Very Quick Tips: Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

Kaz Be Not Proud

Metal Gear Solid V, from a gameplay standpoint, is one of the most complex titles in the series. While it was fairly easy to understand the limited amount of gear you were provided with in past entries (everything was basically drip-fed over time to not overwhelm you), in Phantom Pain, you’ll have access to hundreds of combinations of items within a few hours time.

Here are some tips to help you along your way.

General tips:

  • Use night vision often when you’re searching for a human target, even if it’s daytime. The core reason is because it’s hard to see in-game models at times, especially with the dynamic lighting engine. Using night vision will highlight humanoid character models with a bright hue, allowing you to extract them with ease. Always upgrade your Fulton device as soon as you can — it will help you for core and side ops alike.
  • Pick a favorite weapon, upgrade it constantly, and remember it. You can use the loadout system (similar to Call of Duty) to set your preferred gear. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and forget that you’re using one of eight rifles, then go into battle with the wrong one. If need be, you can call for entire loadouts to be dropped in mid-mission.
  • Once you get to R&D level 17, buy the flare grenade. It allows you to instantly call chopper support under duress, without having to use your iDroid. Since the game doesn’t pause while looking at your device, it can get sticky.
  • When you start Mission #5: Over the Fence, the wolf pup near the first objective marker on the hill is of the utmost importance. He’s easy to miss, but if you tranq and Fulton it, he’ll grow up to become an entirely new buddy for you to use.
  • You can lock in your crew with the L2 button when assigning Mother Base operations. Use this method to prevent your preferred squads from down-leveling after shifting people around using the auto-sort option. As a general rule it’s important to spread the wealth, but favoring R&D for tough missions so you can acquire new tools is never a bad idea.
  • When searching for a target that has a wide circular array on the map, create multiple marks on your iDroid to set your own perimeter. In other words, “draw” bits of the outside of the circle with multiple letters, so you can clear the entire surface area. Marks will automatically erase when you reach them, so you’ll know where you’ve been.
  • Spend your cash upgrading the main stations of Mother Base, first and foremost. Construction takes a long time, but they pay dividends, and you’ll want to start working on them as soon as possible. In the same vein, make sure you grab every resource you can on the field to ensure that you can constantly grow Mother Base — don’t just rush past open doors.

  • Go back to the open world often! Fulton everyone you find and actually do those Side Ops. They’re not necessarily required, but they’ll reward you with tons of new weapons to use in the story, and your backup will be that much more advanced.
  • As a last resort, press triangle while prone. This will bring you into a special “play dead” stealth mode, and you can even avoid being seen if the enemy is right next to you at night. This is especially useful in the “no alert” missions.
  • You can change the type of support called with the R1 menu while using your binoculars. Along with the flare grenade mentioned above, you’ll be able to instantly call in your chopper for everything but extraction. It’s particularly useful during some boss fights to instantly call in a bombardment after locating an enemy.
  • Play with headphones if possible! Listen for hit songs playing in the background, and follow the noise to the tape.
  • Don’t be ashamed of using the chicken hat sometimes if you need it. Some missions will checkpoint you right before a particularly difficult part, and there’s no need to bang your head against the wall over and over.
  • Much like The Witcher 3, calling your horse while it is not in sight will cause it to “teleport” to your side. Try to swing the camera away from it before you call it for instant access.
  • In Side Ops #144, the target is laying on the ground in the open in the large base. This one took me forever to find, as I kept going inside, expecting it to be there.
  • Without spoiling anything, to unlock the true ending, you’ll need to complete all available main missions after the story seemingly ends abruptly — yep, all those retread ones with higher difficulties. Alternatively, I have spoken to people who have unlocked the ending with a combination of story and Side Op mission completions. Try to beat all the core ops you can, and if some are outright frustrating you, switch to Side Ops.
Chris Carter
Reviews Director, Co-EIC - Chris has been enjoying Destructoid avidly since 2008. He finally decided to take the next step, make an account, and start blogging in January of 2009. Now, he's staff!