How to Get S Rank in Metal Gear Solid V The Phantom Pain – The Hard Way

With Konami’s Metal Gear Solid V The Phantom Pain being two weeks in the wild there’s been countless discussions on how to beat the game’s open ended missions and obtaining the not so difficult “S” rank at the end of the mission. For most gamers, the easiest approach is to rush through the mission in the quickest time possible to gain the 130,000 minimum point requirement for the highest rank as time taken is a big factor in scoring highly. There’s not much penalty if one is quick regardless of if anyone is killed or the odd alert or two gets in the way, yet it seems for purists there’s penalty in taking ones time and sneaking about the shadows tranquillizing guards and hiding or fulton extracting away limp and snoozing bodies. However, all is not lost as the game does reward those with a guaranteed “S” rank regardless of time taken if they can sneak in and out of the missions without leaving any trace of them being there which is commonly termed as ghosting. The Phantom Pain rewards players with a “No Traces Bonus” of 160,000+ points which is more than enough to get an “S” rank at the mission end – but to accomplish this players have to ditch the offensive measures and effectively refrain from using the right trigger on the controller. Naturally there are some missions where this is not possible such as C2W which requires disabling the communications either using a water pistol or explosive. Here’s a video showing how it’s done in the Over the Fence mission and a general breakdown of the requirements. Now if you’re stealth enough, give it a go and rank up highly on the global leaderboards – which can be found under “Records” when you pause the game.

What you can’t do:

  • No Combat alerts or Alert Status
  • No kills
  • No CQC Interrogations or Attacks – Simply not using CQC in any circumstances because this drops the enemy weapon and leaves it there.
  • No reflex Mode – You’ve been spotted basically and reflex is a get out clause for sloppy play. Turn it off.
  • No right trigger pulled – simply refrain from using this button full stop unless looking at the i-droid map to zoom in. No Water pistol.
  • No buddy attacks – No cheap Quiet sniper kills, or DD attacks here.
  • No vehicle attacks – Using vehicles to attack is a no no.
  • No score altering items such as stealth camo, chicken hat, air strikes which goes without saying.
  • No re-supply requests – you won’t need resupply if you’re not using ammo any way.

What You Can Do:

You can use your bionic arm to lure enemies
You can hold up guards using the aim of a weapon and get them to lie down. If they resist you can avoid their counterattack and continue the hold up but this does raise risk of alerting other guards.
You can fulton extract guards, targets and prisoners but this does risk getting alert status if seen or heard
You can use items such as Cigar and cardboard box, however once the box is used you can’t exit the box until you finish the mission.
You can use your i-driod
D-dog can be used to highlight enemies and lure them using bark
Ex-filtrate via chopper as long as it’s not detected by enemy


Written by: Rob Cram

Rob Cram has hundreds of video game reviews, thousands of articles under his belt with years of experience in gaming and tech. He aims to remain fair and free from publisher/developer influence. With his extensive knowledge, feels his gaming opinions are valid and worth sharing. Agreement with his views are entirely optional. He might have a bias towards cyberpunk.

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