The Metal Gear Solid series have brought with them many great moments. From the early days of codec moments to the antics of the prison guard. And even the famous cardboard box as a disguise. Almost all of the games in the series were handcrafted by Hideo Kojima and his team. Even a series as great as Metal Gear Solid, there are 5 that really stand out on top of the others.
5. Metal Gear Solid 1
Metal Gear Solid isn’t the first game in the series, that belongs to Metal Gear. But it was the first voice-acted and 3D Metal Gear game. That reason alone would be enough to put it high on any other list. The issue I have with Metal Gear Solid 1 is that there are a lot of characters that were killed very quickly. As the series progresses, one of the said characters is actually behind the organization that is behind almost everything that happens throughout the series. This is probably because Kojima hadn’t yet planned for this organization until Metal Gear Solid 2. And even then, their identities were not realized until after Metal Gear Solid 3.
Ignoring the above, the enemy force called Foxhound was the perfect antagonist to Solid Snake. Each one was highly skilled and made each battle truly an epic gaming moment. From Psycho Mantis’ magic memory card reading trick. To Sniper Wolf’s crack shot skills. On top of that, each character died with honor and with meaning. Almost all of them made you regret your decision to kill them. But it was the only way to save the world.
The Shadow Moses incident as it is now known made Solid Snake an international hero within the black ops community. To the point where he was compared to Big Boss. The greatest soldier ever, who happens to be Solid Snake’s dad (One of Big Boss’s clones). This is strange considering how Solid defeated Big Boss twice in Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2.
The stealth mechanics were executed very well. Each guard has a predetermined route, which the player can work out and use to their advantage. However, obstacles such as puddles and snow can lead the guards to Snake. Which was an amazing feature that caught out many gamers, myself included.
Even though this is number 5 in my Metal Gear Solid games list, all five are worth playing.
4. Metal Gear Solid 2
Number four in my Metal Gear Solid Games list is Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. This is where the overarching story of the series is formed. The Patriots become a known entity as well as the Philosophers. We are also introduced to Raiden. A man that respects Solid Snake and has completed multiple simulations of the Shadow Moses incident. This time, however, instead of creating a clone, the Patriots orchestrated The Big Shell incident. Its aim was to turn an average soldier into a Solid Snake. Unfortunately for the Patriots, the real Solid Snake becomes involved. Teaming up with Raiden they expose the plan and also the Patriots.
Gameplay-wise it greatly improved over MGS 1. The viewpoint changes from overhead to an eye-level view. The player can also aim their weapons in first-person view which results in enemies placed on a 3D plain rather than remaining on the same level as the player. The AI is also smarter. Soldiers will team up and fight Raiden rather than take him on all by themselves.
Each of the bosses has their own reasons for battling Raiden. Lady Fortune wants revenge on her father against Snake. Fatman wants to prove he is a better bombmaker than his mentor. Vamp will do whatever Fortune tells him to do. And of course, Ocelot is back. However Ocelot’s body now also possesses Liquid Snake’s soul…or does it? We are also introduced to another clone of Big Boss, Solidus. He is the perfect clone, unlike the other two who we have met.
One trait that I have noticed that is missing from the imperfect clone Solid Snake, is that, unlike his clone siblings, he has no desire to lead. Big Boss, Liquid, and Solidus all lead their own teams and even armies. While Solid Snake is perfectly happy being a foot soldier to get the job done. Unfortunately for the others, their leadership trait seems to be the reason they all die before old age.
The main reason MGS 2 isn’t further up this list is Raiden. I found him so whiney. He always doubted his skills and just like Solid he wants to follow all orders given to him. This is strange considering he is the strongest character in the whole series even before he becomes a cyborg. This is because he is the only person who isn’t related to Big Boss in any way and is able to defeat the perfect clone Solidus Snake.
3. Metal Gear Solid V
Next on my top 5 Metal Gear Solid games list is both episodes of V. I’ve previously written a review on Metal Gear Solid V‘s episodes. However, the reason it isn’t further up the list is that the open world feature took away a lot from what makes MGS great. The corridors and small areas in earlier games made the AI far more intelligent while also being a bit more predictable.
The end of the game also feels a lot more rushed when compared to other games. This is probably because Konami wanted the game out as soon as possible so they could stop hemorrhaging money. Which meant the game was cut short. And this is the core reason it isn’t further up the Metal Gear Solid games list.
It did make adjustments to the Peace Walker base building mechanic where there was no longer a need for a cantina. The only aspect of it that you needed to worry about is keeping it out of the red.
2. Peace Walker
Peace Walker sets up Big Boss for the rest of the Metal Gear Solid games. He builds his own army and creates Outer Heaven. The player has to manage the base while also progressing with the story.
Just like V, I have previously written a review on this Metal Gear Solid game. But the story focuses on Snake finding out that The Boss may still be alive. Her voice was recorded and the tape was shown to him. A professor from the University of Peace uses this tape to bargain with The Boss to investigate what is being transported in Central America. Later confirmed to be Peace Walker a Bi Pedal tank.
The only reason it isn’t number 1 on this list is that it is a mission-based campaign where you select missions that limit where you can go. All previous main installments had massive levels that the player can explore gradually.
1. Metal Gear Solid 3
Chronologically the first game in the Metal Gear Solid games series. We are introduced to Naked Snake who would later become Big Boss. The game felt like it was straight out of a James Bond movie. With the dramatic cutscenes and music to back it up. There is even a music video between the first mission and the final mission. This is the title I have played the most out of any of the others.
Big Boss is a complicated character and has a difficult mission. He is tasked with defeating a rogue cell while also killing his former mentor. Throughout the game, the player questions if Snake can really kill his mentor. Each time you meet her (The Boss), she beats him multiple times. It isn’t until the final encounter that Snake has any chance of beating her. There is even a younger Ocelot in this game who is arrogant. But Snake never kills him.
The support team all become big players in the events of the rest of the game. Each one contributes to technology as well as the world as a whole. I won’t spoil it, but this game is worth playing again and again. It also helps that it is the most accessible one apart from V. I hope to do a full review in the coming months. But until then I recommend you play this ASAP.
This is the most important installment in this list of Metal Gear Solid Games. As this sets up events that make the other games possible.
Missing Metal Gear Solid Games
There are a number of Metal Gear Solid games that I have missed off the list. The below games I haven’t played:
- Ac!d 2
- Portable Ops
- Metal Gear
- Metal Gear 2
- Metal Gear Rising
Another missing entry on the Metal Gear Solid games list is MGS4. When it was originally announced I was hyped for it. The graphics looked amazing and the gameplay looked like it was built upon the previous installments. Unfortunately, it did not live up to my high expectations at the time. The camouflage feature was present, but Snake had a special suit that could blend in with almost anything.
The bosses were forgettable and the gameplay was okay in general. The only saving grace is that it is the final mission of Solid Snake. You finally get to see him rest. He dies a few months later from the end of the game which is sad, but he did deserve the peace.
Well, that’s all folks. These are my top 5 Metal Gear Solid games, what are yours? Do you think any deserve higher praise or was I too harsh? Let me know in the comments below.