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I have grown up watching my older brother play all of the Metal Gear Solid games, but with the release of the fifth game, I figured it's better late than never to experience the fantastic series myself from the beginning.

This question already addresses which games I should play to catch up, but I'm concerned about anything I may miss because many of these games are old now. Is there any content or advantages I miss out on for being late to the party (such as multiplayer or exclusive pre-order content)?

Please include Metal Gear Solid V as I can imagine it would take quite a while to get current, especially at the leisurely pace I plan to tackle the series at.

  • For things like pre-order bonus content, do you care about the inclusion of physical things (like statues, keychains, physical maps, et cetera), or just in-game content? – Josh Sep 4 '15 at 15:56
  • @JoshPetrie I don't think so, the OP seems to be concerned about in-game content and advantages specifically. No mention of collector's items – Lucas Leblanc Sep 4 '15 at 16:17
  • @JoshPetrie Lucas Leblanc is right, I am only asking about in-game content. – Leon7C Sep 4 '15 at 16:29
  • I think the most problematic part in terms of availability and missing out is the big spread of used platforms and at times exclusive use thereof. – KazaaakplethKilik Sep 7 '15 at 13:59
  • I'm not sure why users consider this off topic, but without an argument, and with an accepted answer, I'm voting to leave open. – user106385 Sep 9 '15 at 2:12
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Many of the older games in the Metal Gear series were released before the modern trend of pre-order bonuses and collector's editions and such. All of the following games

  • Metal Gear
  • Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake
  • Snake's Revenge
  • Metal Gear Solid
  • Metal Gear Solid: Integral
  • Metal Gear: Ghost Babel
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
  • Metal Gear Solid 2: Substance
  • Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes

had no pre-order or collector's edition content of any notable form, in any version or format they were released in (that I'm aware of or have been able to track down).

Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater was the first game to have such content. The original Japanese release (which shipped after the North American release) allowed you to download a unique camo skin, and there was a limited-edition package for sale in Japan that included some physical extras. Pre-ordering in Japan got you a disc with some extra camo skins on it as well, in addition to access, via cell phone, to a site offering downloads of images, music, and more camo skins. The European release of the game included some extra gameplay modes (a boss rush mode, cutscene replay mode, the "Snake vs. Monkey" mini-games, and some facepaint camo).

The majority -- or possibly all -- of these camo skins and features were made available in the Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence re-release. Subsistence includes the first major piece of content you won't be able to access any longer: it shipped with a multiplayer mode called Metal Gear Online, which was discontinued in 2006 is is now unavailable. Limited-edition copies of Subsistence were also sold with some extras, mostly videos and documentaries and the like.

Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots had bonus packages that mainly featured physical items, including a bundle with a special PS3 with a unique color. None of the bonus content was gameplay related, it was all stuff like documentaries, figurines, and soundtracks. Guns did, however, re-introduce a Metal Gear Online multiplayer mode, which was subsequently shut down in 2012. So you can't play that any longer.

Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes was basically a glorified demo, and as such didn't have any real bonus content associated with it. However, it itself unlocks some content in Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain via save data upload.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain had some cosmetic items made available to players who pre-ordered it (at least on Steam, I'm not sure about other platforms). You can upload your Ground Zeroes save data (again, at least with the Steam versions) and unlock some extra characters for use in your base operations in Phantom Pain. Presumably at some point the backend for that data exchange may go down, at which point this would stop working.

Similarly, Phantom Pain has an online mode, which launches in October. Given Konami's track record, you can expect this to eventually be shut down. Similarly MGSV's "forward operating base" game mode... which I don't know much about but sounds kind of like Clash of Clans-esque base raiding? is backed by servers on Konami's end and will eventually be sunset.

Metal Gear Acid didn't have any interesting extra content, but it's sequel, Metal Gear Acid 2, came with a physics stereoscopic lens add-on that might be difficult to obtain now, although you can probably easily find a suitable workaround.

Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops had a pre-order package with some extra camouflage and such. The game had a peer-to-peer multiplayer mode, which still functions (as far as I am aware), although you'll need to find other players to actually play it. Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops+ expanded the online mode but otherwise offered nothing new in the way of content you might now miss.

Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker didn't have any bonus packages, but does have a multiplayer mode. As with Portable Ops, I believe this mode still functions, so all you'd need to experience it is friends.

Metal Gear Solid Touch is an iOS game, and as such can't have any kind of pre-order exclusive content. It was only release for select regions, though, so if you're not in those regions you cannot buy it.

Metal Gear Arcade is interesting, and not a game I'd heard of before researching this question. It was only out in Japan, so it's something you'll miss (potentially) in that sense. It was also basically an arcade version of MGS4's online mode, and consequently may not be running any longer. It appears that the game used head-tracking controls, which might have been fun.

Metal Gear Solid: Social Ops is another game that's only available on mobile platforms in Japan. It was a sort of mash-up of gameplay from other portable Metal Gear titles, and backed by servers that Konami shut down in 2013.

Finally, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance had an assortment of physical bonus or collector's items, but nothing really gameplay affecting. There are versions of the game out there that include all of it's associated DLC.


So basically, the major content that you can expect to be missing out on by playing through the series today is either not gameplay-affecting in any major way, or was multiplayer in nature. And frankly, console online multiplayer being what it was in the age when the associated games were released... you aren't missing much.

  • Excellent answer. I'd note that one version of Revengeance that includes all DLC from the start is the PC release. However, the two pieces of story-related DLC are currently free on PSN, so purchasing the PS3 version will allow you to download those immediately at no additional cost. – recognizer Sep 4 '15 at 18:35
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    Also, the best available English-language versions of Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 are themselves bonus content - included with MGS3: Subsistence, the MGS HD Collection, and the MGS Legacy Collection. – recognizer Sep 4 '15 at 18:36
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    Holy crap, just blew my answer out of the water. Nice knowledge base. (At least I can feel good knowing we reached roughly the same conclusion) – Lucas Leblanc Sep 4 '15 at 19:00
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    Peace Walker's multiplayer is local, but there were a few internet features that are no longer available. Off the top of my head, there was a feature to download some bonus camoflage by entering codes, and you could make your Metal Gear ZEKE "sing" by uploading text to a Vocaloid server. These are very minor though and aren't included in the PS3/360 remaster. – Milo P Sep 4 '15 at 21:22
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    Also, Portable Ops+'s online functionality doesn't work anymore, not that it's canon. – Milo P Sep 4 '15 at 21:28
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Is there any content or advantages I miss out on for being late to the party?

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think so. The only thing I can think of is MGS4's Metal Gear Online (the multiplayer component), which is no longer active. However, that is to be replaced by MGSV's implementation of MGO, which hasn't been released quite yet. As far as exclusive pre-order content, MGS has been pretty good about not including that, far as I can recall. The series hasn't had much DLC either, MGS4 having been released in 2008 before the DLC craze fully took off. MGSV has DLC slated for it, however.

In fact I would say that now is the best time to play the entire MGS collection, since there are remastered bundles of all the games available, and first three games have already released their "improved" version (Substance for MGS2, Subsistence for MGS3 -- noted for updating the camera from the classic MGS/MGS2 top-down style which worked great in 1 and 2's tight indoor corridors, but did not work quite as well for MGS3's environments, IMO). Avoid playing the Twin Snakes version of MGS1 if you can, it kind of ruins the cutscenes in my opinion.

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About order of playing.

I think if you are going to play at least every single canonical game, it is better to play them in release order, may be skipping Metal Gear and Metal Gear 2 if they are tooooooo old for you (there are metagame jokes in newer games about older games, and they are nice). And the gameplay had matured with every new game, so playing old games after new ones may be somewhat disappointing.

There are good news though - if you are good with playing them chronologically, you don't have to play all the saga right now. The prequels to MGS5 are Metal Gear Solid 3 (PS2, PS3, PS Vita, Xbox360) Metal Gear Solid Portable Ops (PSP only) Metal Gear Solid Peace Walker (PSP, PS3, PS Vita, Xbox360) MGS3 and MGSPW on newer platforms are in the form of MGS HD Collection. PS3 also has MGS The Legacy Collection, which contains even more games.

I haven't played Portable Ops and Peace Walker, and right now I am catching up with Peace Walker on PS3, and also I have read Portable Ops plot on mgs wiki: http://metalgear.wikia.com/wiki/San_Hieronymo_Incident If you can, you should at least try to get and play MGS3 and MGS:PW before MGS5. MGS3 is awesome and sets up the whole series, and MGS:PW is somewhat related to the MGS5 plot. I totally think that Portable Ops can be skipped entirely.

  • He's not asking for which games to play, but what he'll miss out on by playing them so far past their release. – Frank Sep 4 '15 at 15:42

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