next-generation hardware could accomplish early on. With that game still in development with a 2015 release, Kojima was excited to share what his team had accomplish with the new Fox Engine. Rather than waiting two years for the full game, Kojima and Konami announced a prequel to The Phantom Pain called Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes. The game would be available for next and last-generation consoles. Since it is not a full game, Ground Zeroes would sell for $29.99 on the PS4 and Xbox One and $19.99 on PS3 and Xbox 360. The price of the game has since dropped for the new generation systems to $19.99.
Ground Zeroes takes place on an army base stationed on an island. While the island is not gigantic, there are enough areas and ground to cover. You play as Snake (who is now voiced by Keifer Sutherland) and are dropped off by a helicopter in a secure location. Stealth is key, and the weather and time of day play key roles in maintaining silence. The A.I. is incredibly smart and realistic making navigation through the daytime more difficult. They will notice the slightest things and you can become easily overwhelmed fairly quickly. If you are spotted, time will slow down (much like Bullet Time) so you can pop off some shots or dive to hide.
There are two main missions in the game, with plenty of other side missions to keep one busy. There are different ways of taking down soldiers, so even going through the island and picking them off one-by-one is entertaining. Kojima emphasized prior to release that players could go the stealth route or do the heavy action, but the later will be more difficult. With Ground Zeroes, playing the game is about experimenting with different things, as there is no one direct way of accomplishing your missions. More missions to become unlocked over time by meeting accomplishments. While not a full game, there is a lot of bang for your buck here for the price.
As mentioned above, Ground Zeroes runs at 1080p resolution and 60 frames per second. The lighting, weather, and textures are downright gorgeous. It is definitely worth picking up just to experience the capabilities of the Fox Engine. The game certainly helps to cure a Metal Gear fix as you wait for the full Phantom Pain next year.
The Pro Evolution Soccer series by Konami has been around for years and has been consistently good across the board. Konami announced they would be using Kojima’s Fox Engine for its game last year on the PS3. This showed significant improvements, especially to the physics, as bringing the title to the PS4 and Xbox One would only solidfy a pure futbol experience. PES 2015 hits 60 frames per second across the board on the new systems, with the PS4 running at 1080p and the Xbox One at 720p. You have never seen soccer so silky-smooth to the point it melts like butter. Most of the player faces are highly detailed to the point that it faints the line of reality. Thanks to the lighting, the game is possibly the most visually appealing outdoor sports game to date.
Along with the Fox Engine’s beauty comes the physics aspect. With last year’s game, the focus was shifted to one-on-one battles in the field. With this year’s game, the aspect is even better as you truly have to work to move the ball up the field. Sprinting will cause your player to overpursue if trying to defend or move the ball, as agility becomes limited. There are different passes in the game with a power meter to use to move into scoring position. Once you do score that goal, that sense of accomplishment is intense. It also helps that the crowd sounds amazing and helps capture the essence and emotion of the sport.
There are plenty of leagues and teams to choose from in PES 2015. The biggest leagues being the English Premier League and the Brazilian league. The game certainly appeals to the hardcore fans of the sport. There is also 11-on-11 multiplayer online and other modes as well. The game runs excellently online with no delay in control input or lag during gameplay. There is plenty to do in PES 2015 for the true futbol fan.