Metal Gear Solid V is finally here, and by all accounts, Hideo Kojima has delivered another masterpiece. His greatest accomplishment, however, is providing me with the opportunity to write another masterpiece of my own, once again providing hapless players with my priceless insight.

I've written so many of these invaluable features that I can't even work links to my previous articles into a natural sentence anymore (instead just go read: SkyrimFar Cry 3GTA V, Tomb RaiderThe Last of Us, Dark Souls II, and Borderlands: TPS). However, if you're new, here's what you need to know: I love sharing my professional gaming skills with regular, non-gifted players like you. Why? Because even though being an exceptionally skilled gamer is rewarding in its own right, helping less fortunate players improve their skills is even more rewarding. I don't know why it feels so good to help you – it's probably just because I'm a really kind and awesome person. Regardless, I've funneled my incredible wisdom into the following guide to help you play Metal Gear Solid V like a Professional Gamer – i.e. the elite few who are so good at games, we actually get paid to play them.

For each entry I describe a common situation in MGS V, and how an amateur gamer might respond to it. If this description sounds familiar, don't worry – the vast majority of players are just as bad as you are!

Following each amateur entry is a pro description, which outlines how I personally handled the same situation. Make sure to study them closely and try to replicate them in your own game – doing so will bring you one step closer to playing like a professional.

Situation: Months before The Phantom Pain's release, you decide to play through the Ground Zeroes prologue to catch up on the story.
How an amateur handles it: Play through the relatively short main mission, then complete a few optional side quests and challenges to unlock bonus content in MGS V.
How a pro handles it: Start Ground Zeroes an hour before you plan to go to bed, because it's a short game anyway, right? Watch in confusion as the opening cutscene introduces a bunch of characters you've never seen before because the only Metal Gear game you played was MGS 2, even though it's supposedly not a "real" MGS game because it starred that blond guy everyone hates. Fall asleep halfway through the opening cutscene because holy crap is it long. Wake up at 3:00AM and go to bed, then put the game back on your shelf the next day.

Situation: Launch day of MGS V is finally here!
How an amateur handles it: Watch a quick video recap of Ground Zeroes on YouTube because you beat that game months ago, then dive right in.
How a pro handles it: Figure you should finally play through Ground Zeroes. Re-watch the lengthy opening cutscene, while almost nodding off again. Contemplate the odds of you having narcolepsy, then rejoice when the game finally gives you control of Snake. Immediately walk backwards off a ledge overlooking the ocean, then unwittingly press the drop button and fall to your doom. Restart the mission while hoping that won't be part of the data that The Phantom Pain imports.

Situation: After playing through The Phantom Pain's prologue, you find yourself in the middle of Afghanistan.
How an amateur handles it: Pull up your map and find the shortest route to your current objective, then ride D-Horse to said objective.
How a pro handles it: Blindly run towards the objective without looking at the map because you've got a marker right there in the environment that even counts down your distance to it. Then run right into a giant canyon wall, hindering your progress. Walk around the wall looking for a way up, continually sliding down gentle inclines and inspecting cracks that you can't actually climb up even though you played through a crack-climbing tutorial earlier. Finally pull up your map to see you've been wandering the wrong way the whole time. Call in D-Horse and ride him in the opposite direction for what feels like forever, then pull over to a quiet spot to check your map again. Once you get your bearings, exit the menu to see a massive bear walking toward straight toward you. Pull out your tranquilizer pistol and shoot it in the face 10 times only to see that it could care less about your feathery little darts. Try to run away as he charges, then get knocked off of D-Horse with one swipe of his massive bear paw. Get up and run back to your horse, then tackle him to the ground because you accidentally pressed the dive button instead of the interact button. Patiently wait for D-Horse to get up while the bear swipes you again, this time critically injuring you. Impotently try to bandage your wound while the bear mauls you to death, then respawn all the way back in the canyon you initially got lost in. Pretty good.

Situation: You're in the middle of an enemy-occupied fort, and the one guard you want to extract is within eyesight of several other enemies.
How an amateur handles it: Create a series of diversions to lure the guard someplace private, then incapacitate him and carry him to a secluded location for extraction.
How a pro handles it: Obsessively sneak back and forth between hiding spots in the fort because it's loaded with guards and you can't decide who to take down first. Continue looming around the target until a sandstorm rolls up. Contemplate the odds of you being able to sneak in, grab the guard, and get out before the storm ends, knowing that every second you hesitate makes your success that much unlikelier. Finally decide to throw caution to the wind; ambush the guard, choke him out from behind, attach a fulton balloon to him, then run back and dive behind cover in one suave, continuous motion. Listen to the soothing voice of the iDroid lady tell you that your extraction failed, because of course you can't fulton a guy during a sandstorm. Take comfort in the fact that at least the sandstorm prevented anyone else from seeing what an idiot you are.

Coming Up Next: How to properly rescue prisoners...