Please support Game Informer. Print magazine subscriptions are less than $2 per issue


How To Play Metal Gear Solid V Like A Professional

by Jeff Marchiafava on Sep 25, 2015 at 01:01 PM

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...

Situation: You're on a mission to rescue a prisoner who's being transported from one heavily fortified enemy compound to another.
How an amateur handles it: Move swiftly under the cover of night to set up an ambush between the two forts. Leave D-Horse in the middle of the road as a diversion, then tranq the driver and passenger soldier when they stop to investigate. Grab the prisoner and bring him safely back to the landing zone.
How a pro handles it: Waste a bunch of time at the beginning of the mission picking flowers and collecting resources from a nearby outpost while the prisoner is transported to the other compound. Eventually follow him there, but get distracted along the way by a truck because the driver has moderately good stats. Chase after the truck only to get spotted and have everyone in the compound start shooting at you. Run away and plant a decoy in the middle of the road that the truck was heading down, then hide in the bushes and wait. Eventually get impatient and creep back to the fort only to see that the driver and passenger are still outside the truck looking for you. Reload your last checkpoint, then head back to the same spot and park an abandoned jeep across the road to block the coveted truck's path. Hide behind a big sign and wait forever again because you spent less time getting to the target location. Head towards the compound in search the truck, only to have a guard take notice. Start slowly crawling your way out of the guard's line of sight, then freak out when you hear the truck approaching. Break out into a quick sprint and get back to your hiding spot just in time, without alerting anyone. Watch as the truck plows right through the jeep and drives away. Return to your mission. 

Situation: You're on a mission to rescue a prisoner, remember?
How an amateur handles it: You already saved that guy the first time – like an amateur.
How a pro handles it: Sneak into the compound and interrogate the first guard you come across for the location of the prisoner. Drag the unconscious guard into a secluded corner and fulton him out, because even though his stats aren't great, you can always use more manpower. Methodically stalk your way through the rest of the compound one room at a time, knocking everyone out. Start dragging them all back to the fultoning corner one by one, because what part of "can always use more manpower" didn't you understand? Fulton a couple more soldiers, then realize you're taking too long and guards are starting to wake each other up. Run back and forth across the compound re-knocking guys out and lugging their bodies around. Jump when reinforcements start showing up because you took so long that it's now morning and the guards are changing their shift. Decide to hedge your bets and extract the prisoner who has been waiting patiently for you to rescue him, then knock out and extract all the reinforcements. Loot the entire compound, then call in your extraction and have him land right on the enemy launchpad because that's how Big Boss rolls.

Situation: The highly skilled prisoner you just rescued is injured.
How an amateur handles it: Assign him to the med bay as soon as he gets back to Mother Base!
How a pro handles it: Assign the prisoner to R&D so you can finally build that tranq rifle you've been eyeing. Facepalm 30 minutes later when you realize that he died at some point from his injuries, forcing you to replay the entire rescue mission once again, even though you don't really need him anymore. Use your fancy sniper rifle to incapacitate his driver before he can leave the first fort, even though it is way more heavily guarded than the final location. Wonder why everyone in the fort was alerted by the shot, then realize that even though it's a tranq rifle, it's still not silenced. Run toward the base while the nearby APV you overlooked starts shooting you to pieces, then dive behind a rock. Try to select your tranq pistol as enemy guards start flanking your position, but accidentally hide in a box instead. Wait a second to see if the disguise will work. Watch the guards shoot you through the box, then jump out of the box and shoot them with your tranq gun. Hide behind the rock again, then throw a decoy out next to the APV. Inflate it and watch as the APV shoots it to shreds and then immediately starts shooting at you again. Switch to your assault rifle and shoot two more guards hiding by the jeep, accidentally shooting the hostage in the process. Pray it's only a flesh wound, then make a mad dash towards the jeep while the APV continues shooting at you. Dive headfirst into the car door because you're still not pressing the interact button. Get into the jeep and hightail it out of there, calling a helicopter on the way. Drag the bleeding prisoner out of the jeep and put him on the chopper. Add him to the med bay while realizing that although you just spent two hours completing a single, relatively easy mission, you're still loving the game.    

Situation: You want to check out the shiny new platform you build on Mother Base.
How an amateur handles it: Call in the helicopter and fly to the other platform.
How a pro handles it: Why wait for that dumb pilot when you can take the complimentary jeep provided for you? Hop in and start driving down the extremely long bridge. Get bored along the way and spin the camera around so you can see Big Boss. Drive straight into a metal barrier, then back up and turn, wedging yourself in-between the barriers like Austin Powers. Get back on the road, then wobble the steering back and forth as you drive, because it really is the longest and most boring bridge ever. Lose control and start swerving across the road, then fly up over the sidewall into the water and die. Respawn back at the base you left from. 

Coming Up Next: Infiltration, fultoning shenanigans, and unintended puppy abuse...

Situation: While infiltrating an enemy-occupied village, you come across a guard with a particularly high intel rating.
How an amateur handles it: Hide behind a nearby building and use the lure action to draw him in, then silently interrogate him and choke him out. Carry him out of the village and fulton him back to your base.
How a pro handles it: Hide behind a nearby building, then try to use the lure action, but accidentally whistle for D-Horse instead, which also catches the guard's attention. Jump as D-Horse not only warps in right next to you, but proceeds to push you around the corner in view of the guard. Quickly duck back around the corner as the guard comes to investigate, then climb up onto the roof and observe him from above. Reconsider the soldier's qualifications as he somehow mistakes D-Horse for you. Drop down behind him as he tries to shoo D-Horse away, and choke him out. Carry him out of the village and extract him, noting that it actually worked out in the end – you may just be worthy of the Big Boss moniker after all.

Situation: You're on your way to investigate a mysterious sniper when you see a guard in a nearby outpost with a high R&D rating.
How an amateur handles it: Ignore him and stick to the mission.
How a pro handles it: Pursue the guard so your FOB will have a leg-up on the stupid amateurs who pass up such a great opportunity. Bum-rush the guard during an opportune sandstorm, figuring you can probably get in and out before his buddies take notice. Realize that's totally not the case as you get shot a dozen times on approach. Knock the guard out with one satisfying punch, then sling him over your shoulder and make a run for it while taking more damage. Whistle for D-Horse and load up your involuntary recruit, since only an idiot would try to fulton an enemy during a sandstorm. Ride D-Horse into a dead-end canyon, then pull up your map while the still-perturbed enemies chatter on their radios out of range. Try to figure out a route around the canyons, then jump as an explosion knocks you out of the map, toppling you and D-Horse to the ground. Realize that, while you are out of gun range, you are in fact not out of mortar range. Grab your prized prisoner as another round explodes a few feet away, then run for safety, assuming D-Horse will probably get up on his own at some point and won't take his abandonment personally. Get a safe distance away – for real this time – and wait for the storm to die down. Place the prisoner on the ground and try to fulton him, only to realize he died in the initial blast and you've been lugging a corpse around for the past five minutes. Slink along to your original objective under the heavy realization that you are totally not worthy of the Big Boss moniker after all.

Situation: You land back at Mother Base and are greeted by a baby D-Dog.
How an amateur handles it: Aww, what a cute puppy!
How a pro handles it: Lie down on the ground next to D-Dog and zoom in with your scope to see how adorable he is. Get kind of creeped out when you see he's missing an eye, but hey – a puppy is a puppy. Stand up and try to figure out what button makes you pet him, because there just has to be a pet-the-puppy button. Press the corresponding button when the hand icon appears under D-Dog, then recoil in horror as Big Boss proceeds to slap him. Realize that it's more than a little screwed up that one puppy yelp has made you feel more guilty then hours of abducting, shooting, and blowing up human beings – then head back out to abduct, shoot, and blow up more guys. Come back multiple times over the coming days and wonder where D-Dog has disappeared to. Finally stop playing and scour online forums looking for an answer, while worrying that maybe your unwarranted puppy abuse prevented him from become your buddy. Finally give up on the forums only to have your very next mission trigger an adult D-Dog hopping on your helicopter with you. Man's best friend, indeed!

Situation: You have finally fully upgraded your fulton balloons, allowing you to ship vehicles and cargo containers back to mother base.
How an amateur handles it: Gear up for the next mission and use the new upgrade should the situation present itself.
How a pro handles it: Scour the countryside for the one enemy camp that had a bunch of shipping containers, because now they're all yours. Try to sneak in when you finally find it, but get spotted a million miles away. Flub a few pistol shots at the encroaching guard, then pull out your assault rifle in a fit of anger and gun him down, alerting the rest of the camp to your presence. Saunter up to your precious cargo as a swarm of soldiers approach your location, because you can always just hitch a ride on the last container. Fulton the first container only to watch it hover a foot off the ground before popping. Realize you didn't actually equip the upgrade when development completed because you were already in the field and kind of assumed you'd have immediate access to it. Get shot from the guards flanking you from all angles and cutting off your escape route. Spot an abandoned truck in the middle of the camp, then make a mad dash for it as your enemies close in around you. Accidentally attempt to fulton the truck as well because you held in the interact button instead of pressing it. Wait for the balloon to pop again and drop your getaway vehicle to the ground. Hop in and immediately drive it onto a large rock, getting stuck as the soldiers continue to pepper the truck with bullets. Pull up the start menu and instantly teleport back to the Aerial Command Center, because even if it doesn't save your most-recent progress, you didn't really accomplish anything anyway.

Coming Up Next: D-Horse can do what?!

Situation: You have once again set aside the main missions in favor of entering a rundown palace occupied by enemy soldiers.
How an amateur handles it: Just nab a few resources and enlist in a real mission already!
How a pro handles it: Slowly sneak your way up to the palace. Take out the first patrolling guard and set him aside behind cover. Sneak past the spotlight and choke out the soldier standing guard by the hut. Drag him around the corner just as another guard shows up. Punch him and throw him to the ground, alerting another guard sleeping in the hut. Shoot him with your tranq dart in slow motion, then pick up his body as another patrolling soldier comes to inspect. Shoot him, then run up and punch yet another guard who took an interest in the mounting pile of unconscious soldiers. Choke out the spotlight guard, then drag all of the bodies behind the same hut and fulton everyone at the same time like a pro. Loot the palace at your leisure, acquiring all manner of processed materials, diamonds, and enemy weaponry, saving the big cargo container for last. Explore the palace a bit more first, and try to climb up onto the roof. Run into an invisible wall, then try to walk back but slide off of bad geometry and fall to your death. Respawn on the outskirts of the palace, with everyone back in their original positions. Stubbornly repeat the entire process, but get spotted almost immediately and chased out by mortar fire. Take a circuitous route around behind the enemies and clear them all out again. Re-loot the palace, making sure to steer clear of the roof. Fulton the cargo container and ride out on it, while noting to yourself that you just spent two hours recapturing a guard post you had already taken control of. At least you're thorough

Situation: While tracking down some enemy tanks in a main mission, you realize you can now make D-Horse defecate on command.
How an amateur handles it: Acknowledge that Kojima has a silly sense of humor, then carry on with your mission.
How a pro handles it: Immediately abandon your mission, because who cares about aiding some dumb local rebels – you've got some horse-pooping to watch! Make D-Horse crap repeatedly while giggling more than you should. Continue until it gets old, then make Snake crawl behind D-Horse. Instruct D-Horse to defecate once again, but become disappointed when the balls of dung phase right through Big Boss. Roll around in the manure for good measure, then make a gif out of the entire proceedings because you really are that immature:

Got any MGS V tips for your fellow gamers? Share them in the comments below!