Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Developer: PlatinumGames | Publisher: Konami Digital Entertainment | Release Date: 2003 | Genre: 3rd Person Action / Hack & Slash | Website: Official Website
Raiden’s first appearance in Metal Gear Solid 2 didn’t exactly win the character many fans. His return as a cyborg ninja in Metal Gear Solid 4 did a lot to raise coolness quota and actually earned him a shot at his own game. Unfortunately the game was cancelled due to the inexperienced team struggling to fully capitalize on the sword based gameplay. This would have been the end of the story if it wasn’t for Platinum games, developers of Vanquish and Bayonetta stepping in and offering their services.
The first thing to realize about Revengeance is that if you are expecting stealth based gameplay like you are used to in the Metal Gear Solid games then you are in the wrong place. Raiden can sneak up on enemies for a ninja kill and skulk about in a cardboard box if you wish, but this is not what the game is about and attempting to play it like Raiden is Snake will just end in tears. Just give one of Raidens’ comrades a call while inside a cardboard box to hear their opinion on a highly advanced cyborg ninja hiding from enemies in a box.
Storywise the game is set four years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4. Raiden is now working for a private military company called Maveric Securities and comes to blows with Desperado Enterprises who seem to have their own agenda. In typical Metal Gear tradition the plot involves lots of talk about war economy and politics, but Raiden’s main concern is saving some orphans from a very tragic fate. It’s not the deepest or most engaging story I’ve seen in a game, but it does provide ample of excuses for running around and cutting enemies into bacon thin strips.
If you have played games like Devil May Cry, Ninja Gaiden or indeed previous Platinum Games hit, Bayonetta, you will know what to expect from Revengeance. Raiden is armed with an extremely sharp blade that can slice through practically anything. Until the novelty wore off I was running around levels, slicing up cars, pillars and any other bit of scenery that was within striking distance while marveling at the way it all fell apart. Unfortunately to manage this technical feat the objects disappear soon after being sliced up and the levels are a bit on the bland side most of the time. On the upside this ensures that the framerate remains at a solid sixty frames per second.
The bulk of the game consists of combat with the many enemy cyborgs that stand between Raiden and his goals. You have a weak and strong attack that can be used to soften up enemies before going in for the kill with “blade mode.” During blade mode time slows down and you can slice and dice enemies using the right analog stick. This means you can cut off limbs, lob off heads and slice enemies in half in glorious slow motion. Most enemies are not quite human, but there are still a lot of blood and fluids spraying all over the place. If you are accurate you can slice open an enemy and then rip out their electrolyte filled spine to replenish your own health and fuel. The combat doesn’t feel quite as fluid as some of the other titles in the genre that I have played, but it is no walk in the park either.
Instead of blocking you have to master the art of parrying which requires pressing the left analog stick in the right direction and pressing attack as soon as an enemy lunges at you. If done correctly, you will parry their blows and can move in for some strikes of your own but if botched you will take damage and more than likely have to waggle your analog stick to get rid of a stun which is pretty annoying. Not everyone is going to be fond of this system, but it does provide a nice challenge and prevents you from simply wading in with sword flailing.
Raiden can also perform a “ninja run” by holding down the right trigger and this is handy for traversing obstacles quickly and avoid gunfire. Unfortunately the camera often struggles to keep up with the action which can make things a bit disorienting. You will face off against a handful of bosses and true to Metal Gear tradition, these guys and (girl) have their own larger than life personalities. The battles are challenging to say the least but once victorious you will gain access to their weapons which you can then add to your own arsenal. Only one unique secondary weapon can be used at a time, so unfortunately you can mix and match your combos like in DmC. You can upgrade Raiden between missions using points earned in battle which opens up new moves, but there is only something like seven missions in the game.
While many of the levels are rather bland offices and warehouses you do encounter the occasional awesome scene such as a Japanese garden complete with pagoda and cherry blossoms. The second half of the game feels rather rushed, however, and culminates in the mother of all boss battles which is sure to frustrate some players. While the game is on the rather short side you can pad out the experience with virtual reality missions that are unlocked by discovering hidden laptops during the story mode.
The voice acting is pretty good and Quinton Flynn once again reprises his role as Raiden. If you were expecting cameos from past Metal Gear Solid characters you are in for a disappointment as only Sunny makes her appearance during a few cut-scenes. Raiden has a new crew backing him up over CODEC including Boris, Keven, Courtney and Doktor. These guys have a lot to say, but you usually have to call them and initiate the conversation to hear it which is perfect for people who complain about too much talking in games. Personally I enjoyed calling them up for a break in the action and to hear some of their views on what is going on. The music is just as great and consists of the typical orchestral tracks mixed up with some fast paced rock tracks complete with lyrics. These will really get your heart rate up during the boss battles and suite the action perfectly.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is not without its faults, but as far as spin-offs go this one is pretty good. Platinum games did a good job with the license and really did justice to the character and setting. There were a few areas where it felt like content has been cut, but the game has plenty of replay value if you really want to master the combat system. If you just want to rush through the story mode, then I suggest renting the game as you will be watching the credits in less than ten hours (probably half of that if you skip all the cut-scenes.) If you want to go for all the achievements then you better brace yourself for one heck of a challenge.
*Review originally published in 2013*