Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain – S-Rank guide

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By now, you’re more than familiar with Afghanistan in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. Your Mother Base is expanding nicely, Diamond Dog is all grown up and you all owe me 50 cents whenever you mention something “D” in the game, because I have a copyright on that consonant.

But if you really want to establish yourself as the biggest of bosses in Metal Gear Solid V, you need to be able to finish a mission with the highest score possible, the S-Rank. And that ain’t easy. Getting an S-Rank involves patience, skill and understanding your environment. As well as several other factors. Let’s hit the list.

Mission Completion Time

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Pretty much self-explanatory and the most obvious points-earner here. Completing a mission is just one thing, but doing so fluidly and as quickly as possible? That’s how you earn points baby. Ignore side objectives if you can, and just power on through like a stealthy snake in the night.

Additional Mission Objectives

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On the other hand Darryn, you can also pick up points towards your S-rank, by deviating from the path and tackling an optional mission or two. You don’t have to engage in these objectives, but completing them with time to spare can yield bonus points.

First time’s the charm

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If you can get into a groove, flow through a mission and finish it without any restarts or checkpoints, that S-Rank is yours. Of course to do so will require a ton of practice, skill and luck. Lots and lots of luck, I cannot stress this enough. And possibly alcohol to get you through that perfect run.

Reflex Mode

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Reflex Mode is essentially Spider-sense for Snake. It’s a last-second ability that’ll slow the world down and allow you to quickly get rid of any enemy who has spotted you. But it’s also a crutch, and an optional one at that. Entering Reflex Mode may save your skin, but it’ll also cost you the bonus points needed for your S-Rank score. It’s easily rectified however. Just turn it off in the options screen. If you’re brave enough that is.

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Stealth

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Big Boss may be the greatest soldier who ever lived, but that’s because he knew when to fight and when to hide. Metal Gear Solid games have always prioritised stealth over brute force, and The Phantom Pain is no different. While you’ll lose points ever time you are spotted, you’ll also lose rank every time you take damage.

Simply put, the easiest way to earn big points towards your S-Rank is not to be seen at all and by not killing any enemies if possible. Stealth is easily the biggest factor in determining that, so stick to the shadows.

Hostages

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They aren’t just a part of your mission, but another method of gauging rank. Each hostage saved in the game earns you big rank points. Go get ‘em.

Interrogation

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Always, always interrogate an enemy before you stun them. Points!

Enemies

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Like I mentioned above, try not to kill anyone. You’ll earn more points by simply stunning an opponent, than you would by shouting YOLO and bum-rushing them with bullets. Accuracy also plays a key role, so make every shot count as the game factors in your marksmanship as well.

Every enemy you mark, also tallies up more points in your favour. Whip your binoculars out, and start marking your territory like a Diamond Dog with a full bladder.

Last Updated: September 10, 2015

Darryn Bonthuys

Something wrong gentlemen? You come here prepared to read the words of a madman, and instead found a lunatic obsessed with comics, Batman and Raul Julia's M Bison performance in the 1994 Street Fighter movie? Fine! Keep your bio! In fact, now might be a good time to pray to it!

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