We often recommend products we like. If you buy anything via links on our site, we may earn a small commission.
One of the greatest video game franchises of all time is Metal Gear. Hideo Kojima found a way to make a video game feel like an intense action movie in a way that still hasn’t been captured in any other series.
Not only is Metal Gear an amazing series, but it’s also incredibly long-running. It’s been around since the NES era and it ran all the way through the Xbox One and PlayStation 4.
The series has all sorts of spinoffs, but today we’re going to focus on ranking the mainline, canonical games from worst to best. Each and every one of these games is good in its own way, but only one can sit atop the Metal Gear throne of awesomeness.
9. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes
While Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes features the same gameplay as the full Metal Gear V, the reason it’s at the bottom of the list is because it’s really just a demo. You get to explore a base and sneak around, but to call it a full game is a bit of an insult to the rest of the games on the list.
8. Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake
This is the sequel to the original MSX Metal Gear, and it’s a decent enough game. The original is definitely better, but this one expands on the first one in some notable ways.
7. Metal Gear
This is the first Metal Gear game, and while it’s nothing like the games from the Metal Gear Solid franchise. It’s on the MSX, so it features top-down gameplay and simple graphics. It doesn’t have the 30-minute cut scenes for which Metal Gear is known, but it still has plenty of weirdness for fans.
6. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker
Peace Walker is the only PSP game that isn’t one of the spinoff games. It’s a mainline Metal Gear game with all the trappings of those that appear on the big consoles. It’s not the best game in the series by any stretch, but it tells an interesting story that fills in some gaps left in other games.
5. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater is a fantastic game, though it can be called a little tedious with some of the mechanics it introduces. If it wasn’t for the annoying mechanics in the gameplay, it would probably be higher on the list, because it’s one of the best Metal Gear stories every written.
4. Metal Gear Solid
This is the game that redefined the franchise from the NES days. It went from a top-down game to a 3D game, and it did it masterfully. This is where we really got into the craziness of the Metal Gear story, which ultimately became the thing that brought Metal Gear to prominence. It’s the game that truly showed what cut scenes could be, and you could argue that it has inspired generations of story-based games.
3. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
Choosing between this and the original Metal Gear Solid was incredibly tough. They’re both fantastic games with insane stories that hit all the right notes for fans of the franchise. Ultimately, the more modern gameplay offered in MGS4 ends up putting this one just ahead.
2. Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain
Metal Gear Solid V is one of the most enjoyable open-world games ever created. The mix of stealthy gameplay, crazy Metal Gear story, and large open world to explore all come together to create what is definitely the most fun game in the series. While the gameplay is a huge departure from what we’re used to in Metal Gear, there’s more than enough weirdness in the story to keep old school fans happy.
1. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
For me, no game in the Metal Gear franchise is better than Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Not only is it my favorite game with Metal Gear in the title, but it’s actually my favorite game of all time, regardless of franchise. Everything about MGS2 is fantastic, from the story to the gameplay. It still holds up today, so if you haven’t played it somehow, you can totally go back and give a run for its money.