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Ranking The Metal Gear Solid Series

by Dean James


After years of waiting since the mysterious reveal that wasn’t even first announced as a Metal Gear Solid game, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is finally upon us. While we got the original Metal Gear games back in the day, the Metal Gear Solid series did not debut until 1998 on PlayStation.

In that time since, we’ve seen many changes in the series, while also maintaining a level of familiarity. With Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain released now, we thought it would be a good time to look back and rank the previous entries in the franchise.

Since it just came out, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain will not be added to the list at this time, but instead possibly added in after the fact with some time to think about it. We also won’t be covering games like Portable Ops or Rising: Revengeance. Peace Walker however will be included, due to it essentially being a mainline game without the number, while Ground Zeroes will not, since it is really part of V. Also, we are not counting Twin Snakes for this list, as the original is the classic and there’s no point to have both.

As always with rankings, your own lists could very likely be different from our own, so make sure to let us know your rankings in the comments below. Without further ado, this is our rankings for the Metal Gear Solid series.

5. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker


Starting off we have what is actually the most recent full entry in the franchise prior to Phantom Pain, which some even said could have been considering a Metal Gear Solid V before we got Ground Zeroes and Phantom Pain. We had portable entries in the series before like Portable Ops and Acid, but this was the first that truly felt like a Metal Gear Solid game in scale.

Following up on the story of Snake Eater, this game played very well for a portable game and had a very solid story that was worthy of the name Metal Gear. When a game like this is last on a rankings list, you know that this series must be damn good.

4. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots


Going from Peace Walker, our next entry is actually the game that came right before, but I promise this is not a sign that the series has dropped in quality with each subsequent entry. Guns of the Patriots was truly one of the first system sellers for the PlayStation 3 and it was one of the reasons I personally bought one.

The biggest complaint by many about this game was that it relied too much on really long cutscenes and the story got a little crazy, even for Metal Gear Solid, but I still love it. The combat is excellent and serving as what almost has to be the final appearance chronologically for Solid Snake, Old Snake really did go out with a bang.

3. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty


Perhaps one of the most controversial games of all time, but for different reasons than most games that spark outcry. The early game twist that takes Snake out and replaces him with Raiden as the playable character was an incredibly gutsy move by Hideo Kojima and in my opinion paid off handsomely.

Raiden started off as a somewhat bland character, but then we begin to learn his secret past that is incredibly messed up, paired with a conspiracy for the ages that has you even questioning what is real or not. The jump in graphics and gameplay from the original was pretty massive and still holds up very well today. The only problem is it was sandwiched between our top two entries on the list release wise.

2. Metal Gear Solid


The game that started it all. Metal Gear Solid truly changed gaming when it arrived in 1998 by providing games with the first true cinematic experience. Games like Final Fantasy VII of course had great cutscenes and had a great story, but the story behind Metal Gear Solid truly felt like a movie in game form, which we really hadn’t seen before.

The boss battles were innovative, including the crazy Psycho Mantis battle, and the stealth mechanics worked very well. Many elements of the gameplay and graphics were improved upon in all future releases, but there is just something about the original that stands out and still makes it worth playing today.

1. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater


Based on process of elimination, everybody knows what is the top game, though many of you could have guessed this from the start. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is the type of game that you truly get only a few of at most each generation or two.

Taking a big risk and following the story of Big Boss instead, we get a big trip to the past with a story that feels almost like a James Bond movie, complete with one of the best gaming themes of all time with Snake Eater. The boss battles are some of the most memorable in all of gaming history, whether it’s the face off against The End or even the very different battle against The Sorrow. Not to mention all the new camo mechanics and everything.

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is a game that will be incredibly hard to top, but could Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain do just that? We’ll have to wait and see as the game is now out today for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC.

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