Official GAF Rankings: Metal Gear Solid series


All the votes have been tallied for the GAF Votes: Metal Gear Solid series rankings thread, so it's time to unveil the results.

The list seems to be pretty definitive, with no two entries being very close together in points. Interestingly, the MGS game that takes the #1 spot was also sold the least amount of copies worldwide of all the console entries. Whether or not the results match up with your opinion, this list represents the views of the GAF Hive Mind™ as a product of nearly 600 votes.

A more detailed look at how I tallied and scored the votes can be found at the bottom of the OP.

I was originally going to do a write-up for each game, but I figured I'd let your posts do the talking. All quotes should include linkback buttons in case you want to view that person's full post, which usually includes their thoughts on other entries in the series not shown here.

1. Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater (1890 points)

Cemented the franchise as one of the all time greats and favorites for me. Had the best story and the most emotion, the ending was unforgettable.
Perfect blend of everything that can make Metal Gear so amazing. Lots of classic moments to be found here and some great, varied environments make this the best Metal Gear Solid for me.
Awesome sandbox-stealth gameplay, great self-contained story, tons of easter eggs and fun stuff to discover. Some of the best boss encounters in the medium.
Great story. The last 3 hours of the game were better than most Hollywood movies. Best ending ever?
Simply amazing. Has the best story, top to bottom, out of any game in the series. Boss battles and just the sheer amount you can do in the game (healing, eating, etc etc) don't detract, but add to the game.
Doesn't take itself seriously with the fourth wall-breaking and the wacky cast of characters. It is amazing how a game that asks you to stalk and be patient and constantly shift in and out of menus could be so great. It is meticulous to a fault. One of the few games where you don't tell people to play it, you say it needs to be experienced.
Kojima really nailed it with the open environments and eating mechanic. Although it was a pain to open the menu continually, I thought the whole concept was really immersive. The most fun I've had with the franchise.
Because seriously, who didn't tear up a little at the end?
An affectionate tribute to James Bond, Rambo and the Predator films, with some outside-of-the-box boss battle designs such as The End. A touching finale too.
Easily the best story in the series. Everyone already knows how great that ending is, so I won't go on about it, but everything else leading up to that point was amazing too. I really loved the camo and survival elements introduced. Plus The End battle blew my fucking mind at the time.
Just an incredible, brilliant game. 8 years later and I'm still learning new tricks and details. It's the biggest, most open ended and content-packed game in the series by a huge margin (and the only one you can't finish in an hour if you skip all the cutscenes). Probably the only MGS game where I was completely satisfied with the whole package in the end. Unlike the others, this doesn't feel like they trimmed the game around the story and they finally take full advantage of the game's design potential.
I feel the game could stand alone and still be amazing. The fact that it is a prequel doesn't hurt it at all. Everything about the relationship between The Boss and Snake is moving, I loved being able to sneak around a Russian jungle, I didn't hate the way one went around getting the bonus stuff, and I enjoyed using the various camos in the game. Also loved the Guy Savage mini game.
This game is awesome. I thought it would be weird using camo, but man I love it. I love crawling through grass and either sneaking by unseen, or taking out whatevers in my way silently. No MGS game comes close to how awesome an experience this was!
From the closing scene, Big Boss’ salute has entered video game culture as a symbol of a masterpiece. Before this game was released speculation was rife. Was this Snake in VR with Raiden interfering? Was it literally a dream? No this is “OO Snake” Once ‘Operation Snake Eater’ begins; the pace builds up excellently and naturally. Whilst not as fresh or revolutionary like the first game, nonetheless 3 seems to have the greatest balance of weapons and environments. It also helps that the game doesn’t take itself too seriously, having a Major who goes on about a snake shaped gun that'd distract enemies, a save-buddy who goes on about swamp people, having an intelligence officer who goes on about a “huge pile of crap, … shaped like a giant tank, and goin' on a rampage and stomping' on people and houses and stuff. And this giant turd is carrying the nastiest missiles you ever saw. Like whenever it launches one of its turd missiles... whatever it hits - people, trees, buildings - turns into shit.”
The best pure game in the series. The depth of the level design and versatility of methods available to the player make it nigh-infinitely replayable.
The controls are a little clunky but it's the closest thing we've had to MGS1 since the 90's. Awesome scenario, soundtrack and level design. That said, I do think it was a bit too drawn out and that the script needed editing.
This game will always live on as one of the greatest gaming experiences I've had the joy to play. From a well told story to working out that Snake was Big Boss from MGS1 as soon he got shot in the face. Some memorable boss battles, different ways to kill The End, the fantastic showdown between Snake and his Mentor then the final scene in the plane with Ocelot. I don't think another game can come as close as this to gaming heaven on the Action front.

2. Metal Gear Solid (1296 points)

My first Metal Gear game and left a huge mark on me as a gamer. It came out of nowhere for me, and I only picked it up off of word of mouth from a couple of my friends at school. Amazing, amazin game.
Still the most polished game of the series, MGS3D might take its place if it resolves the problems with the UI
The one that started all for me. Some of the most memorable boss fights ever.
You cant beat the original. It had such a unique feel and atmosphere, great gameplay for its time, and memorable boss fights and characters.
The absolute best. The gameplay was perfectly dialed, the story was complex but not totally insane and fairly grounded in reality (except for Psycho Mantis).
Best MGS and likely one of the greatest games ever made. Fantastic script, brisk pace, great hero-villain story dynamic, memorable characters and lines (Snakes dont belong in Alaska), and a superb score. Really it pains me to praise this game so much, only because of how downward everything went after this.
Great game with the most grounded plot, nice twist, best boss characters and satisfying end.
Chock-filled with classic moments, from "A Hind D!?" to "Let me delve deeper into your mind." The difficulty curve was well plotted too, due in no small part to the way it metred out access to rooms, weapons and items.
First game I've ever played that really gave me the feeling of playing a movie, mainly because of the strong story aspects, voice acting, and cut scenes. The game was simple to get into gameplay-wise and made me a fan of stealth games. It was a new experience for me although English isn't my native tongue(No English education in Elementary only middle school), I had tons of fun playing and learning English at the same time (using a dictionary while playing). This game had a huge influence on my life, it made me not afraid to tackle other heavy text games like RPGs and such which actually made me excel in my English studies.
I played this when it came out, and I wish I could see my face then. From Psycho Mantis reading my memory cards, and making me switch controller ports, to the torture scene impacting the ending, I was engrossed. Loved the story, the characters, and like MGS2, I did everything this game had to offer. Still a great game today!
It’s the character of the game, the CHARACTER that makes it so good. No other action game has such an original cast. This was the game that developed their origins the best. How many other bosses can you name from other action games, seriously? You’ve seen a big guy with a Gatling gun before, but not one with a raven tattoo that comes to life, you’ve seen a duel before but not one where he asks his opponent not to use the auto-shoot button "I'll know", nor have you seen a ninja that seems to get an electrorgasm from being continuously punched in the face. Most importantly this game turned a cardboard box into a symbol of valour...!
The gameplay and story are refreshingly simple compared to what followed. (I don't love stealth gameplay, but the radar made things relatively simple.)
The purest, most honest, most straightforward game in the series. It's easy to see how this inspired a generation of gamers and game makers, and Kojima hasn't made another game quite like it since.
The gameplay is antiquated but the scenario, soundtrack, set pieces and level design are gaming bliss in my eyes. Everything is so well thought out and executed.
I played this game hundreds of times and listened to every dialogue I could find. It was the love of my life as a teenager.
I have played every game in the series countless times, but the first one continues to impress me the most to this day. The impact that this game had upon release can't be understated, and I still feel that it's the best in the series. The writing and voice acting arguably peaked with MGS1, with its tightly paced plot of espionage, action sequences, and some of the most memorable boss fights in gaming. The soundtrack is also something that I think sets MGS1 apart. The music in every Metal Gear game is fantastic, but the soundtrack in the first game so perfectly matched the decidedly dark, gritty atmosphere that Shadow Moses conveyed. MGS1 was the product of Kojima at his best: working within the perfect amount of constraints.
The story will never be matched later in the series because this one was the first to blow my mind.
A truly iconic game. I feel MGS3 has surpassed it, but MGS1 remains a must-play to this day.
The "pure" Metal Gear experience in a lot of ways. Unfettered by canonical baggage.

3. Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (1025 points)

Loved 60fps. I enjoyed the stealth gameplay quite a bit in this one. The story was hilariously out there. There were some low points, but I liked this one quite a bit.
Was the first Metal Gear I played from start to finish, instant classic.
It is one of the biggest troll jobs ever committed and I love it. The entire ending section is so batshit crazy that it transcends any issues with pacing or requirements for actually making sense. Also, Raiden is a perfectly fine character and Snake is probably a more interesting character as an NPC anyway.
The controversial one that seems to have gained esteem in the last years. The story goes all over the place and shifting the focus from Snake to Raiden was a bold move, but I feel it paid of in the end.
Just the way the story weaves from Snake to Raiden to the mindwarping end makes it the most memorable for me.
Love everything about this game, the visual style, story and gameplay. To me there is nothing else quite like it. All the twists and turns and mind effing, I really hope Kojima takes the series into this direction again.
It is a flawed masterpiece - some great themes and ideas (that resonate especially well today - such as memes) with some really shitty plot developments. I actually really liked Raiden, so haters can suck it. Solidus was BOSS. Also ambitious as fuck, so I always appreciate that in a video game.
When I first played it, I didn't know what to think and felt betrayed when I was suddenly having to play with this new guy. As time went on I started to realize and accept the brilliance of the story decisions and how Kojima refused to give us more of the same, and instead took massive risks that I felt paid off beautifully. I also love the art direction and general aesthetics of the game.
Love it or hate it, it pushed the boundaries of video game storytelling pretty damn far.
A graphical benchmark at the time, especially since it was running at 60FPS. I loved the resulting slickness of Raiden's flips and vaulting animations, and the two conjoined hexagonal oil rigs gave the game an easily recognisable sense of structure.
Probably a top 5 of all-time for me. Proof of what Kojima can do when he disregards everything the fans of a series want and just does his crazy own thing. Absolute brilliance from top to bottom, I don't think I'd change a single thing about it.
Everything about it blow me away at that time, The music, graphics, boss fights, multiple ways to tackle each encounter, and crazy story were all top notch. I probably played the demo for more than 30 hours alone. Its actually the only game that I played through multiple times during one week. One minor issue, the ending was a convoluted BS but the final boss fight was great. I haven't played it since and I'll probably not like it as much as my 14 years old self. :p
The most thematically brilliant, subversive story in the series. The plot itself was nonsense, but irrelevant. It explored the relationship between the actor and player expectations, media manupulation, social conditioning and memetics in a way that would have been impossible in anything other than a videogame. Lacks the scale of 3, but makes up for it in it's varied, almost puzzle-like gameplay. 60fps is awesome too.
The most interesting story of any title in the series, the intellectual zenith of Kojima's career and a significant footnote in the still-young history of games as a medium for artistic expression. Oh, and the game's pretty darn fun too (DEM DOGTAGS).

4. Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (612 points)

Huge amount of tactical options, but only 2 acts out of 5 really use them. Varied settings and situations. Manages to tie up all the loose ends but some characters are given way to much screen time (Meryl, Naomi, ...). Mandatory install between atcs is a pain in the ass, no trophies, disappointing bosses for the most part.
Some hate it, but I don't.. More action based than other entries. I liked the varied locals.
Everything was remarkable. What a way to tighten everything up and finish the plotline.
Excellent gameplay and art direction, the character designs in particular were amazing. Really enjoyed the story and how it went into all sorts of directions, not just tying lose ends but also introducing new angles and themes (the PMC theme was very cool I thought). The music in this really adds to the whole experience, especially the Old Snake theme and that middle eastern sounding one (with the lady singing). Old Snake and Raiden are Amazing characters, very ballsy takes on leads for sure.
MGS3 was about nature, 4 was about the unnatural. Camouflage is no longer a selection system but an automatic one. The Cobra unit from 3 were a bunch of old soldiers who went into battles with sophisticated weapons and had primitive emotions defining them, only truly alive in battle. The BB unit from 4 were literally sophisticated weapons with basic emotions only giving them the pretence that they might be alive underneath their battle suits. This game was great because it was about how a new age of twisted technology was destroying the age of old heroes that we saw in MGS3. All the best parts; a crummy robot being used in a Metal Gear face-off, the illusions of Octopus, the mid-battle resurrection of Vamp, the microwave scene… well these are all about Snake against technology. Raiden upstaged him, pulling off impossible stunts but losing his humanity, even Johnny is beginning to catch up with Snake and his skill. The boss told about soldiers having undying loyalty, but even this isn’t needed with the SOP system controlling everything with Nanomachines. MGS4 is great because it goes against MGS3, as the game progresses it becomes more about being chased by robots, until culminating in a final psychical brawl between two old veterans, both fighting against the age of ludicrous technology.

5. Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (122 points)

The story isn't that great but oh god, it's so fun. I didn't think splitting the game up into separate missions or giving you a base to manage would work but it did and it was wonderful.
Loved the gameplay changes and the portable mission structure. Lots of unlockables and stuff to do. Co-op is a blast.
Story didn't do so much for me but the gameplay was good enough to keep me going for 70 hours.

6. Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (6 points)

Portable Ops didn't have any quotes for me to use. :/

Here's the total voting breakdown for those of you who want a more detailed look at the results:

1st = 5 points
2nd = 3 points
3rd = 1 point

          1st    2nd    3rd    Total Points
          ----   ----   ----   ------------
MGS1      164    200    124        1296
MGS2      108    104    173        1025
MGS3      265    156     97        1890
MGS4       37     99    130         612
MGS:PO      0      0      6          6
MGS:PW      6     17     41         122

Total Votes Counted: 580

So that's it. Now that the dust has settled and the votes have been counted, we now have an official GAF rankings for the MGS series. In the future, once this thread has been buried and forgotten, feel free to use this banner to settle any arguments that crop up in Metal Gear threads about the best games in the series.

This thread may jsut push me over the edge to get MGS 3(DS) or MSG (HD Collection)

the main question is how portable friendly would MSG3 be?

if it is a game where you can take a while to get going then I will get the Collection,
or if 30mins at a time offers enough time to progress then the 3DS version it be

HD collection comes with Peace walker yes?
This thread may jsut push me over the edge to get MGS 3(DS) or MSG (HD Collection)

the main question is how portable friendly would MSG3 be?

if it is a game where you can take a while to get going then I will get the Collection,
or if 30mins at a time offers enough time to progress then the 3DS version it be

HD collection comes with Peace walker yes?
It's a console/TV experiences 100%

Don't get them on a handheld.
This thread may jsut push me over the edge to get MGS 3(DS) or MSG (HD Collection)

the main question is how portable friendly would MSG3 be?

if it is a game where you can take a while to get going then I will get the Collection,
or if 30mins at a time offers enough time to progress then the 3DS version it be

HD collection comes with Peace walker yes?
Yes, the HD collection comes with Peace Walker. Honestly that's your best bet anyway, the games in the collection look great and they run at a glorious 60 fps. Pick up the original MGS on PSN and you're all set.

None of the mainline entries are very portable friendly because they are filled with long (sometimes very long) cutscenes.
Apparently I'm one of the few who hated MGS3. I disliked the whole camo / injury thing, didn't like the setting ( Jungle settings are the worst! ), hated the boss battles and it just didn't have the same feel as MGS1/2 for me.
That's how I ranked them so obviously I totally agree :p

First 3 games are all amazing though, I'd recommend them without hesitation to anyone who hasn't played them yet.
Good job, ScOULaris.

MGS3 and MGS1 took the 2 highest spots so Im ok with the results. Sucks to see PW so low but I know it has some very mixed opinions so I cant say Im surprised.
Sucks to see PW so low but I know it has some very mixed opinions so I cant say Im surprised.
Well, you have to look at the competition it was going up against. The voting being so varied in this poll is a testament to the quality of every entry in the series, even the polarizing ones.

When it comes to PW and PO, the fact of the matter is that far fewer people played either of those than the console releases. Then again, I still think that MGS1-4 are all better than the portable games.

Great OP, cool concept, didn't notice it before today. Please do this for other series as well soon :D
I have one planned for the near future. It will be on a slightly larger scale than this one. ;)


Blinded by the luminous glory that is David Bowie's physical manifestation.
I agree with this list. Portable OPs was bloody shit because of its controls.
Er-those same controls were basically in Peace Walker PSP. They're "action type" controls just Kojima tweaked them slightly.

Port Ops was shit because 1) the recruiting mechanic got tedious fast 2) the "gameplay" was just MGO done singleplayer, made more apparent by Plus. and 3) It was MGO done singleplayer and no one really wanted MGO on the PSP outside of MGO fans.

I really thought that MGS2 had a shot at taking at least #2 from looking at the voting thread, but I guess it wasn't meant to be.

Thankfully, since MGS2 is just a simulation of MGS1 you can add their scores together. So MGS2 actually wins!
Well at least it is settled now.

I like how it all turned out, but I cannot believe how few points MGS4 received. You can point to some flaws in the game/storyline, but it is such an epic game all around. So many things you can do. How many other games allow you to choose between full stealth and full auto or anything in between?

What official GAF ranking is next?


Unconfirmed Member
In the future, once this thread has been buried and forgotten, feel free to use this banner to settle any arguments that crop up in Metal Gear threads about the best games in the series.
This would be more irritating than the actual arguments I think.
Good to see MGS1 at least beat MGS2, but I'll never understand what people see in MGS3 over MGS1. The pacing is so much worse, and it's amazingly in many ways clunkier. Kojima created a tight, focused, amazingly paced product with MGS1 and then basically went off the deep end, getting too absorbed in his ridiculous story and losing all sense of pacing, which makes the later games a bit of a slog to play (although they absolutely all have great moments buried in there).
Sounds about right, but I still find it odd why such a limited scope. I guess I can understand leaving out non-canon games(though imo Ghost Babel should 4th on that list). Leaving out the Metal Gear games seems odd, especially with them playable in the HD collection. Metal Gear 2 is pretty much a 2D version of the PSX game. Honestly it's amazing how unappreciated those games are. They aren't even worth ranking?