Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain S-Rank Guide – Tips and Strategy

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Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom S-Rank tips and strategies to achieve S-Rank in all missions of the game.

Phantom Pain is a heavily gameplay-oriented title. To assess your performance in every mission, the game has a special ranking system that rates your performance once you’ve accomplished a mission.

For more help on Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, read our Key Items Unlock, Heroism Guide and Side Ops Guide.

Metal Gear Solid V: Phantom Pain S-Rank Tips

The highest possible ranking in MGS V is S-Rank, which is obtained when you manage to acquire a score of 130,000 or above. This is very difficult to perform, but doing it has many benefits.

Acquiring S-Ranking on missions allows you to unlock special rewards associated with the task, such as unique Emblems and other goods. In addition to this, you gain much higher GMP and Heroism, hence accelerating your progress.

For these reasons, completing missions with an S-Rank can be a worthwhile struggle. It’s not easy whatsoever, and some missions are extremely unique, but hopefully the next few general tips and strategies should help you acquire S-Rank in majority of the missions, if not all of them.

Obtain It on Second Tries
The first and foremost important tip for any new Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain player is not to attempt S-Ranking on their first tries. There are a number of reasons for this.

Firstly, each mission objective is more or less unique due to change in environments and objectives.

Secondly, attempting to go for S-Rank on every mission the first time you play it will greatly ruin your experience. This is because time and avoiding detection play an important role in obtaining the rank, and you do not want to be speeding things up when you play some missions for the first time.

Instead, get a feel for the mission and experience it without ranking in mind the first time around. Once you’ve accomplished a mission, you can always run it again.

When you do the second time, you’ll know what to do, the essential tasks in the mission, and also the routes. These things combined together will greatly save the amount of resources and time you spend on that mission.

Skip All Cutscenes
Believe it or not, cutscenes actually add to your overall time in the mission.

Watching cutscenes during a mission will almost certainly kill your chances of obtaining an S-Rank, so skip them all. This is another reason why you should never try to get S-Rank the first time you play a mission.

Speed is Essential
Now that we have the two most basic things aside, you should know that there are two extremely important determining factors for obtaining S-Rank. The first is speed. Going through the mission as fast as possible is the best way to get S-Rank on that mission.

For this reason, skip extra objectives and simply attempt to rush through the mission, but without getting caught. That’s where the second determining factor comes in.

Pure Stealth
This is what you want to do if you want to have an easy time acquiring S Ranks. You don’t kill anyone (stunning/tranquilizing is fine), and you don’t get caught.

You do not alert the enemies, and you do not trigger even a single Reflex mode. This secures the ‘Perfect Stealth, No Kills’ bonus which automatically obtains other related bonuses, shooting your score beyond the required 130,000.

This shouldn’t be too difficult for most missions on the second playthrough, but some missions make it nearly impossible to have pure stealth. These include the likes of Mission 11 and a few others where you must destroy enemy vehicles.

For these missions, you’ll have to be creative and come up with improvisations and unorthodox methods. An example is using supply drops to stun Quiet without her ever seeing you in Mission 11.

Accuracy is Key
Okay, sometimes you don’t want to go pure stealth-mode. In this case, you’ll have to be ridiculously skilled.

Neutralizing around a couple of dozen troops with perfect heads without missing a single shot should be enough when combined with speed to earn you an S-Rank. It’s certainly not the easiest or most efficient method, but it works for those who try them.

Always Take out Enemy Radar
Not on the S-Rank playthrough though, but only during the first playthrough. This will open up a chopper landing point right next to the area of concern in a mission.

Not only will it allow you to extract yourself quickly, you’ll also be able to deploy yourself here the next time you retake that mission, saving you from plenty of traveling.

Revisit Certain Missions Way Later
Some early missions are just too hard to get an S-Rank on at that time. If you’re facing such a problem, it’s best to leave that mission for later on when you’ve developed Mother Base further.

As you develop, you gain new useful items and gadgets that will make it significantly easier for you to obtain S-Ranking on.

An example of this is Quiet as a Buddy. With proper bonding, you can get a tranquilizer sniper rifle for her, which will make life much easier for you as she stuns enemies from a long distance away, distracting them and allowing you to complete the mission quickly.

Once you acquire this rifle for her, use this to your advantage by backtracking and doing earlier missions.

Don’t Get too Predictable
Enemies in Metal Gear Solid V are adaptive, meaning they’ll recognize a specific tactic if you’re using it too often.

For example, if you’ve been conducting missions during night time regularly, enemies will soon start wearing night-vision goggles, making it ineffective to venture in the dark. Another example is enemies acquiring helmets if you’ve been a head hunter for a while.

For this reason, you need to change it up. Just because one certain tactic allowed you to get an S-Rank in one mission doesn’t mean it will work the same in another.

Mix it up to keep the enemies confused, and use your knowledge of the mission’s setting and environment to tackle it in a unique manner. Yes, it’s easier said than done, but after obtaining a few S-Ranks through careful analysis and planning, you’ll get the hang of it.

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