Hideo Kojima is more than just a video game designer. He refers to himself as an auteur and essentially handles nearly every aspect of every project that he's ever worked on. Some might refer to it as micro-managing, but we prefer to look at the results rather than what led up to it and, boy, has Kojima given gaming audiences some of the most memorable video games in history.
With that said, we've decided to round up some of the most notable Hideo Kojima games ever released, ranking them from the worst up to the very best.
Do you know the best way to anger the Metal Gear fanbase? Tell them that the Metal Gear franchise is a diamond in the rough. Admittedly, the hatred and bashing you'd receive is well-deserved. After all, the Metal Gear franchise is widely regarded as one of the most influential if not popular stealth-action games in video games in history. Or, as Kojima himself liked to refer to the series' genre, Tactical Espionage Action.
Of course, while that might be the reputation of the Metal Gear series now, that wasn't necessarily the case way back in the 1980s.
The first-ever Metal Gear game, which was released in 1987 for the MSX2 before being ported over to other platforms such as the Famicom, was very much an unpolished gem and is difficult to go back to, even for hardcore fans. It wouldn't be until later on that Hideo Kojima would find his footing, or to so speak, and establish the foundations of the highly-praised franchise.
We get it. You love Death Stranding. The only problem is that there are probably just as many people who found Death Stranding unappealing as there are that loved it. This isn't to say that Death Stranding was a bad game. Rather, it was just different and that's necessarily a bad thing.
Heavily anticipated for years before its release and at, one point, rumored to be the next Metal Gear game in disguise, Death Stranding boasted an all-star motion capture cast that included the likes of Margaret Qualley and Mads Mikkelsen, with Norman Reedus playing as the porter and the game's protagonist, Sam Bridges.
As is expected from a Hideo Kojima game, critics fawned over the game's visuals, narrative direction, and voice acting. However, a lot of gamers found the actual gameplay itself to be too slow of a burn for them to slog through.
Written and directed by Hideo Kojima himself, Policenauts released on the PC-9821 in 1994 as a pixel art drama that starred an astronaut who found himself waking up after spending years in cryosleep to a space colony. Soon after, he goes on an adventure to try and investigate who murdered his ex-wife, which later took a turn for the worse as he finds out more about organ traffickers that he must now take out.
Policenauts' cinematic potential and clever blending of multiple genres was its strength. Unfortunately, just like Death Stranding, the slow pacing was ultimately its downfall. It doesn't help its case that many of its elements, like sexism, hasn't aged particularly well.
Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake
Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake was probably what helped give Hideo Kojima the fuel he needed to keep going and create the Metal Gear franchise as we know. Even though it was only released in Japan with a separate exclusive Western release that Kojima never really worked on, Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake still garnered a lot of rave reviews after improving on every detail of the original, from its gameplay to its storyline and art.
Most people only got a chance to play this 1990 title following the re-release of Metal Gear Solid 3 decades later, but the fact that a lot still found it a good game is a testament to just how timeless this classic is.
As much as Policenauts is relatively unheard of, it's probably a game that's been mentioned now and then when talking about Hideo Kojima. Snatcher, on the other hand, is a much more obscure release that never even got an English version because of how little sales the game got in Japan and how few people ever bothered to play it.
Despite all of this, Snatcher has gained a bit of a cult following as fans took their time in coming to appreciate how good Kojima's take on the cyberpunk genre was and still is.
Metal Gear Solid 4
Metal Gear Solid 4 provided a fitting if a bloated end to Solid Snake's tale.
Set five years following the Big Shell incident, Metal Gear Solid 4 takes an aged Solid Snake as he plans to take out his evil twin brother, Liquid Snake, once and for all before he can enact his plan to take over the private military companies scattered all over the world using the Sons of the Patriots AI system.
Rightfully, Metal Gear Solid 4's narrative came with a ton of praise. The only problem was that the game probably had too much story to tell. In fact, Kojima wouldn't have been blamed if he had split the game into two, if only to cut down on the estimated 9 hours worth of cinematics that Metal Gear Solid 4 had.
Arguably the worst of the numbered Metal Gear Solid games, it sort of makes sense that Metal Gear Solid 4 never found its way to other platforms outside of the PlayStation 3. Still, despite remaining a PS3-exclusive all these years, Metal Gear Solid 4 remains just as worthy of your time as the other Metal Gear Solid games, especially if you want to properly say goodbye to Solid Snake.
Metal Gear Solid 3
Prequels are a finicky thing. They're nearly impossible to get right. Just take a look at how universally panned the Star Wars sequels were. However, of the many prequels to have released in many media over the years, Metal Gear Solid 3 stands as one of the few to actually get things right, as it puts players in the shoes of the Big Boss.
Kojima's meticulous nature really shone in Metal Gear Solid 3. Throughout the game, it's clear that the auteur took his time developing Big Boss' journey. Throughout the course of the game, Naked Snake goes from FOXHOUND operative, who's sent to take out his former superior, The Boss, to the legend worthy of becoming the genetic blueprint for the Les Infants Terribles project that later gave birth to Solid Snake, Liquid Snake, and, later on, Solidus Snake.
In addition to Naked Snake's journey, what really stood out from Snake Eater is its rich jungle environments and its audio track. Not to mention, the bosses were just perfect for the game with its fair share of signature Kojima cheekiness.
Seriously, where else can you find a game with a boss fight that would literally end just by waiting for the boss to die of old age?
Metal Gear Solid V
If Snake Eater told Naked Snake's journey from FOXHOUND operative to the legendary mercenary commander, Metal Gear Solid V took players behind the scenes to explain exactly why and how the Big Boss built his private army.
If we're being honest, The Phantom Pain's story was the least crazy of all of Kojima's games. Most of what transpired in the game is quite believable. This includes the more controversial ones like how Quiet had to wear scant clothing so that she could breathe through her skin like a plant. However, despite a less narrative-heavy plot, The Phantom Pain was still very much a Metal Gear game, except that, this time around, it was at its most ambitious yet, gameplay-wise.
The Phantom Pain was the first true open-world Metal Gear game ever to be released. As a result, the game was able to offer endless possibilities on how players could tackle the different missions in the game. It wasn't just whether you wanted to harm no one or wanted to kill everyone. The game literally let you handle things however you wanted. Plus, with the base building mechanic from Peace Walker, it was awesome seeing all of your efforts come to life in The Phantom Pain.
Perhaps the only reason why The Phantom Pain doesn't rank any higher is because of just how good the other two games above it are, and its incomplete nature.
Metal Gear Solid
1998's Metal Gear Solid for the original PlayStation remains a testament to how a 3D game released in the late 90s can remain playable to this day. Sure, the graphics haven't aged well, but the gameplay remains top-notch. Not to mention, at the time, everything about Metal Gear Solid was groundbreaking, from its fully voice-acted cutscenes to its story, tight tactical and stealth action, as well as its graphics and level design.
We do admit that the original Metal Gear Solid feels pretty bare all things considered. You can't peak around corners, nor roll around, or even aim in first-person. Yet, all of the things that it lacks don't detract from the experience at all.
Besides, nothing really ever compares to how Kojima tricked gamers into thinking that Psycho Mantis could read their console's memory card.
Metal Gear Solid 2
Some games are a product of their time. Metal Gear Solid 2 is a good example of that.
Metal Gear Solid 2 was originally released for the PlayStation 2 in 2001. During this time, humanity had only begun to discover what they could do with the internet. Kojima used this to his advantage to tell a relatable, but still very much Metal Gear tale, that involves a harrowing look at the devastation that this newfound power can accomplish in the wrong hands.
Of course, a great narrative experience isn't enough to land the top spot on this list. Thankfully, Metal Gear Solid 2 delivers on this end.
Taking cues from Metal Gear Solid, Metal Gear Solid 2 polishes its gameplay to add several features that made the game all that more memorable and immersive. This included the ability to interact with your environment as Metal Gear Solid 2 lets players hide enemies inside lockers and shoot radios so they can't ask for help.
All in all, Metal Gear Solid 2 was and still is the definitive Metal Gear Solid experience. This probably explains why Konami is rumored to be working on a VR version of the game.