Metal Gear Solid 5: 30 essential tips, tricks and secrets

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Metal Gear Solid 5 is an insanely deep game, with countless systems, gadgets, and weapons to play with. But the tutorials don’t tell you everything, and there’s a lot to discover in this vast, rich stealth sandbox. Here are some of the tricks, tips, and secrets we’ve discovered so far. Share your own in the comments.

Recruit Hideo Kojima

After completing the ‘Intel Operative Rescue’ mission in Ground Zeroes, import your save and a soldier named Hideo will volunteer for Mother Base. This will happen randomly after completing a mission. He has an S rating for intel and an A+ rating for R&D. Any other POWs or special soldiers you extracted will volunteer too.


Bring up the iDroid map, then press the action button (Y on an Xbox controller) and it’ll shrink to the bottom-right corner of the screen. You can then move, either on foot, on D-Horse, or in a vehicle, and the mini-map will stay on the screen. This is ideal for exploring, quickly planning an escape route, or gathering plants.

Custom music

You can import your own tunes into The Phantom Pain on PC. In the game directory, look for the ‘CustomSoundtrack’ folder. Any audio files you drop in here will appear in your iDroid’s cassette tapes menu, and can even be set as your chopper music.

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Cardboard box slide

Equip any cardboard box, then press the stance button to stand up. Sprint towards a downwards slope—the steeper the better—and if you hit the dive button you’ll slide down it. This works especially well on the sand dunes in Afghanistan.

Recruit an interpreter

One of the first side ops that unlocks is ‘Extract Interpreter (Russian)’ and you should make it a top priority. Recruiting this soldier will allow you to interrogate captured Soviet guards and listen in on their conversations. Grabbing enemies and squeezing them for information is vital: they’ll mark nearby comrades with high stats on your map, the locations of R&D blueprints, and reveal other useful intel.

Easy mine-clearing

There are a few mine-clearing side ops, which involve scouring a location for mines and detonating them. But if you want to save yourself the hassle, simply call in an airstrike in the centre of the marked mission area to destroy them all instantly.

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Instantly return to the ACC

Don’t bother calling in Pequod when you finish a mission and want to return to your aerial base. This takes time and costs GMP. Instead, bring up the pause menu and select ‘return to ACC’ and you’ll be transported there immediately.

Secret cutscene

When you’ve unlocked the medical platform for Mother Base and completed a side op that asks you to recover a wandering MSF soldier, head there and look for a door that automatically opens when you get close to it—on one of the top floors. We’ll say no more, but it’s something you should definitely see if you played Ground Zeroes.

Cassette tapes

You’ll collect a LOT of cassette tapes as you play The Phantom Pain, which can be listened to using the iDroid—and you really should. The bulk of the game’s story is found on them, and they give important context to your actions, settings, and characters. They’re the equivalent of the codec conversations from previous games in the series, but are entirely optional.

Andy Kelly

If it’s set in space, Andy will probably write about it. He loves sci-fi, adventure games, taking screenshots, Twin Peaks, weird sims, Alien: Isolation, and anything with a good story.