The Metal Gear franchise has been around since 1987, making it one of the longest running in the industry.
After decades in production, Metal Gear was widely recognized as a pioneering stealth video game.
To that end, we’ll be reviewing every Metal Gear game ever made in this article, listing them in order of release and giving a short synopsis of each.
All games that are considered canonical additions to the Metal Gear universe are considered to be part of the main series.
Although the formula has naturally changed and improved over the years, they are all stealth action games.
The release date is July 13, 1987.
Format(s) Made Available: MSX2
Compatible with Nintendo Entertainment System (NES), Commodore 64 (C64), Microsoft DOS, PlayStation (PS), PlayStation (PS), PlayStation Vita (PS), Xbox 360 (X360), and Wii Virtual Console (VC).
The original one that everyone talks about! To accommodate the technical limitations of the MSX2 home computer, the first Metal Gear game shifted focus from being a pure action game (as was originally envisioned) to being more stealth oriented.
Metal Gear’s premise—infiltrate the base, destroy Metal Gear—seems absurdly simple and straightforward in comparison to the complex and convoluted storylines for which the franchise would become known. Metal Gear was a game ahead of its time in terms of gameplay and storytelling despite the hardware limitations of the late 1980s.
After being heavily modified without Kojima’s input, the game was ported to the NES, MS-DOS, and the Commodore 64.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence for the PS2 and Metal Gear Solid HD Collection for the PS3, PS Vita, and Xbox 360 both included the game after its initial release. It was also included in the Wii’s Virtual Console library.
Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake
Publication Date: July 20th, 1990
MSX2 Platform – Currently Available!
Compatible with the PS2, PS3, PS Vita, Xbox 360, and Wii Virtual Console.
A direct sequel was released three years after the first game, and it was given the protagonist’s name. It was also made primarily for the MSX2 and is mechanically and narratively similar to the first game in the series.
The addition of sound as a stealth factor was the most noticeable change that improved the stealth-focused experience. As a result, the player must be careful when using firearms and make extensive use of the new prone position lest they be overheard by their enemies.
Additionally, enemies could hear noise and rush in from off-screen, making the repercussions of losing stealth even more dire.
Unlike its predecessor, Metal Gear 2, which was released as part of MGS 3: Subsistence and MGS HD Collection, as well as on the Wii Virtual Console, was never really ported to any major gaming systems of the time.
Metal Gear Solid
Official date of publication: September 3, 1998
Versions for the PlayStation
compatible with PlayStation 3, PS Vita, and Nintendo GameCube.
The original and best 3D game in the series, Metal Gear Solid set the standard for the genre. This game may not have made the most of the third dimension (what with its predominantly top-down perspective) but it certainly advanced the medium in terms of storytelling.
As Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes, it was also released for the Nintendo GameCube in 2004. However, this wasn’t a true port because it modified the sequel Metal Gear Solid 2, which had been released several years earlier, with improved visuals and new gameplay features.
It’s out now on PlayStation Network for PS3 and Vita, and it’s free if you own Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection. Unlike Metal Gear Solid 2, Metal Gear Solid 3, and Peace Walker, Metal Gear Solid wasn’t remastered or included in the HD Collection.
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
The thirteenth of November, 2001, is the official date of release.
Originally Designed for: PlayStation 2
It’s compatible with the PS3, PS Vita, Xbox, Xbox 360, and PC.
When Metal Gear Solid 2 was released, it was met with some criticism for introducing a new protagonist, Raiden, who was the antithesis of the grizzled veteran Solid Snake.
Fan backlash was exacerbated by the fact that the game’s marketing materials centered around Snake and gave no indication that another character would be the game’s protagonist.
However, this was all done to emphasize the story’s themes, which is where MGS 2 really shone. There was a shift in emphasis from the simple political fiction on which the series had previously been based to more philosophical and existential questions.
From a technical standpoint, Metal Gear Solid 2 introduced much better visuals and more refined gameplay, despite the fact that some boss fights felt forced thanks to the awkward first-person aiming.
Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance was a port of the PlayStation 2 game for the original Xbox and Windows. It was later bundled with the other Metal Gear games for the PS3, PSVita, and Xbox 360 in the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Date of publication: November 17, 2004
For the PlayStation 2 System.
Also available for the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, Xbox 360, and Nintendo 3DS.
If you were to poll any longtime fan of the Metal Gear series about which game in the series they liked best, the overwhelming majority would say Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. It was the first time we put ourselves in the shoes of Big Boss, or Naked Snake as he is known at this point in history.
In contrast to the existential themes explored in MGS2, Snake Eater focuses on political fiction set during the Cold War and focuses heavily on its characters. As for the gameplay, it improved stealth, introduced more complex melee attacks, and included a survival component.
However, only the first two would continue watching the series as it progressed.
Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence, a re-release of Snake Eater released a year later, featured an OTS camera mode and the first iteration of Metal Gear Online. However, Metal Gear Solid 3 was only available on the PlayStation 2 until the HD Collection was released, at which point it became playable on the PlayStation 3, PlayStation Vita, and Xbox 360.
More so, in 2012, Metal Gear Solid: Snake Eater 3D was launched for the Nintendo 3DS. In addition to introducing over-the-shoulder (OTS) aiming and shooting, it reworked the controls to work better with Nintendo’s portable console.
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
Publication date is June 12, 2008
Game console: PlayStation 3
Also available for play on:?
Metal Gear Solid 4 marked the return of the player to the role of Solid Snake, albeit for the final time. The plot of MGS4 is probably the most involved of the series, and the game is (in)famous for its absurdly lengthy cutscenes that can last as long as feature films.
Despite the abundance of cutscenes, the single-player campaign in MGS 4 is severely lacking. The camouflage system is rendered largely unnecessary by the game’s adaptive camouflage, stealth sections are few and far between, and the game is largely “on rails” after Act 2.
Despite the fans’ dislike of “nanomachines” as the sole solution to all of the series’ questions and mysteries, the primary goal of Metal Gear Solid 4 was to conclude the many tangled plotlines from the previous games, and it succeeded in doing so.
Even today, the PlayStation 3 is the only platform on which you can play this particular Metal Gear game.
Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
The official release date has been set for April 29th, 2010.
PlayStation Portable platform release.
Compatible with the PS Vita, PS3, and Xbox 360.
Big Boss’s efforts to establish his private military organization in Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis are at the center of the action in Peace Walker. This narrative serves as the foundation for the series’ conclusion, and gameplay-wise, the game holds its own.
While the gameplay of Peace Walker is heavily inspired by Metal Gear Solid 4, it also features base management and cooperative play.
There’s a lot to like about the story, and it holds up surprisingly well on its own, even if the bosses aren’t as memorable as those in the rest of the series.
The PSP version of Peace Walker has since been joined by a remastered HD version for the PS3 and Xbox 360 as part of the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection. However, the PS Vita’s HD Collection does not include the remastered version of Peace Walker since the PSP version is already available for the system.
Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
Official date of publication: March 18th, 2014
Platforms include the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC.
We do not consider Ground Zeroes to be a complete game on its own. Since it is still being sold independently, we have decided to include it despite the fact that it is essentially a paid demo and story prologue for the actual Metal Gear Solid V.
After the events of Peace Walker concluded, Ground Zeroes picked up and quickly established the story for The Phantom Pain, while also introducing us to the finest iteration of Metal Gear gameplay to date.
Even more impressive than the stunning visuals of the Fox Engine is the seamless integration of stealth and action in Metal Gear Solid V.
The main story of this “game” can be finished in under an hour, and the optional missions that take place on the same map can be finished in about the same amount of time, so if you’re interested in picking it up, you should wait until the price drops below $5.
Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Dissemination Begins on September 1, 2015
Platforms include the PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, and PC.
The Phantom Pain is arguably the most upsetting installment of the bunch. Metal Gear Solid V has too much gameplay and not enough story, in contrast to Metal Gear Solid 4, which had too much story and not enough gameplay. Die-hard fans were quick to notice the latter, and many were dissatisfied with the series’ conclusion.
Due to the well-known split between Kojima and Konami, development was abruptly halted, leaving long-time fans with a feeling that the game’s conclusion was left unfinished. When considering only the gameplay, however, The Phantom Pain stands head and shoulders above the rest of the series.
The only real issues are the occasional repetition that comes with open-world games and the lack of memorable boss fights that the series is known for, but otherwise it’s a perfect continuation of the formula established in Ground Zeroes.
Also, MGS V puts a heavy focus on base building and management, building on the success of previous portable games in the series.
The incredibly well-executed gameplay, the expansive level design, and the technical marvel that is the Fox Engine help ensure that TPP is still one of the best Metal Gear games, despite the story’s flaws.
Spin-offs are games that aren’t canonical to the Metal Gear franchise and often stray from the stealth-action formula of the main series in favor of new ground.
They are typically created by independent programmers.
Metal Gear: Ghost Babel
Publication date: April 27, 2000
To be Played on: GameBoy Color
Non-canonical entry Ghost Babel (known as “Metal Gear Solid” in the West) is a remake of the 1987 sequel to the original Metal Gear game for the Game Boy Color.
Despite being a 2D game, it does not stray too far from the formula established by the first two Metal Gear games, updating that formula with new features from the PlayStation version of the original MGS.
Metal Gear Acid
December 16th, 2004 – Official Date of Release
Sony’s PSP has been the focus of a recent release.
Metal Gear Acid is an obvious departure from the series’ trademark stealth/action gameplay in that it is a turn-based collectible card game in which the player guides familiar characters through familiar situations by using action cards.
Only the PSP version of the game was ever made available, and it was never ported to any other platforms.
Metal Gear Acid 2
Date of publication: December 8, 2005
Available for: PSP
Metal Gear Acid 2 was largely similar to its forerunner and stuck closely to the same card-based gameplay system.
The gameplay was tweaked slightly for the better, and the cell-shaded visuals looked nicer, even if they didn’t quite fit with the Metal Gear series. It was also only available on the PSP, like its predecessor.
Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
Dec. 5, 2006: Official Publication Date
PSP System Released
PlayStation Vita compatibility is also included.
Portable Ops, as its name suggests, was originally developed for the PlayStation Portable and later ported to the PlayStation Vita a full decade after its initial release.
Because of its lackluster plot, Portable Ops is often considered one of the weaker links in the main series.
With its base-building and ally recruitment mechanics, Portable Ops paved the way for Peace Walker and The Phantom Pain in terms of gameplay.
The Portable Ops expansion was so successful that it was given its own name: Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops Plus. The single-player campaign was removed and replaced with procedurally generated “Infinity Missions,” and the gameplay mechanics were altered significantly.
Metal Gear Solid Mobile
The 19th of March, 2008 marks the date of public release.
To be Found on: Symbian
Do you remember the Symbian mobile OS? In the days before iOS and Android took over the smartphone market, it was one of several operating systems.
For a mobile game released in 2008, Metal Gear Solid Mobile was surprisingly comprehensive, bearing strong resemblance to the original Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 2.
Metal Gear Solid Touch
The 18th of March, 2009 is the official release date.
Available on: Apple’s iOS
Metal Gear Solid Touch, the sequel to MGS 4, is a minor mobile game that was made for Apple’s iOS.
Gameplay centered around a limited number of turrets, and visuals were limited to sprites.
It was taken down from the App Store in late 2015, prior to the release of iOS 9, because of compatibility concerns.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Date of publication: February 19, 2013
PS3, Xbox 360, Windows PC, Mac OS X
Playing the role of revenge is, to put it mildly, fascinating. An early tech demo for PlatinumGames’ Fox Engine, “Metal Gear Solid: Rising” evolved into a fantastic hack ‘n’ slash action game.
Gameplay once again puts you in control of Raiden in a world changed by the events of Metal Gear Solid 4, as he searches for his missing father. Not much of a departure from the standard formula for the genre is to be found.
However, the focus of the aforementioned tech demo was on “zangeki,” or the ability to dynamically cut enemies and objects into endless pieces.
Overall, Metal Gear Rising is a pleasant but sadly brief adventure. Despite this, it remains one of the most interesting and enjoyable Metal Gear offshoots.
Metal Gear Survive
Date of publication: February 20th, 2018
Platforms include the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
This is the first Metal Gear game since Hideo Kojima’s departure, and it won’t be the last time Konami tries to cash in on the franchise’s popularity. While Survive is a good game in its own right, it fails to live up to the standards set by the Metal Gear series.
It’s safe to say that Survive was possibly one of the laziest and most blatant cash-grabs in gaming history, what with it being a mostly unremarkable and generic zombie defense/zombie survival game and using so many assets from MGS V.
Snake’s Revenge (Released In 1990, Set In 1998)
There are likely some older gamers who have a soft spot for Snake’s Revenge, but the game is often relegated to the background of the Metal Gear timeline, despite its popularity.
Metal Gear 2 was promoted as a sequel to the original game, but it was actually Hideo Kojima’s own sequel. Although it was still created by Konami, it was only released in the West. It was never reissued, so it’s hard to track down now.
Metal Gear AC!D (Released In 2005, Set In 2016)
Not only does Metal Gear AC!D have a different gameplay style than previous Metal Gear games, but it is also set in an entirely new world. It’s absurd even by the show’s lofty standards.
Because of how unlike anything else in the Metal Gear universe it is, it is also difficult to give it a firm recommendation to fans. However, it was simple to recommend in the PSP’s infancy, when it was one of the best games available. It was also a private event.
Why any kind of Metal Gear Solid 6 release date might be a long way off
Before September 2015’s release of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain (MGS5), publisher Konami announced reorganization plans internally. Upon Kojima’s departure from Konami shortly after MGS5’s release, the studio’s logo was removed from the official site and all marketing materials. The only information the public has about this dispute comes from a GameSpot report and a Nikkei Asian Review article, both of which state that, according to former employees, Konami forbade ex-Metal Gear team members from using their experience with Konami on their CVs.
Speculation about Kojima Productions’ involvement in the upcoming Silent Hills reboot for PS5 lends credence to the idea that Kojima and Konami did not part ways on amicable terms, but it’s possible that they are on the path to reforging their relationship. Since Konami is the sole owner of both Silent Hills and Metal Gear, that’s the only way Kojima can work on both franchises at the same time. There have been rumors that Sony is interested in purchasing both properties from Konami, but it seems unlikely that the publisher would sell off its two most successful series, especially in light of the upcoming reboot. To date, there has been no word on whether or when Konami plans to return to the Metal Gear Solid franchise for a sixth installment, should one materialize.
Metal Gear Solid 6 wish list: what we’d like to see
Kojima has stated his desire to leave the Metal Gear series on more than one occasion, so it’s unlikely that we’ll ever learn what plans, if any, he had for the franchise after he leaves. While working on Metal Gear Solid 4(opens in new tab), Kojima initially stepped aside before returning as director when he was unhappy with the game’s development. If a chronological sequel to Metal Gear Solid 5 is pursued, the excellent game could provide a lot of the groundwork for Metal Gear Solid 6. This is what we propose.
1. Tightened open world
The open world of Metal Gear Solid 5 was one of the most innovative additions to the series. It’s enormous, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. There are times when completing missions in Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain can feel like busywork, especially in the game’s second half when you’ll need to do a lot of the same things again. The open-world missions you are required to do in MGS5 don’t really fit the story, but if that’s all you’re interested in, then by all means, strap fulton balloons to stuff and find increasingly creative ways to dispatch your enemies with your massive arsenal. Konami could do the next game a world of good if it could figure out how to provide a more narratively engaging experience without limiting your freedom of movement.
2. Continue the story from Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain
The lack of an ending in Metal Gear Solid 5 was much debated and may have been a result of growing tensions during development. But there’s a strong case to be made that the ‘unfinished’ feeling of MGS5 was intentional, given the game’s focus on themes of self-discovery and the lingering pain of unresolved trauma. The story of Big Boss, or rather the ‘Big Boss’ of Metal Gear Solid 5, has not been told, at least in a video game, despite the fact that we now know what happened to him. There is room for Metal Gear 6 to connect the series’ two most recent entries, 2015’s The Phantom Pain and 1987’s the original Metal Gear.
Even though it was released later, The Phantom Pain takes place in 1984 in the MGS timeline, while Metal Gear, which was originally released for the MSX in 1987, is set in 1995. Although we have a broad timeline of events that runs through this period, captured by the excellent MGS wiki(opens in new tab), the first order of business should be exploring how Big Boss becomes the antagonist of the series, not the FOXHOUND leader.
3. Remake the original Metal Gear
Metal Gear Survive’s lack of continuity with the rest of the series suggests that Konami may be content to stick with what’s already established in the series. The story of Metal Gear, which is not to be confused with Metal Gear Solid (1998) on PSone, is fantastic and essential to comprehending the character of Solid Snake. Also, this is a game from 1987. Remaking Metal Gear in the Fox Engine for next-gen consoles would be a dream come true for current fans and the perfect entry point for new players.
4. Give the Outer Ops mode more meaning
A return of the Outer Ops feature from MGS: Peace Walker (the PSP game from 2010) would be fantastic, but with all the systems already present in MGS5, asking for even more seems a little decadent. Assignable side missions involving non-playable characters (Outer Ops) that yield extra supplies were absent in Metal Gear Solid 5. Narratively, it makes sense for your Diamond Dogs to be disposable, but from a gameplay perspective, this has reduced the once-engaging process of building your own team and following the battle to a mere exercise in numbers. The sheer number of possibilities makes it difficult to envision how this could be developed into a full feature film, but it could be a good fit if the story centers on Big Boss.
5. Build a better multiplayer mode
Two online offshoots of Metal Gear Solid came to be thanks to the original game: 1) Metal Gear Online, and 2) the “Forward Operating Base” (FOB) mode. In spite of its potential, Metal Gear Online was never widely recognized as a worthwhile game. Particularly, the Cloak and Dagger play style, which captures the spirit of the game perfectly. AKA: Forward Operating Bases Not really. If the benefits of invading are outweighed by the risks, players will either not bother, or the base owner will leave them to their own devices, preventing the one-on-one combat that FOBs are intended to encourage. We believe that the time spent on the FOB system could be better spent developing new multiplayer maps and classes.
Even if Konami keeps the concept of Metal Gear Solid as it is right now untouched — an open world game with a multiplayer component centered on base-building — some small changes would go a long way toward improving what is already a fantastic game.
The story is the real bummer, and in this regard, Hideo Kojima is practically irreplaceable. Someone will have to confidently take up the mantle and not try to shy away from Kojima’s legacy like Metal Gear Survive did in order to make a Metal Gear remake that lives up to today’s standards. That may or may not occur in the future.
The Final Word
So, that’s the end of the list for now. We’d love to hear from you if there’s a game we missed or an error we made.
In addition, it’s worth noting that, despite never having been officially released for PC, most of the older Metal Gear games can be played with ease on the PC by means of emulators.