Preteen girl looking at a cell phone with her parents

Family movie night? There's an app for that

Download our new mobile app on iOS and Android.

Parents' Guide to

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain

By David Wolinsky, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 18+

Violent, mature, powerful game on grim realities of war.

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 23 parent reviews

age 14+

Who knows? Not me. We never lost control, your face, to face. With the man who sold the world.

age 16+

Words that kill

If you are easily disturbed by war, murder, violence and other topics, this isn't your game. This game is poetry, and it uses it's elements to tell an amazing anti-war and anti-nuclear story that rivals the likes of 1984, and Citizen Kane. It's also only as violent as you are, a point that truly makes you think of your moral actions.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (23 ):
Kids say (49 ):

This is an exceedingly massive and ambitious game that can seem daunting with its scope but ultimately provides more and more wrinkles on the same basic action. Unlike previous entries in the series, Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain is truly an open world that you're free to explore and play in as you see fit. You're encouraged to play as stealthily as possible and avoid detection to successfully complete your missions; if you try to go rushing into bases and outposts with guns blazing, you'll frequently be gunned down. It behooves you to take your time, use your binoculars to study guard patterns, and notice all the possible ways infiltration could backfire. It might sound repetitive, but it's exciting and so challenging that it feels as if you're given more and more chances to prove your skill, not your patience.

Thanks to this being an open-world video game, you can evacuate wild animals, gather resources, and grab audio tapes (both for intel purposes on missions and also just to listen to music). There's also your burgeoning base to defend and explore. The more people you recruit out in the field (by "fultoning" them, or parachuting them into the sky for retrieval by plane), the more weaponry, gear, and items you can craft for yourself. This sparks a constant tension between these two open worlds. What do you want to do? How would you like to do it? These are the questions the game asks, and then it gets out of the way and lets you enjoy. It's a great title that asks a lot of thought-provoking questions, but it's definitely for mature audiences only.

Game Details

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate