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Side Ops Explained and How to Unlock them

Side Ops Explained and How to Unlock them

In The Phantom Pain, Side Ops are smaller missions with one or two objectives. They are more often than not involve smaller or lighter tasks such as eliminating certain targets, rescuing survivors, recruiting soldiers, tranquilizing animals and sending them back to base.

Side Ops are presented on a list separate to the main missions. There are only a handful of them early on but they will pile up quickly as players progress through the game.

Unlike main missions, Side Ops do not have mission areas, they are more like quests that you find in an RPG which can be tackled any time. They can even be accomplished at any time as long as they're within the boundary of the mission space.

How to unlock

Some will unlock naturally as you progress the main missions whilst some can only be unlocked by discovering trigger actions. For example one Side Op requires Snake to capture a translator. It's not until players hold up a guard to try and interrogate them that the Side Op unlocks.

The process of recruiting the translator is also pretty cool, players have to use the directional microphone on their scope to find a guard that speaks both Russian and English, then snatch him away using fulton.

Another good example is Side Op 145 which is unlocked early in the game randomly by accident. Other Side Ops are unlocked by specific characters that you interact with during the game.

Others have prerequisites before they can be completed. For example the mission where Snake has to destroy a battalion of tanks, he needs to use explosives such as C4. In this case another Side Op is required to unlock explosives in the first place to make this mission achievable.

With so many Side Ops available and many different ways to unlock them, unlocking all 150 is not a walk in the park!

Side Ops are some of the best

Although side Ops may seem smaller and at time sillier, some of the most impressive missions are actually Side Ops.

Prioritising Side Ops will provide many benefits for main missions such as translators, new tech and weapons - which are valuable tools only obtainable through Side Ops. New tranq darts, bionic arm upgrades and equipment are just some of the rewards for these missions.

Furthermore, Side Ops are not ranked like main missions, giving players the chance to experiment without worrying about obtaining an S rank.


Here are just a few examples of the rewards from Side Ops

  • Bionic arm upgrades - after rescuing the scientist
  • C4, Rocket Launcher and other new explosives
  • New buddies
  • Weapon development - after rescuing the gunsmith
  • Translators
  • Surprise story episodes

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