After 17 years, then, this is it - the end of Hideo Kojima's run on Metal Gear Solid, and a rousing finale for the auteur's stint on one of the greatest series in gaming. And what a way to bow out: The Phantom Pain is a twisting, expansive adventure that blows apart the Metal Gear formula, spreading it out across a rich, generous open world.
So, you might find yourself needing a little help navigating it at some point. That's where this Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain walkthrough and guide, which will hold your hand through Big Boss' epic finale, comes in. It'll point you towards points of interest, help you with strategies when it comes to The Phantom Pain's trickier bosses and guide you towards the end of an era, as well as the climax of a story that's well worth seeing through.
To get things started, we're currently putting together a walkthrough for the game that will take you all the way through the core story, from the opening to the closing credits. In the coming days, we'll also be bringing you individual guides to the game's various systems and diversions, all of which you'll be able to find from this very index page.
We've separated our walkthrough into individual missions, and outlined all of the available objectives in every one at the very start of each section. We're taking a pretty direct route through the game's main story though, so if you want to finish up absolutely everything in one sitting, you can use these objective breakdowns as a heads-up on what you might want to keep your eyes peeled for as you play through each task yourself.
Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain walkthrough
Before you get started...
Main Story Missions:
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - Phantom Limbs
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - Diamond Dogs
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - A Hero's Way
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - C2W
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - Over The Fence
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - Where Do The Bees Sleep
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - Red Brass
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - Occupation Forces
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - Backup Back Down
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - Angel with Broken Wings
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - Make Contact with Emmerich, Cloaked in Silence
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - Hellbound
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - Pitch Dark
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - Lingua Franca
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - Footprints of the Phantoms
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - Traitor's Caravan
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - Rescue the Intel Agents
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - Blood Runs Deep
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - On The Trail
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - Voices
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - The War Economy
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - Retake the Platform
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - The White Mamba
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - Close Contact
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - Aim True
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - Hunting Down
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - Root Cause
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - Code Talker
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - Metallic Archaea
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - Skull Face
- Metal Gear Solid 5 - Sahelanthropus boss fight, final mission
Other Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain guide pages and tips
If you're completely new to the Metal Gear series, there are few key concepts that are worth understanding in order to make life a little easier for yourself when you head into combat. With that in mind, we've pulled together a few of the most important things you should keep in mind as you work your way through the game's early missions.
Metal Gear Solid 5 S Ranks: How to boost mission scores, GMP bonuses, reduce penalties
Our guide to getting more S Ranks and bagging more bonus GMP.
Metal Gear Solid 5 Blueprint locations list: How to unlock all Handguns, Machine Guns and Sniper Rifles
How to enhance your collection of deadly weaponry by tracking down every Blueprint.
Metal Gear Solid 5 tape locations: How to unlock all music tapes for the full soundtrack
Where you can find all of the music tapes hidden around the game's world.
Metal Gear Solid 5 Key Items locations: How to unlock all costumes and suits
How to find every one of these special items, and unlock some new developments.
Metal Gear Solid 5 Achievement list and Trophy list
What you need to know to tick every profile task off your list.
If you're really struggling with the game, there are even a few "cheats" you can make use of - although keep in mind that you'll be blocked from gaining the highest possible Rank for the mission in question if you decide to lean on these devices.
How the day and night cycle affects missions
As you might imagine in a game built around stealth, the difference between night and day can be...well, like night and day really. If you choose to undertake a mission during daylight hours, you can expect high visibility which helps you mark enemies, but also helps them spot you. You'll also tend to find that there are more enemies littered around the place during daylight hours.
If you choose to go in at night, you'll find marking off enemies a good deal trickier, but it is of course a lot easier to sneak around the target area. You'll also find less guards standing between you and your objective during the hours of nighttime as well. As always, there's a trade-off to be had, so choose the one that plays to your strengths.
Undertake reconnaissance before getting stuck in
As soon as you reach your operation zone, take some time to get a feel for the area surrounding your objective. Get up high if you can, and take a look at the nearby buildings and enemy movement patterns. Make sure you're lying down to minimise the risk of detection while you scope out your target, then use your binoculars to automatically tag enemies and objects of interest.
Once tagged, you'll be able to spot the movement of the guards you've picked up, even when your view is obstructed. The other good news is that if you fail a mission and have to return to a checkpoint, the guards you'd subsequently marked will stay that way. All in all, it's well worth scouting out a mission area thoroughly before doing anything else - certainly the first time through when you're not so concerned about the speed of the mission clearance.
Understand your movement options
As you've probably already guessed, running around like an idiot with your guns blazing will get you dead quite quickly in Phantom Pain. Save sprinting for when you're either traversing large distances or you need to make a rapid escape from a failed encounter. Only run when you're sure your immediate vicinity is clear of guards - and if anything pops up on your radar, get into a subtler position immediately.
All things considered, crouch-walking is your best option for getting around a base, but if you see a guard's attention prick up, get down into your crawling position as soon as possible. You won't get around very quickly in this particular stance, but it is your most secure method of movement when it comes to avoiding the attentions of enemies.
Create diversions to move guards out of position
If you have a guard stubbornly blocking your way, consider setting up a diversion to get them paying attention to something else instead. A lot of the time you'll want to hide the people you drop as you clear out a camp, but if you've put someone to sleep for a little while, you can leave the body in view for colleagues to investigate - just don't use stunned or dead victims for this, as it tends to wind the guards up...
Alternatively, you can throw items like magazines or decoy items in order to send a guard off in the direction the item lands. You can also "tease" guards into perking up and wandering around by popping out of cover from a decent distance, then getting back into a stealthier position before shuffling off. Use your imagination and you'll usually find a way to get even the most stationary guard to go on somewhere else.
"Cheat" your way through tougher missions
If you're really struggling to make progress with a mission, make sure you're taking the correct Buddy into play. Take a good look through their abilities, and see if there's someone in particular you should be using to make life a little easier.
You can also make use of items like the Chicken Hat - offered if you fail a mission often enough, and rendering you much harder to spot - or Fire Support from Mother Base. Note that making use of either of these options will limit the Rank you can achieve for the mission in question.
How to unlock Chapter 2 and the true ending in Metal Gear Solid 5
Completing Sahelanthropus will begin Chapter 2: Race and open up a selection of new missions.
Primarily, these are remixed versions of previous objectives - although a handful (such as 32-Know Too Much) are special bonus story encounters. These concluding story missions (including the game's 'true' ending), will slowly unlock as you work your way through the remaining challenge missions and core Side Ops objectives.
Note that you'll need to have saved Quiet back in Cloaked in Silence and completed Side Ops quest 150-Secure Quiet in order to unlock mission 45-A Quiet Exit. Accessing 46-Truth: The Man Who Sold The World, meanwhile, requires you to have completed all other main missions and key Side Ops quests.
The precise unlock criteria for all of these missions, however, isn't entirely clear - so you might need to complete a few additional objectives and expand your base before the game finally coughs up its secrets. For your reference, here's a full list of bonus story missions you'll unlock post-game:
- 32-To Know Too Much
- 41-Proxy War Without End
- 43-Shining Lights, Even in Death
- 45-A Quiet Exit
- 46-Truth: The Man Who Sold The World
- 143-Extract the AI Pod
- 144-Secure the Remains of the Man On Fire
- 145-Search for the Escaped Children 1
- 146-Search for the Escaped Children 2
- 147-Search for the Escaped Children 3
- 148-Search for the Escaped Children 4
- 149-Search for the Escaped Children 5
- 150-Secure Quiet
Once all of these are complete, your core Metal Gear Solid V experience is more or less at an end.
That just leaves 100-odd Side Ops missions to get through. Good luck!