The Best Metal Gear Games Of All Time

best metal gear games
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The Metal Gear series, made famous from the mind of Hideo Kojima, is renowned for its intricate storytelling, stealth gameplay, and complex characters.

Spanning decades and numerous gaming platforms, the series has evolved from 2D stealth adventures to sprawling open-world epics.

This article ranks the best Metal Gear games, delving into what makes each title a critical and fan-favorite addition to the franchise.

Best Metal Gear Games Ranked From Worst To Best

11. Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake (1990)

metal gear 2 solid snake

Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake built upon the foundation laid by its predecessor, introducing gameplay mechanics that would become staples of the series.

With improved AI, a more complex story, and the introduction of now-iconic elements like the radar system, Metal Gear 2 was a significant leap forward.

Though it was initially less known in the West due to its limited release, its reissues have since highlighted its importance as a pivotal entry in the Metal Gear saga.

10. Metal Gear (1987)

metal gear nes

Metal Gear introduced gamers to the stealth genre, challenging players to avoid confrontation rather than engage in it. As Solid Snake, players infiltrated Outer Heaven to stop the titular Metal Gear, a nuclear-armed mecha.

Its innovative gameplay, coupled with a compelling narrative, laid the groundwork for what would become one of gaming’s most storied franchises.

Despite its rudimentary graphics by today’s standards, the original Metal Gear remains a landmark title in video game history.

9. Metal Gear: Ghost Babel (2000)

metal gear solid ghost babel game boy color

Metal Gear: Ghost Babel, released for the Game Boy Color, is often overlooked but is a testament to the series’ versatility.

This title returned to the top-down perspective of the early Metal Gear games, offering a blend of traditional stealth mechanics and engaging storylines.

Ghost Babel was praised for its ability to deliver a genuine Metal Gear experience on a handheld platform, complete with complex level designs and a narrative that fits snugly within the series’ lore.

8. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (2010)

metal gear solid peacewalker psp

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker took the series to new heights on the PSP, blending tactical espionage action with a base-building mechanic that allowed for deeper gameplay and character development.

Set in the aftermath of Metal Gear Solid 3, Peace Walker expanded on Big Boss’s story, offering insight into the formation of Outer Heaven.

Its compelling narrative, combined with co-op gameplay and innovative mechanics, made it a standout title and a fan favorite.

7. Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 (2023)

metal gear solid master collection vol 1

Metal Gear Solid: Master Collection Vol. 1 brings together several classic titles from the series, remastered for modern platforms.

While not a new game in itself, this collection is a treasure trove for Metal Gear enthusiasts, offering enhanced versions of beloved games.

It serves as both a perfect introduction for newcomers and a nostalgic journey for long-time fans, ensuring the legacy of Metal Gear continues to endure.

6. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (2013)

metal gear revengeance ps3

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance marked a departure from the series’ traditional stealth gameplay, focusing instead on high-octane action and swordplay.

Starring Raiden, now a cyborg ninja, Revengeance combined the intricate storytelling of Metal Gear with the fast-paced combat of action games.

Its unique “blade mode” mechanic, which allowed players to precisely slice enemies and objects, offered a fresh and exhilarating experience, making it a memorable spin-off that expanded the Metal Gear universe in bold new directions.

5. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (2008)

metal gear solid 4 ps3

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots stands as a monumental achievement in storytelling and interactive media.

Set in a world where private military companies dominate global conflicts, MGS4 provided a fitting and emotional conclusion to Solid Snake’s journey.

The game was lauded for its deep narrative, cinematic presentation, and the way it seamlessly blended stealth, action, and a complex plot involving war, technology, and identity.

Its innovative gameplay mechanics, such as the OctoCamo suit and a more dynamic CQC system, along with the return of beloved characters from the series’ rich lore, made MGS4 a landmark title in the franchise.

4. Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain (2015)

metal gear solid 5 phantom pain ps4

Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain expanded the boundaries of the series by introducing an open-world environment, offering unprecedented freedom in how to approach missions.

The Phantom Pain was celebrated for its deep tactical gameplay, day-night cycle, weather system, and the way it allowed players to manage Mother Base.

While its narrative was more fragmented compared to previous entries, the game’s innovative mechanics, stunning visuals, and the introduction of Quiet and D-Dog as companions provided a gameplay experience that was both expansive and immersive, pushing the series into new territory.

3. Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance (2002)

metal gear solid 2 substance ps2

Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance, an expanded edition of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, is renowned for its ambitious story, which delved into themes of information control, identity, and the nature of reality.

By introducing Raiden as the protagonist, MGS2 disrupted player expectations and delivered a narrative experience that was ahead of its time.

The game’s intricate plot, coupled with improvements in gameplay mechanics such as enhanced enemy AI and more interactive environments, solidified its place as one of the most thought-provoking and innovative titles in the series.

2. Metal Gear Solid (1998)

metal gear solid ps1

Metal Gear Solid brought the series into the 3D era with groundbreaking success, setting a new standard for the stealth genre and video game storytelling.

Set on Shadow Moses Island, the game introduced players to a fully voiced cast, cinematic cutscenes, and a complex narrative that explored themes of genetics, war, and betrayal.

Its blend of stealth gameplay, memorable boss battles, and iconic moments like the Psycho Mantis fight, made MGS a seminal title that influenced countless games that followed.

Metal Gear Solid’s legacy as a masterpiece of game design and narrative complexity is undisputed.

1. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (2004)

metal gear solid 3 snake eater ps2

Topping the list is Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, a prequel set during the Cold War that delves into the origins of Big Boss.

Renowned for its deep storytelling, Snake Eater introduced survival elements, camouflage mechanics, and close-quarters combat, elevating the gameplay experience.

The game’s rich narrative, exploring themes of loyalty, betrayal, and the tragic cycle of war, resonated deeply with players.

Its memorable characters, emotional depth, and the iconic ladder scene contribute to its standing as not only the best Metal Gear game but also one of the greatest video games of all time.

Final Word

The best Metal Gear games stand as monumental achievements in the gaming industry, each contributing to the legacy of a series that has continually pushed the boundaries of storytelling, gameplay, and player immersion.

From the cinematic grandeur of Metal Gear Solid 4 to the open-world expansiveness of The Phantom Pain, and the unmatched narrative depth of Snake Eater, these titles exemplify the pinnacle of video game craftsmanship.

The Metal Gear series, under the visionary guidance of Hideo Kojima, has not only defined the stealth genre but has also left an indelible mark on the medium as a whole, captivating players with its intricate narratives, memorable characters, and innovative gameplay.

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Jacob Woodward
Jacob Woodward
Jacob has multiple years of experience in the gaming and tech industry, writing for media publishers such as Gfinity, NetworkN, GGRecon, and more. He is a retro gaming expert, obsessed with getting the nostalgia kick that it brings. With a wealth of experience in collecting, playing with, and even modding retro systems, he has key knowledge on this niche corner of the market.
Jacob Woodward
Jacob Woodward
Jacob has multiple years of experience in the gaming and tech industry, writing for media publishers such as Gfinity, NetworkN, GGRecon, and more. He is a retro gaming expert, obsessed with getting the nostalgia kick that it brings. With a wealth of experience in collecting, playing with, and even modding retro systems, he has key knowledge on this niche corner of the market.