Fission Mailed: 7 Tips for playing MGSV: The Phantom Pain

Yo yiggidy yo, fellow inside-out triple bluff super spies.

I was lucky enough to receive MGSV a week early and I’ve been hammering it. Now that I’m about halfway through the game, I thought I’d share some tips to help newcomers get to grips with the difficulty. MGSV can be hard, but there are always options as to how you handle it. Don’t worry, it’s story-spoiler free, but I have mentioned some gameplay unlock stuff.

The game has a definite gameplay loop that will turn you into an infiltration crack head, so nail it early and reap the rewards. Later in the game, the Mother Base stuff can become a bottleneck for progress, so nip that shit in the bud early and start building up your forces.


No more radar. That particular crutch is gone, but there are replacements. The binoculars can be used to tag enemies, and later they’ll tell you everything you need to know about the target and their stats. Before you begin sneaking, get yourself up high and spend five minutes or so picking out targets. You’ll never get every soldier from a single vantage point, but you’ll soon get used to working out where the others should be by tagging the ones with a visible patrol. This is the core of your strategy. Early tagging and a good understanding of what lies ahead lets you mark the best soldiers to fulton back to Mother Base, accelerating the access to the higher tier gear that enables the crumbly goodness of an S Rank. S Rank is required for a few missions toward the end of the game, so you’ll be replaying missions at some point. No use worrying about that for now, anyway. Mark your targets before you get moving.


You’ll open up side-ops and missions that let you snatch an interpreter soon after entering a new area. The interpreter can, um, interpret. This means you can now interrogate the dudes you’re grabbing before you knock that sucker out. Interrogation works in a cycle. The first guy you interrogate will give you some info about the map and maybe mark up other soldiers you didn’t see when you were surveying from your vantage point.
Each guy you interrogate will open up a little more information on the map, so as part of your strategy you should be working out who the best four guys to snatch early on will be. You can then adapt your path through the map to pick up the goodies as you go. Blueprints and prisoners are often hard to find unless someone tells you where they are first, so ask around.


MGSV is a lot like Dishonoured in that it gives you a million and one ways to kill people, but 2 or 3 ways to incapacitate them. Remember, every solider on the map can be whisked back to Mother Base and that should be your first objective, especially for any with a C or above in any skill set. You will not be able to fulton any dead soldiers, and dead men can’t talk. Feel free to kill the useless D and E drones from distance, but avoid killing anyone or anything with a decent stat. Knock them out instead.

Also, you can easily rouse any enemies that you tranq or knock out once they’re on the ground. If you’re in danger of being spotted, you can always take them out from distance with the tranquilizer and then wake them up when you’re close to interrogate, before knocking them out again and then fultoning back to Mother Base. Get into the habit of doing this early on and your Mother Base will grow much, much faster.


You’ll want to get in the habit of fultoning pretty much everything not nailed to the ground. As your fulton capability expands, you get more opportunities to send things back before a re-supply and you can send bigger stuff, too.

The enemies can spot the fulton balloon if they’re up high or nearby, so make sure you clear a path before sending somebody back. Mother Base has capacity limits so try and build and upgrade as quickly as you can, whilst sending back as many skilled soldiers as possible. Again, this is vital for the late game, which could become grindy if you don’t start early.


You’ll find D.D pretty early, and it’ll take a while for him to become available as a buddy. Once he’s ready to be deployed, he’s a god send. D.D’s main ability is being able to spot enemies, prisoners, items and animals around the map. Approach a base with D.D at your side and the place will light up like a christmas tree, with unseen enemies tagged thanks to your doggies’ super sense of smell.

Later you can equip him with his own weapons, and he’ll carry a knife in his mouth like some super-badass version of Sif from Dark Souls. He gets a stun knife too, and you can send him to pick off soldiers in the centre of your field of vision that you can’t get close enough to.


The game judges you on being seen and on being shot. Once you can make C4 and a rocket launcher, you can blow things up. Even though you’re alerting enemies you still won’t be seen if you do it from distance, so it won’t affect your ranking.

Blowing up anti-aircraft equipment will allow you to call in the chopper to more areas of the map, making some of the side-ops backtracking a little easier. Plus, it makes you feel like a full blown soldiering god. Later in the game you’ll see a lot more heavy equipment, with patrol helicopters and other vehicles. Planting C4 and then getting on with the job, or rocketing from an unseen vantage point will take out the stress of a lot of the missions ahead. There’s something ridiculously cool about planting C4 all over and then blowing it up one by one when you’re about to leave the hot zone.


Sure, sometimes you’ll want to fight your way in and out, but if you get yourself into a sneaky mindset early you will adapt to the game much more quickly. By following the above advice you’ll soon find that extraction missions in particular are so much easier. The enemy soldiers are clever and their eyesight is good, but the sandbox nature of the maps mean that you can usually enter areas from pretty much any direction.

Soon after the beginning you’ll get access to the sneaking suit, which dampens your footsteps and makes grabbing enemies much easier. D.D gets his own sneaking suit too, and who doesn’t like a dog in armour?