Well, this was a challenge and then some. I had hatched the idea to try and rank the Metal Gear games assuming that, after playing them all, it would be a walk in the park. Instead, now I’m just more confused on which title belongs at the top and which should be at the bottom. That being said, though, I believe I have finally figured out which game will reign supreme above all the rest while also determining where the more lacking entries will take their place (I mean “duh” right, I wouldn’t be writing the article otherwise.) So without further waiting, let’s get into it.
(Note: I will only be sticking to what has been considered canon in the series. At a later point, I will put together a list with non-canonical entries as well. As well, this list is my own personal opinion, so some rankings may not match your preference.)
11. Metal Gear Survive
I’ll admit, the newest installment to the Metal Gear series is one that probably shouldn’t be on this list. There’s been a lot of back and forth in regards to whether it’s actually a part of the rich history of the franchise or if it’s just another Metal Gear Acid! Be that as it may, I choose to include it on here because it works out rather nicely in terms of positioning. Long story short, this is a bad game and it should feel bad.
If you haven’t played Metal Gear Survive yet, then please continue to go about your daily life content with the knowledge that you’re a better person than me. If you have played it, then we’re all in this together now. I don’t know how this game made it past trail runs, but somehow it did. There’s numerous issues with the title, from bugs, to terrible survival mechanics, to the fact that your hydration and hunger tick down like a thermal nuclear submarine, it’s all just poorly executed and then some. Honestly, it’s like Konami took what was popular in hardcore survival games, thought “Yeah, why the hell not.”, and then proceeded to take what made those games fun and grind it into an uninteresting and bland paste. Take it from someone that paid full price: Don’t buy Metal Gear Survive.
10. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
Well congratulations Metal Gear Solid 2, you’re no longer the worst one! Actually, truth be told, I always kind of had a soft spot in my heart for Raiden. Yeah, I was as disappointed as everyone else when they switched Solid Snake out for him, but once the real game got started I was really invested in his story. He wasn’t too whiny or a step down from Snake, he was a main character with actual personality. Not just someone who questioned the last lines of every conversation; “Metal… Gear?”
That rant aside, Metal Gear Solid 2 was not without its flaws. It's very noticeable flaws. With the exception of Raiden, there was the complaint that it was just a redo of Metal Gear Solid with updated graphics, as well as the issue of it having a more contrived plot for players to figure out. All in all, the whole game just had a messy, slapped together feel to it. At least we got Vamp out of the ordeal, he was pretty cool.
9. Metal Gear
Ah yes, the game that kicked off the franchise. Funny enough, despite its age Metal Gear has held up remarkably well in terms of visuals. It’s one of those NES style games that you usually have fond memories about until you actually go back and play it. The difference being when you replay Metal Gear it still is entertaining. Storywise, the game follows the adventures of Solid Snake as he infiltrates Outer Heaven in order to destroy their weapons of mass destruction… I think… it’s a fun game, trust me.
The reason for Metal Gear’s lower appearance on this list is mostly due to it’s growing pains. Although it is still an interesting title through and through, there are just some mechanics don’t make the cut nowadays. The combat being a noteworthy pain in the ass. With that in mind though, Metal Gear is still definitely worth trying out if you want a little blast from the past.
8. Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “What gives Ethan, if Metal Gear was the previous entry, then Metal Gear 2 should be next one right?” Well, that’s how it would normally work with this type of thing, but Portable Ops just doesn’t have the same impact that Metal Gear 2 does. If anything, it just feels like another Metal Gear Solid 3, but with less emotional investment.
Honestly, I am being a bit tough on Portable Ops but it is genuinely one of those middle of the road games that does enough right to be deemed good, but also enough wrong that it misses the dizzying heights of great. I will say it does have my favourite ‘Metal Gear Bond’ song in “Calling to the Night” by Natasha Farrow. The catchy theme aside, Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops is fine overall. (Gotta give a shout out to the Mr. Freeze villain though)
7. Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake
The second installment into the Metal Gear series, Metal Gear 2 was an exception to the saying “second verse, same as the first.” There was a lot of work put into this title that greatly improved the experience for both critics and players from that of the first game. Some even went on to call it one of the best 8-bit games of all time. Of course, not everyone had the same views on the subject.
Much of the criticism surrounding the game was geared towards how repetitive it was and that only those who cared about the original Metal Gear would find it entertaining. However, despite these issues, Metal Gear 2 still remains a crucial benchmark entry into the franchise as it helped solidify the notion of ‘stealth-action’ gameplay. It’s also pretty unique in regards to story as well, as it’s still referenced in the more current-gen games to this day. Regardless of what may or may not have been wrong with Metal Gear 2, I think we can all agree that it played a pivotal part in getting us the series we know and love.
(Hope you enjoyed Part 1, Part 2 can be found here!)