With It’s been a long time since Metal Gear Survive came out, but it marks the end of one era and the start of another. In video games, Metal Gear has been unique for almost 30 years. In 1987, Hideo Kojima, a young designer, came up with the idea for the series. With the exception of a few exceptions, Kojima has been in charge of each game through the years. Kojima and Konami, the publisher of Metal Gear games, broke up at the end of the development of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain in 2016. The two have since broken up.
So, as Metal Gear moves on from the events of Kojima, Konami has released 21 official Metal Gear games in the United States, and I took the time to rank them from worst to best. This is because the new game, Metal Gear Online, doesn’t have any connection to the long-running story of Solid Snake, Big Boss, and the nuclear missile robots for which the series is named. I didn’t play the Metal Gear Online games because they were only available in the U.S. as bonus modes or on discs with other games. I also didn’t play the games that never came out in the U.S., such as Metal Gear Arcade.
Metal Gear game: Big Boss!
METAL GEAR SOLID MOBILE (MOBILE/N-GAGE, 2008)
“You know what would make Metal Gear Solid even better? Having more weapons.” Nobody has ever said, “No one has ever played it on a numeric keypad!” You have to give a little credit to the developers who had to work on this project that didn’t make them happy. They were able to put together something that looked like the skeleton of a PlayStation 2-era Metal Gear on phones (and, for some reason, on Nokia’s N-Gage). Besides, this isn’t a game you’d ever want to play,
METAL GEAR (NES, 1988)
Originally, the Metal Gear series was made for the MSX, a home computer/console hybrid that didn’t have very many people in the United States play at all. If you live in America, Konami made a new version of the game so that it would work on NES. It was a smart business move in and of itself, but Konami did not do it right. They kept almost all of the parts and mechanics that were in the original MSX game, but they completely rearranged the layout of the Outer Heaven fortress where the game took place. This is how it worked: It was a mistake for the developers to remove the sense of fairness and balance that Kojima’s team had worked so hard to put into the MSX version of the game.
There is a bad version of a good game as a result. It doesn’t include the final fight with the huge Metal Gear. Many people don’t like that it doesn’t include that (instead, you blow up a defenceless computer like the tough guy you are). But the NES game’s biggest flaws are more pervasive and more subtle than those of the N64. During the game, the enemy line of sight is broken, and patrols are rerouted in the new level layouts. This makes it much more difficult for the main character, Solid Snake, to move from screen to screen without causing an alert on almost every one. This is a risk that the MSX version of the game only used in the most difficult parts of the quest. On top of that, the radio communication system gives out clues that the new layouts make wrong or irrelevant. A good thing this mess was made from the parts of a great and new game, because Metal Gear would have been dead in the water right now. Kojima has said this is his least favourite Metal Gear, and we think we agree with him.
METAL GEAR SOLID TOUCH (IOS, 2009)
A lot of game companies around the world started getting into iOS gaming in the early days. They didn’t know what to do or how to make money there at the time. Kojima Productions came up with a way to get rid of Old Snake. They put him in a shooting gallery based on Metal Gear Solid 4. I think it’s… okay. Insignificant, pointless, and boring. But not offensive. (It doesn’t matter, because it doesn’t work on iOS devices now.)
METAL GEAR SOLID 4: GUNS OF THE PATRIOTS (PS3, 2008)
When the high-definition consoles came out, the Japanese game development industry had a hard time adapting. This made it hard for the workflows that had worked well during the PlayStation and PS2 era to work. There was no way for Kojima Productions to get away from that bullet. Its first HD game, Metal Gear Solid 4, was late, over budget, and didn’t have many of the features it was supposed to have. Players would have to come up with new strategies quickly because of the dynamic environments and constantly changing battlefields. The groups that Snake could work with or betray Nowhere to be found. It instead had a stifling, linear design with a lot of underused mechanics. This was a big step back from the immersive jungles and mountains of Metal Gear Solid 3’s Metal Gear Solid 4.
It didn’t help that MGS 4 also had to be the end of the story of Solid Snake and the Patriots, which was a loose story that Kojima didn’t seem to want to finish on his own. He said he was done with the series in each Metal Gear sequel, only to come back in when his successors asked for help and asked for his help. Kojima’s hero, J.J. Abrams (Alias, Lost), is a big fan of his, so he made a lot of movies like this one. It was both disappointing and hand-waving, just like with Abrams’ movies. Do you remember hearing someone say that there were no machines? All of this led to a game that didn’t have many interesting ideas, but instead relied on your happy memories of the previous games in the series. This is what Snake should have been.
SNAKE’S REVENGE (NES, 1990)
The NES version of Metal Gear sold so well in the U.S. that Konami made a new game just for the U.S. without Kojima’s help. In the end, there is a weird offshoot that mostly plays like the original Metal Gear, but also tries to mix 2D side-scrolling platform action with stealth mechanics. It’s weird and ugly and messy, but it’s not as bad as people think it is. Metal Gear 2 was a great game, so that’s good.
METAL GEAR SOLID: THE TWIN SNAKES (GAMECUBE, 2004)
People who made this Metal Gear Solid remake for the GameCube didn’t seem to care about the things that made the original game good, like how well it worked on the NES. The same thing happened with the first Metal Gear game. Silicon Knights, the company that made Eternal Darkness, took a lot of mechanics from Metal Gear Solid 2 and put them into its predecessor. In doing so, the company broke the balance of the game’s difficulty. It turns out this game is a lot easier when you can use first-person aim.
And don’t think the story got away with it. Ryuhei Kitamura, the real-life movie director who made Godzilla: Final Wars, made cutscenes for The Twin Snakes that were very action-packed. Those looked cool as hell, but the script didn’t like them at all. They betrayed everything that made Snake so interesting: his world-weary cynicism and the fact that he knew that he couldn’t do everything. Metal Gear Solid on PlayStation may not look as good as The Twin Snakes, but it’s still a better game than The Twin Snakes by far.
METAL GEAR SOLID: PORTABLE OPS PLUS (2007) – 65
As soon as the news came out that Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops was coming out, fans were excited! It was one of the few games that felt like it could have worked on a bigger system. Afterward, Portable Ops Plus for the PSP came out as well.
A lot of people didn’t like this because it wasn’t a full game. A lot of attention was put on online play. It was more of an expansion than a sequel. That was good, but it made it hard for the game to match up to the Metal Gear Solid games that had come before it.
Metal Gear Acid 2 (2005) – 80
Despite getting good reviews, not many people thought Metal Gear Acid would lead to a sequel. Once again, this game was made for the PlayStation Portable. It was a turn-based card game, and the story continued soon after the first one.
This time, the Solid Eye, a PSP add-on, made a big difference. It let you see the game in a new way, giving it a more realistic and unique feel. That was part of what made this version get better reviews than the one before it, because this one was better than the one before.