Metal Gear Solid V tips and tricks – Easter eggs, chicken hats, and more
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is a game made for gamers. That may sound like a cliché, but it isn’t. Kojima Productions created a game where you can approach an area a dozen different ways, and they can all work. There is no “right” or “wrong” way to play.
You may know that you can use an enemy to call his allies over, but did you know you can booby trap an unconscious enemy and take out several foes at once? How about using supply drops as a weapon?
There are so, so many ways to approach the game that it will probably take a long time before we figure out all the Metal Gear Solid V tips and tricks, but we have a few to help you get started.
Some of these tips are going to be very basic and obvious if you’ve already spent some time playing. Sometimes it’s good to go over the fundamentals though.
This will also be a spoiler free guide for the most part. There are a few unavoidable things we have to mention, but they are related to gameplay and we’ll keep them as minimal as possible.
We will update this guide frequently as new things are discovered. If you have any tips for us, please drop us an email or let us know in the comments below and we will give you the credit you deserve.
On to the Metal Gear Solid V tips and tricks!
Approaching an area
When you approach an enemy controlled area you have plenty of options, it really just depends what you want to do.
The first thing to consider is finding a high, secluded vantage point. Even if you don’t intend to engage the enemies, it’s smart to mark them using your binoculars. They will stay on your map for a while. Plus, once you upgrade the binoculars, you can classify each enemy to determine if they will help you at Mother Base.
The binoculars are your best friend, so use them often.
If you are on a mission that requires you to go into a base, or even if you just want to explore a base, capture and interrogate an enemy. They will usually tell you where your objective is, or they will tell you other hints like where to find blueprints.
Get into the habit of doing this. You can then use a Fulton on the enemy and add them to your base’s roster (or just use it to disappear the body).
- Increasing your Intel team on Mother Base will provide you with some enemy movements and locations.
- You can drive a truck into a base. As long as it’s night and you don’t get too close, the guards won’t immediately recognize you.
- If you see a pair of guards speaking to each other, listen to their conversation. It can give you clues about the area and the odd story hint.
Metal Gear Solid V features AI controlled buddies, and each one offers its own pros and cons. You will begin with a horse, but soon enough you can find a puppy roaming the fields of Afghanistan. There are others, but they are slightly spoilerish to reveal.
Each buddy has its own abilities, and those abilities unlock by building a bond between them and Snake. To improve that bond, just make sure you use them. Increasing the bond will also unlock new equipment.
You can beat the entire game without using a buddy once, but you’re missing out if you do.
- When the bond with your D-Horse reaches a high enough level, you can command it to defecate. If you position it correctly and an enemy vehicle drives over it, the driver will spin out, wreck, and knock themselves unconscious.
- To recruit the dog, you will need to find it as a puppy in Afghanistan. This seems to be random on where it will appear, but listen for the sounds of a puppy barking. When you find it, tranq it and send it back to Mother Base. Ocelot will train it and eventually you’ll be able to take it with you into the field.
- If you are hunting something specific like a landmine or a bear, equip the dog. It will spot them and mark them for you.
- The dog can kill silently, and you can run people over with the horse.
- Some buddies will be more useful in certain missions than others. Don’t hesitate to change them out.
- There is a known, game-ending glitch regarding a specific buddy. Konami has confirmed that if you bring your human buddy (you’ll known who) with you in missions 29 or 42, your save data may become corrupt on all systems. (Courtesy of IGN)
Enemies will adapt
This is sort of subtle, but enemies adapt to your strategies. If you go for headshots – and you should, especially if you are trying to stay non-lethal and you’re using the tranq gun – enemies will start to wear helmets. If you use gas, they will wear gas masks.
Part of this is just a matter of enemies getting tougher as the game progresses, but there are changes specific to your tactics.
Mix things up a bit, and don’t worry about the score. Use your explosives and standard firearms now and then, but remember that you can take out most enemies by sneaking up behind them regardless of their equipment.
- Enemies will eventually begin to deploy decoys around their bases. They won’t move, and you can identify them with binoculars – they won’t show attributes.
- If you sneak up behind an enemy, draw your weapon on them. You can then order them to get down. From there you can knock them out without wasting a bullet.
Everything can be a weapon
Part of what makes Metal Gear Solid V so impressive is that if you can imagine it and it makes sense, you can probably do it.
For example, if you have an enemy that is stationary, you can place a supply drop on their heads and knock them out. If you want to go loud, you can put your horse in the road to slow down an oncoming truck, sneak up and load the truck with C4, then wait for it to drive right into the middle of a crowded base before setting it off.
Try out traps as well. Put a mine near an oil drum and lure an enemy to the mine. Hilarity shall ensue.
Try everything. Every weapon, every item. You’ll be surprised what you can get away with.
- Don’t hesitate to call in support drops. If you are playing stealth, you’ll need new suppressors and ammo if nothing else.
- You can develop a water gun through the R&D team on Mother Base. You can use this to blind enemies, destroy electronics, and more.
- In reflex mode, if you throw a magazine and hit an enemy in the head, you can knock them out.
- Vehicles will stop if you equip the cardboard box and sit in the middle of a road.
The maps in Metal Gear Solid V are huge. To get from one side to the other can take a long, long time, and that’s not even counting the time it takes to avoid enemies. There are some ways to speed this up though.
When you arrive at a new outpost, base, or other location with structures, look for a yellow, triangular post. Approach it and you can find (and take) a manifest. You can then equip your cardboard box and wait in the area next to the sign for a ride.
You will then be delivered to any location on the map where you’ve already collected that area’s manifest (thanks to PC Gamer for this tip).
- If you want to reach the ACC quickly, as long as you aren’t in a mission you can just hit pause and select the ACC option to go there at any time.
Forget the score
I can’t speak for everyone, but for me, scoring is one of the absolute worst ideas introduced to this series.
The best aspect of the Metal Gear Solid series is the freedom you have to do things however you want, and scoring it puts an emphasis on approaching missions a certain way. Want to approach a mission using combat first? You’ll lose points for alerts. Want to take your time? There’s a score for how long it takes.
Sometimes the score is helpful. You earn points, and the better you play the more points you earn. Of course, “better” is a very subjective terms.
Take my advice and ignore the scoring, at least at first. If you want to go back and replay a mission, you always can.
- You will lose “points” for doing things like calling in an airstrike. Airstrikes are awesome though, so don’t hesitate too much.
Fulton is your friend
One of the most important new tools in the game is the Fulton balloon system, which you can use to “rescue” enemies and gear to help improve Mother Base.
Once you get the binoculars upgrade, you can see each enemy’s ratings. This won’t matter too much at first as you need bodies, but their individual skills come into play soon enough. Go ahead and snag as many enemies as you can with the Fulton system in the early hours – not only will it help you develop your base, the Fulton balloons are a good way to dispose of bodies. You’ll want to be more selective as your base expands and you begin to reach your limits.
Use the Fulton often, but be warned – enemies can see the balloons if they are looking that direction.
The Fulton balloons can also be used to acquire equipment, but you’ll need to upgrade them first. Once that’s done, you can first grab weapon emplacements, then vehicles and containers.
- If you play a mission where you are assigned to kill an enemy, you can generally knock out the enemy out and capture them. Those enemies will typically have extra attributes.
- If you enter a new area and interrogate an enemy, one of them will eventually tell you where a specialist is. Capture them to improve your base stats.
- If an enemy is injured, the Fulton extraction will probably kill him. If you still need to extract that person, call in a helicopter and take them out that way.
- Later in the game you’ll notice that to develop certain pieces of equipment, you’ll need a specialist. There’s no easy way to find these specialists, so make a not of who you need and scan the bases for high stats.
- When you gain the ability to send out your combat units, you’ll run into missions that require certain pieces of equipment like a truck or tank. You’ll need to capture these using a Fulton balloon.
- You can extract yourself using a Fulton balloon. Look for a cargo container and strap a balloon on it (assuming you already have the upgrade). Jump on top and look for the prompt to hang on, and away you go. (Courtesy of Destructoid)
A frequent question I see, and one I have been asked, is how long is Metal Gear Solid V. That’s not really a fair question for any game, but especially not for this one.
There are a whole lot of primary and secondary missions. The primary missions even have multiple, optional objectives. You can also replay them, which adds to the length. There is also a lot of team management that you can invest as much, or as little effort into. And that’s all not counting the online stuff.
There is no easy way to say how long Metal Gear Solid V is. Most games are as long as you make them, but that’s especially true of this one. It will take less time to attack a base than to sneak through it, or you can call in an airstrike and save a lot of time.
Expect to spend dozens of hours to complete the game. Don’t be surprised to find that you’ve dropped 40-50 hours, if not more.
- The prologue alone can take well over an hour.
- You can skip cutscenes by hitting the pause button, then selecting “skip.”
- The cassettes are absolutely worth listening to, but sitting in the helicopter or at base to do so is frustrating. Have them play while you are in the field.
Your home base, known as Mother Base, is a huge part of the game, although you probably won’t spend a lot of time thinking about it.
As you progress, you’ll unlock more and more options for your base. Eventually you will unlock and need to staff these expansions: Base Development, Combat Unit, Intel, Medical, R&D, Security, and Support. Each of these categories offers you bonuses, and each enemy you recruit tends to have a specialty, or at least a higher value for one field over the others.
You’ll need to increase the level of each team in order to unlock certain new items and weapons. Once you hit a new level you can then develop that level’s new objects (assuming you meet the other requirements as well). If you mess with a team and take staff out though, you can lower its level. If you do, you won’t be able to purchase that higher level object again until the level rises again.
The fastest way to build up a team’s level is to assign recruits to the group that best suits them. If you want to bolster one specific group, you can just add people and the numbers will help, but there are limits to the team sizes.
You can go through each team member and manually assign them to the proper group, or you can auto-assign them and let the game make the decisions. The auto-assign tends to assign recruits based on their average rather than their best trait though, so if you want the best boosts quickly, you’ll have to do it manually.
In order to expand your base, you’ll need materials that are found in the field; the Base Development group will bring in materials as well. Materials are easy to find, but you will need a lot.
Each base category has four levels, and you may need to go out of your way to collect materials when you are approaching the higher levels. Materials regenerate though, and once you find them they stay marked on a map. If you are in need, head back to an area you haven’t been in awhile and collect away.
It’s also important to know your team. Return frequently to Mother Base and make sure your soldiers see you to increase morale; the higher morale, the more efficient the teams are.
- Certain team members are considered “Troublemakers.” They lower productivity on the team they are assigned to. They can be countered by adding a diplomat to the team, or you can put two troublemakers on the same team and they focus on each other.
- If you take the time to explore your base, you’ll find diamonds lying around.
- Collect enough animals in the field and you’ll receive a notice that a wildlife preserve has been created. You’ll need to take a helicopter to access it. When you do, you can collect several materials.
- There are showers scattered around the base. Clean off to be physically and mentally refreshed, which increases the length of your reflex ability.
Regardless of what platform you are playing on, you’ve probably had at least some issues connecting online. In fact, you may not have been able to connect online at all.
The good news is you don’t need to be online to play any of the game. In fact, the most prevalent reasons to play online is a microtransaction laden mini-game involving Forward Operating Bases (FOB) that you can skip altogether.
- Hideo Kojima is in the game. If you played Ground Zeroes and rescued him he will be in your roster. If you didn’t, or if you can’t get online, you’ll have another chance to rescue him in Side-Op mission 112 (Courtesy of What Cultrure)
- After you import your data, you can also unlock the polygonal Snake from Metal Gear Solid and you won’t make any sound while moving.
Metal Gear Solid V is a big, big game. There are secondary and primary missions, and multiple objectives within those primary missions. You can also replay a mission again and again if you like.
Your mission options are available through your iDroid, and to travel to a new location you’ll need to go to the Aerial Command Center (ACC). To do this, call a helicopeter and let it take off without first selecting a location. This is also where you can jump online – in theory (see the online section below).
From the ACC you can select a mission. You can stack secondary missions (known as Side-Ops) and do as many as you like in a row, but once you complete a primary mission you will need to return to the ACC to continue. If you plan on doing a few at once, start with the secondaries and then select a primary. If you choose a primary mission while on the ground, you can then head to one of a few locations to start the mission.
When you are on a primary mission, you will have a few main objectives and several optional objectives. The first time you play through the mission, you can complete these optional objectives although you won’t be able to see what they are.
Check the iDroid menu during a mission, and you can at least see how many optional objectives there are. When you replay, that menu will reveal what you need to do.
- If you hear NPCs speaking about a certain location and something going on there, heading there may automatically start a mission (as long as the other pre-requisites have been met). In Afghanistan, listen for rumors of a sniper in the north for an example of this.
- If you see a yellow secondary mission, it means there is something significant about it. It can also trigger a primary mission. If you want to just earn some points and knock out several secondary missions, save these special missions until you have time.
- Once you’ve developed the Combat Unit on Mother Base, you can send teams out to complete missions. Just choose a team with a high probability of success and you should be fine. Once the mission is complete, you can collect your reward.
- Some Combat Unit missions require certain criteria to start.
- As soon as you can, recruit an interpreter (this will be a Side-Op). Once you do, you can listen in on enemy conversations and interrogate enemies.
The weather can change randomly without warning. You can generally use this to your advantage, but know that you will face the same disadvantages as your enemies.
When you receive notice that inclement weather is on the way, mark your objective and try to visually map out a path before it hits. You can use the weather to run through guarded areas, just make sure you are in cover when it passes, and if you had to take anyone out,make sure their bodies are hidden.
- If you need to knock out an enemy in a weather storm, you can still use a Fulton balloon to remove their body. They may die during the extraction, but the body will still be gone.
Random Tips and Easter eggs
- When you first start the game, it will ask for your birthday. If you set it for a few days out, or your birthday just happens to fall on a date when you will be playing, you’ll have a little surprise waiting for you. It’s best not to spoil it. You’ll just need to have access to Mother Base and the rest will take care of itself.
- There are a handful of P.T. Easter eggs in the game. The first is located in mission 20 in Africa. Listen for the recording from P.T. (Courtesy of IGN)
- One of the “Active Decoys” you can use to fool guards (you’ll need to unlock these) is the ghost from P.T.
- When you have your first longterm prisoner in the medical area brig (no spoilers here), the music will play several hits from 1984 and earlier. If you listen long enough, you’ll even catch the Metal Gear Solid 3 “Snake Eater” theme.
- At Mother Base you’ll find signs saying not to stand at a certain location. If you ignore this, something funny happens (thanks to realtytoday.com).
- You can escape the effects of a stun grenade by equipping a cardboard box before it explodes.
- When you equip the bionic arm, every time you use one of its special features you’ll hear the Six Million Dollar Man sound effect.
- If you need a supply drop but don’t want to wait, find a secure location and place the drop on your head. Use the cigar to speed up time, and you’ll be knocked out of it when the supply drop hits, seconds later. This obviously won’t work in boss fights.
- When you equip the bionic arm, every time you use one of its special features you’ll hear the Six Million Dollar Man sound effect.
- There is no way to change the level of difficulty, but if you are having trouble you can go to the game’s options and equip the “Chicken Hat.” It makes the game easier by making you extremely difficult to see, but it looks ridiculous. It will also hurt your score, if you care about that. If you die a few times trying the same mission, the game will automatically give you the option.
- If you equip the cardboard box, you can run and dive down hills. You will slide all the way.
- The medical bay has a secret. After Side Op 51 where you rescue a member of Snake’s old team, look for a door with a blue light over it. Head in for a cutscene and a subplot. Check back often for more.
- Smoking your Phantom Cigar passes time. Make sure you are well hidden though, or you will find yourself surrounded by guards when you come to.
- Try to tranq Ocelt at Mother Base. His reaction is great.
- There is a known glitch regarding buddies. Konami has confirmed that if you bring your human buddy (you’ll known who) with you in missions 29 or 42, your save data may become corrupt on all systems. (Courtesy of IGN). Konami claims it is fixed, but be warned.
- You can shoot down power lines. If there is an enemy standing under them, the line will zap them.
- As you play, you’ll find audio clips of random sounds. You can use those sounds to fool enemies by choosing the speaker option. If you are in the toilet, for example, play the clip of someone dropping a deuce and any nearby guards will leave you alone Courtesy Destructoid).
- The more violently you play, the larger the metal horn on Snake’s head grows. You will also be covered in blood that you can’t wash off. If you want to reverse this, just start playing non-lethally.
More Metal Gear Solid V tips and tricks, as well as Easter eggs on the way!
Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below.