Look for blue lights in enemy bases. These are almost always attached to something you can destroy or deactivate to make your life easier. Disable power generators to turn off lights and security cameras; destroy anti-air radar dishes to create a safe landing zone for your chopper; or destroy a radio to stop the enemy calling for backup.
Before you use the phantom cigar to advance time, make sure you’re hidden away somewhere safe. If you’re on a road or near an outpost you’ll probably emerge from your cigar-induced trance with soldiers pointing their guns at you.
At some point during your time in Afghanistan you’ll hear a puppy whining. For me it was at the beginning of the ‘Extract Interpreter (Russian)’ side op, but it might be a different one for you. There seems to be a random element to it. Find him and Fulton him immediately. He’ll grow up to become one of the game’s best buddy characters. Extract him as soon as you hear him, because you won’t get another chance.
Take a shower
As you complete missions consecutively, Snake will get covered in blood and dirt. Eventually flies will start buzzing around his head. This reduces his mental well-being and shortens the length of your reflex ability. To wash the grime away, look for a portable shower on Mother Base. Every platform has one.
Sell your resources
If you’re short on GMP you can sell stuff to make a bit of extra money. This includes medicinal plants gathered in the field, resources you’ve collected (fuel, metal, etc.), and any enemy hardware you’ve extracted with the Fulton.
On the Missions menu in the iDroid, flip along to the next tab and you’ll be given the option to enter one of the game’s mission areas, or Mother Base, without needing to start a mission. This is free roam mode, which gives you a chance to explore, gather resources, capture outposts, and complete side ops.
When you unlock the combat unit, which will happen at some point as you play through story missions, you can take staff assigned there on side ops instead of Snake. On the sortie prep screen, look for the Select Character option. Click on Character and a list of all the soldiers in your combat unit will appear. Taking staff on missions increases their stats, so it’s worth doing to beef up your Mother Base.
One of the weapons your Mother Base can develop is a water pistol. As in, a toy gun that shoots water. Sounds pretty useless, right? Well, try squirting it on those communications devices with the blue lights we talked about earlier and get back to us. It has some other uses too, but we’ll let you discover those for yourself.
Catch a bear
It’ll take a while, but it’s entirely possible to take out a bear with the Wu pistol. Wait for the beast to rush you, then dive out of the way at the last minute and get a few shots into its head. Repeat this and it’ll eventually keel over and fall asleep, letting you attach a Fulton and extract it—providing you have the Cargo +1 upgrade.
To play The Phantom Pain with the blocky Solid Snake character model from the original MGS, import a Ground Zeroes save in which you’ve finished the Déjà Vu mission with every moment recreated and every quiz question answered correctly. It costs 100,000 GMP to develop and silences your footsteps when you move.
In reflex mode, equip an empty magazine and throw it at the alerted enemy's head. If your throw is accurate you'll hear a satisfying TING sound and he'll be instantly knocked out. Another good use for magazines is if a guard is closing in on you, throw one behind him to make him turn around.
You'll find posters occasionally that can be picked up. These will earn you a small amount of GMP, but they have another use. While holding the inventory open with a cardboard box selected, press the indicated button (X on an Xbox controller) to cycle between the posters you've collected and attach them to it. For example, stick a poster of a saluting guard to your box and stand up, and from a distance a confused enemy will salute back, thinking it's one of his comrades.
For more tips, check out this video from our friends at GamesRadar+.