Standard Controls


The PlayStation 2 controller

These are the controls for the game.
  • DIRECTIONAL BUTTONS: Slow (and silent) movement
  • RIGHT ANALOGUE STICK: Change Camera Angle
  • TRIANGLE: Action
  • SQUARE: Use weapon
  • CIRCLE (O): Punch/confirm
  • CROSS (X): Crouch/crawl (hold or tap twice)/cancel
  • R1: First person view
  • R2: Equip weapon
  • R3: Change camera
  • L1: Auto aim/Look through certain weapons
  • L2: Equip item
  • L3: Interrogate while holding an enemy
  • START: Survival Viewer
  • SELECT: Codec
  • To exit the current game and return to the title screen at any time, hold down all the shoulder buttons, START and SELECT simultaneously.

Camera and Changing Views

  • The camera can be shifted with the right analog stick, and pressing it down (R3) will hold that position. In Subsistence, an optional third-person camera (switched to with R3) is available;
  • If you walk into a wall and hold that direction Snake will press up against the wall. Doing this will automatically adjust the camera to allow for the best view of what is behind the corner. Press R2 or L2 to peek left or right (if you are near a corner, Snake will peer around it, however, doing so will reduce Snake's camo index to 0%;
  • Pressing R1 switches to first-person view. This allows you to see from Snake's perspective, although you cannot move whilst in first-person view (you can shoot, however);
    • Note that when in crawl spaces such as air ducts or long grass the camera automatically switches to Intrusion view, though in these situations you can move around;
    • Whilst in first-person view, press R2 or L2 to sidestep left or right, or press both together to stand on tiptoes. Doing this next to the a door allows Snake to open it a crack and peer through;
    • At some points in cutscenes, when you see the "R1" prompt, you can press R1 to enter first-person view and view the action from Snake's perspective (sometimes there is no prompt). You can also press TRIANGLE to zoom in at any point in a cutscene.

Specific Maneuvers

Basic Actions

  • Walking/Running - Move the left stick to walk or run, depending on how hard you press it. Using the left stick whilst pressed against a wall will make Snake slide along it. Note that when using the left stick enemies can hear your footsteps. To keep your feet silent you can...
  • Sneaking - Sneak with the D-pad. Snake will move slowest with this (though still faster than guards in a normal state) though his stamina consumption is higher, as would be expected of one when one is being cautious.
  • Crouching/Crawling - X controls Snake's vertical movement. When stationary, pressing it causes him to crouch, whilst holding down it makes him go prone. Likewise, when at a crawl, briefly pressing X makes Snake raise to a crouch, whilst holding it makes him fully stand. Whilst running, press X to roll forward; this allows Snake to leap over or across obstacles, or knock down guards in your path;

Specific Actions

  • Knocking - Whilst pressed up against a wall, press O to knock on it. This will make a noise to attract nearby guards;
  • Climbing - Pressing TRIANGLE in front of ladders or trees will make Snake climb up, and pressing it in front of boxes (or other waist-high surfaces will make him climb atop them;
  • Lockers/Stalls - Lockers and bathroom stalls can usually be opened by standing in front of it and pressing TRIANGLE, though for some you will have to use force;
  • Hanging - TRIANGLE is also used to hang from railings or branches. Press X to drop from them (knocking out any unfortunate enemies below). If there is an another guard underneath, pressing TRIANGLE again at the right moment of falling will cause Snake to grab on as he falls (provided they are not too far below). Press TRIANGLE to pull up or the left stick to shuffle left and right. You can use R1 to go into first person view whilst hanging, and R2 and L2 will make Snake raise himself up slightly.
  • When in water:
    • Treading - Use the left analog stick to move Snake around on the surface as he treads water. You can only shoot whilst in the water;
    • Diving - X or O will make Snake dive beneath the surface. Press it underwater to make him swim forward;
    • Surfacing - If you need to surface quickly, repeatedly press TRIANGLE to rapidly rise upward. However this can also be done by using first person view to look up and press X or O.



  • Punch-punch-kick - Press O to punch. Press it three times in rapid succession to perform a punch-punch-kick combo. Pressing it with a weapon equipped (unless that weapon is a CQC capable weapon) will make Snake attack with it;
  • Firearms & Explosives - SQUARE fires any gun. If the gun is an automatic, Snake will continue to fire as long as it is held. Press it lightly to aim. With handguns, pistols and sniper rifles, which are not automatics, you need only hold to aim and release to fire (release the button lightly to release the aim). Press SQUARE to also throw a grenade (the strength of the throw is proportional to the strength applied to the button), or plant claymores or TNT (press O to detonated planted TNT);
  • Non-firearms - With other weapons, such as the handkerchief, the cigar gas spray or the knife, press SQUARE to use them. In the case of the latter, a light press will make Snake slice, whilst a hard press will result in a stab, which is a one hit kill;
  • Targeting - You can run with your weapon pointed forward (lightly holding SQUARE), so press L1 with minimal pressure and use the left analog stick to strafe;
    • Aim in first-person view by pressing SQUARE with R1 held will make Snake shoot from his side;
    • Pressing L1 with some weapons such as assault rifles with both SQUARE and R1 held will allow for an aim from the shoulder using the sights, which is useful for picking out guards from farther away;
    • With sniper rifles or rocket launchers, you will automatically switch to first-person view when they are selected. Press L1 to look through the sight.

Firearm tricks

  • Shoot a guard in the hand where his primary weapon is held (such as an AK-47) to disarm him. This will not work if the enemy has his secondary weapon, such as the pistol, in his hand;
  • You can shoot at an enemy's radio to stop him calling for backup if you are seen and the alert phase is triggered;
  • Provided the enemy does not see you, pressing and holding SQUARE (or lightly holding down SQUARE with a weapon other than the handgun) to aim whilst close enough behind his back will hold up the enemy. If successful, Snake will shout "Freeze!" and the guard will do so, holding his hands up. If first person view is used and the gun is pointed toward the guard's head, they may give up their items, such as ammunition for weapons;
  • Whilst pressed up against a corner, press SQUARE to leap out with a weapon to shoot guards. First person view is very useful in these situations. Grenades can also be used during this action.


Use of CQC is only possible with no weapon selected, or a weapon compatible with CQC (indicated by a red CQC in the item window).

  • Slam - When running up to an opponent, pressing O and moving the left stick in any direction near the opponent will result in Snake slamming them into the ground. It is an instant KO, but it's loud and any nearby guards will come investigate the sound.
  • Throw - With an enemy in a chokehold, press O and the left stick in any direction to shove an enemy to the ground. Press SQUARE straight after to hold them up and keep them in check (obviously, in this state, they can't see your gun, so if you want to frighten them into giving up items, you will have to shoot them in the back or above their head, as aiming will not be enough);
  • Chokehold - Holding O will grab and keep an enemy in a chokehold. Press O in rapid succession to choke the enemy. If done several times, the enemy will be stunned, but if you continue pressing O, you can break the guard's neck, which is a quieter alternation than slitting his throat. You can move in this state if the enemy is stunned in your chokehold with the left stick, dragging the enemy with you;
  • Slit Throat - When you have an enemy in a chokehold, press O firmly to slit an enemy's throat;
  • Human Shield - With an enemy in a chokehold, switch quickly from O to SQUARE to aim a gun and use the enemy as a shield. You can also interrogate an enemy even if the gun is pointed forward;
  • Interrogate - With an enemy in a chokehold, press L3 to threaten a guard. Hold it and the guard may reveal valuable information.

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