Feature Article

How To Obtain an S-rank in 10 Missions from Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain [SPOILERS]

Good job, soldier.

Excellence in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain can be measured in many ways, but earning an S-rank is the mark of a true Fox-ranked operative. Studying your environment and seeing the bigger picture is half the battle, so to give you an upper hand, we've compiled 10 clips that show you how to earn an S-rank in a variety of story missions from The Phantom Pain's campaign. Needless to say, a strong spoiler warning is in effect, so don't continue down the page if you care about the story and haven't already played these missions.

The missions below were completed with modest means just in case your own inventory is limited, but with multiple paths to success, know that there's no one loadout that's best. Ultimately, you need to figure out which equipment suits your play style, but note: some items and support tools limit your rank to an A or below, so double check your gear's descriptions to be on the safe side. We have a soft spot for DD, Big Boss's canine Buddy. He's great at marking hidden enemies and soldiers, and taking him into battle doesn't have a negative impact on your rating. Let's kick this medley off with the first mission, Episode 1: Phantom Limbs.

Episode 1: Phantom Limbs

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Our video shows Big Boss approaching Da Ghwandai Khar from the southeast side. There's a large team of guards patrolling the area around your target, so it important to study their patterns and recognize when a moment of opportunity might appear, and don't forget to mark them with your int-scope to keep an eye on their locations at all times. Regardless of how you enter the building where Miller is being held captive, it’s best that you leave the same way you entered.

The conclusion to this mission pits you against the Skulls, who are tough to shake once they spot you. To sneak away undetected, hold your ground and observe them. When the two close to the bridge reach it, take your horse along the narrow path to the right of the bridge. This will help you avoid a chase scene, and give you safe passage to the relocated chopper awaiting you and Miller

Episode 3: A Hero’s Way

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

A Hero’s Way teaches you that missions can be easy if you look at them from the right angle. To pull off this laughably easy S-rank, start by choosing the northern landing zone and then equip your sniper rifle of choice. Once you touch down, head to the cliffs that overlook Da Shago Kallai. Use your sniper scope to view the base and note the narrow path that runs through the middle. You may get lucky if you play at night. As you can see in the video, the target ran directly towards us, making for easy prey.

If you attempt the mission during the day, note that a jeep with soldiers will be arriving from your left to rendezvous with your target, who's standing on an elevated wooden platform. Wait for him to descend the stairs, as he becomes an easy target. After the kill, make a 180 degree turn and exit the hot zone as soon as possible.

Episode 4: C2W

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

C2W requires you to assertive, and it really helps to have transportation waiting for you between the landing point and the objective area. Consider leaving your horse there before heading into action, and make sure you have plenty of C4 and grenades. From the landing point, take the southern path to the destination. There is an outpost and a pair of roaming soldiers along this path, so use the horseriding concealment option to keep yourself hidden while progressing forward. Once at the base, take out the guards closest to you and then mark the communications equipment with your int-scope. When the coast is clear, sneak up to the elevated portion of the base.

Our first attempt featured an unexpected stroke of luck in the form of a sandstorm. Now it was the best time to stop worrying about the guards and just toss grenades at the direction of all three satellite dishes. That gave us enough time to escape to the base from the direction we came from without detection.

If you aren't lucky enough to be concealed by a storm, then you need to work a little harder. When you get to the elevated portion of the base, progress along the upper path and immediately head for furthest satellite dish and plant a C4 charge next to the dish. If you do this efficiently enough and depart from the direction you came from, you should be able to avoid the guards heading in your direction. Plant another C4 charge at the satellite dish along the path to your exit. Position yourself so that you can throw a grenade and hit the furthest dish, but don't do it just yet. Detonate the two C4 explosives that you planted earlier, then immediately throw a grenade toward the last satellite dish. Exit the base from the point you originally entered, and exit the hot zone. Be sure to hide behind your horse once again, just in case.

Episode 7: Red Brass

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

One of the reasons why The Phantom Pain has such immense replay value is that objectives are often repositioned in subsequent playthroughs. So if you go back to the chopper and restart this mission, the three targeted Soviet commanders will convene in a different spot in town. The trick is to use the checkpoint reset option in the pause menu, rather than restarting the entire mission. Once you reach town (from any direction) stay hidden, but be sure that you can keep an eye on the central portion of the map. As the last commander arrives, figure out where the three are having their meeting. Then reset to the last checkpoint.

Once the game reloads, make a mad dash to the meeting spot before the commanders arrive (you should have more than enough time). Wherever they choose to meet, plant some C4 in the same area. Then hide approximately 50 yards away, which should be close enough to detonate the C4 and far enough so that you can make a break for it after the explosions. Once you've done the deed, hightail it out of there. This checkpoint trick is an exploit, but it will net you a coveted S-rank for the mission.

Episode 11: Cloaked In Silence

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Cloaked In Silence proves that in order to find opportunities, you need to create opportunities. In the case of this initial encounter with Quiet, it’s all about baiting her to fire at you. While in cover, pop your head out with a shoulder button tap. That will be enough to make her waste a bullet round. That’s when you capitalize on a brief three-second window to fire back while she reloads. But before we get ahead of ourselves, you should first mark her with your Int-Scope. The good news is that she’s very forgiving and patient in letting you mark her, provided you don’t take long to do so; she’ll give you about 8 seconds. Repeat this process enough times and she’ll eventually use a nearby pool of water to heal. This is the time to deal the finishing blow. If you’re patient with your aiming, you shouldn’t need to stray far from your original starting point. Due to the distance separating you two, you might also need to adjust your aim for a miniscule downward arc of your bullet path.

Episode 15: Footprints of Phantoms

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Footprints of Phantoms is an excellent exercise in close-proximity sneaking. Start by making sure you have C4. Your point of entry doesn’t matter since both pairs of Walker Gears on-site are well-guarded. Thankfully, they are guarded by troops who have repetitive patrol paths, so figuring out when to hold your position and when to sneak should be simple; be patient and study their paths carefully. You spend most of this mission on your belly, so if you think that you might be spotted, stay still and play dead (which you should have learned at the beginning of the game). Once you’ve managed to plant the C4 on all four Walker Gears, back away from the blast zones and set off the C4. Once you’ve done so, use your best judgement in exiting the area undetected. This is the time to take advantage of the confusion of the troops, who are trying to figure to what happened.

Episode 26: Hunting Down

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Assuming you've already completed this mission, you should already know to look in the forest for a large group of soldiers. With your sniper rifle and night vision goggles equipped, find a good vantage point far away from the prying eyes of the enemy, eliminate your target, and escape as quickly as possible.

Episode 27: Root Cause

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Face the outpost from the side of the nearby ascending hill, and sneak try to flank it from the left. If you time it properly, the prisoner that you need to extract will make a break for it in a truck, but he will also eventually crash. This is your opportunity to rescue him, and if you use the checkpoint reset option in the menu after discovering the crash site, you can meet him there on your next run. You can't fulton the prisoner since he's in a weakened state, so call in the chopper and make your way to safety, but don't forget to keep an eye out for nearby guards along the way.

Episode 31: Sahelanthropus

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

For this mission, be sure to take your rocket launcher and grenade launcher, and keep mixing up the distance between you and Sahelanthropus. If it’s launching missiles, run up close, but keep your distance when it starts using its flamethrower. Sahelanthropus also has a sword that causes massive rock formations to erupt from the earth when struck. When you see him with it, get out of his way. When Sahelanthropus' health falls below 50%, find a good hiding spot. It will soon get ready to fire its rail gun, and you do not want to get hit by it.

Item management becomes very important when Sahelanthropus' health drops below 25%. If you're out of ammo, you're basically out of luck. You need to reload quickly as the pace of this fight can become overwhelming, and you don't want to be caught with an empty chamber. When you see the leather-bound child floating in from of Sahelanthropus, blast away. To avoid accidental splash damage, use your grenade launch for a more focused blast.

Episode 32: To Know Too Much

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.
This video has an invalid file format.
00:00:00
Sorry, but you can't access this content!
Please enter your date of birth to view this video

By clicking 'enter', you agree to GameSpot's
Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

In Episode 32, night vision goggles are your best friend, even in the day time. You’re on the lookout for a CIA operative stranded in the desert. We suggest having a horse to minimize time as you head straight to the target area. With your night vision goggles on, you can spot an unusual yellow blob on the desert sand. There may be a few enemies in the desert, but you can easily outmaneuver them if you take your time.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Back To Top