The controls for Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots are as follows.
- Left Analogue Stick - Move Character, Choose item/weapon from menu
- Right Analogue Stick - Move Camera
- L1 - Aim (See Below)
- L2 - Toggle item equip
- Hold L2 - Show Item Menu
- R2 - Toggle Weapon equip
- Hold R2 - Show Weapon Menu
- R3 - Center Camera
- Start - Pauses game
- Select - Explains your control scheme. Can be changed to show Codec Menu instead.
Aiming Controls: Firing and Movement
To aim your weapon you use the L1 button. To perform the following actions you must keep the L1 button held down.
- R1 – Fire Weapon
- R2 - Secondary Fire (only on certain weapons)
- R3 – Switch shoulder, when in Over the Shoulder view
- Up - Zoom In (In First Person View when using a Sniper Rifle)
- Down - Zoom Out (In First Person View when using a Sniper Rifle)
As you can now move whilst aiming some other moves have been introduced.
- Left Analogue Stick - Slower movement when going forward and back. Strafe when moving left to right.
- Left Analogue Stick + - When forward, left or right rolls in the direction. When backward a small jump is performed.
Use of CQC is only possible with no weapon selected, or with a weapon compatible with CQC (indicated by a red CQC in the item window) selected. The controls for CQC are generally identical to Metal Gear Solid 3, albeit with updated buttons (e.g. what was O is now R1). There are also several new maneuvers:
- Slam - When running up to an opponent, pressing R1 and moving the left stick in any direction near the opponent will result in Snake slamming them into the ground, rendering them unconscious;
- Grab - Holding R1 will grab and keep an enemy in a chokehold. Hold R1 firmly to suffocate the enemy. You can move in this state with the left stick, dragging the enemy with you.
- Disarm - Press R1 for a grab. The moment Snake goes for the hold, press it again to disarm the enemy. Be careful not to press too soon, or Snake will simply punch;
- Throw - With an enemy in a grab, press R1 and the left stick in a direction to shove an enemy to the ground;
- Ground choke - Pressing X with an enemy in a grab will cause Snake to kneel with the enemy. Straight afterward, re-press R1 with forward and Snake will suffocate the enemy on the floor;
- Slit throat - When you have an enemy in a grab, press Triangle to slit an enemy's throat;
- Human shield - With an enemy in a grab, switch quickly from R1 to L1 to aim a gun and use the enemy as a shield. With L1 pressed, there is no need to hold R1; use R1 for shooting;
- Search/Crotch grab - After you have held up a target (L1 behind him), move in front of him and lower your weapon. This will initiate an action prompt; press Triangle to pat the enemy down for items. If at any point you see an exclamation point as an action prompt, press Triangle again and Snake will squeeze (possibly releasing an item). The final prompt causes a squeeze to his balls, knocking the enemy out for a short period of time. The final squeeze will not work on a FROG (Outer Heaven Trooper) and can be highly hazardous and detrimental to your playthrough if you try it on one of them. You can also pat an enemy down for items when they are on the ground.