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If you've played Metal Gear Solid 2 then these controls should be mostly familiar to you. The sheer amount of controls may appear intimidating at first, but with practice you will become more skilled.

Standard controls[edit]

Control Action
Neutral lstick Moves Snake around. The further you move the stick, the faster Snake moves. Keep in mind that running will make more noise than walking. While crouched, this will cause Snake to crawl. Again, the faster you move, the more easily the enemies will be able to see you. Move slowly to avoid detection.
Neutral dpad Causes Snake to stalk slowly. This is even slower than walking with the left stick, and uses just as much stamina as running, but enemies will never hear you approach even when you're just inches away.
Neutral rstick Pans the camera. In Overhead mode (default), this will shift the camera in any direction. In 3rd Person mode (Subsistence only), this will rotate the camera.
Cross button Crouches/stands up.
Cross hold Goes immediately to prone position or back to standing.
Circle button Executes CQC/melee attacks.
Circle hold CQC hold an enemy / Use enemy as a shield. Also drags incapacitated enemies; allowing you to hide them.
Square button Fires your current weapon, throws food/grenades/empty clips, places TNT/C3/dirty magazines.
Triangle button Your all-purpose Action button. Climbs trees and ladders, jumps up small ledges (when next to them), surfaces while underwater, adjusts sniper scopes, uses mounted weapons, and opens lockers and trapdoors.
R1 button Enters First-Person View. Also works during some cinemas (when the R1 button icon appears).
R2 button Hold to open the Weapon Menu. Press to equip/unequip the last weapon you had out.
L1 button Generally serves as an "aim" button while in first-person view. Serves no other purpose, and unlike MGS2, will not automatically lock on to targets.
L2 button Hold to open the Item Menu. Press to equip/unequip the last item you had out.
R3 button Click the right analog stick while holding it in any direction to lock it in place. Click again to unlock. In Subsistence, pressing R3 button will instead toggle between Overhead and 3rd Person camera modes.
L3 button Sends out a ping whilst Active Sonar is equipped.
Start button Brings up your game menu. (Allows you to change camoflage, access your backpack, edit options etc.)
Select button Opens the codec screen.

Advanced controls[edit]

Control Action
Neutral lstick+Cross button Dodge roll. This will knock over any enemies in your path and allow you to jump over any traps in the forest section of the game.
Neutral lstick+Cross hold Dodge roll into a prone position.
L1 button+R1 button (Close to the enemy) Holds enemies up whilst behind them; or in front of the enemy before an alert phase has been triggered. Aiming at the enemies face or crotch whilst holding them up will cause them to shake, dropping items.

Close quarters combat[edit]

During CQC, hold Circle hold

Control Action
Neutral lstick Drag the enemy. Causes the enemy to fall unconscious.
Triangle button Cuts the throat of the enemy that you're holding.
Circle button Tap multiple times to strangle the enemy. (Lethal)
L3 button Hold to interrogate the enemy. (Useful for finding Codec codes that end alert phases or locations of objects such as additional camoflage.)
R1 button Aims your gun whilst using the enemy as a shield. This prevents the enemy soldiers from firing at you; though some of them will melee the enemy soldier out of the hold.
R1 button+Square button Fire your equipped weapon.