Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

8.5 Overall Score

Risky and Ludicrous Story | Fantastic Soundtrack | Fast, Fun Combat

Short Campaign | Quick Time Events Can Be Frustrating | Parry System Feels Broken

Written by on February 19, 2013 in [, , , , , ]

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has had a somewhat troubled development history. Initially shown at E3 2009, Metal Gear Rising was only teased by Hideo Kojima. After not hearing anything about the game for a fairly large period of time, however, it seemed as though the game might have been cancelled. Indeed, internally at Kojima Productions, work on the game had supposedly ceased. However, in 2011 it was revealed that Platinum Games (makers of Bayonetta) were taking over the game’s production and taking it in a new direction, with a new storyline and new gameplay style. With a game with such a tumultuous past, can Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance really live up to the series’ huge history?

Revengeance takes place a number of years following the events of Metal Gear Solid 4. Following the destruction of the Sons of the Patriots system, the demand for private military corporations has dropped significantly. Following a brutal attack from a mysterious new PMC, Raiden, perhaps the most controversial video game character of all time, is nearly killed and loses a number of his limbs. After he is rebuilt, he goes on a bloody quest and uncovers a massive new plot which could send the world spiraling back into massive war.

The plot itself is no goofier than most of the storylines in the Metal Gear series. At times, characters’ motivations are questionable and by the end you may wonder exactly what everything you just fought through was for. However, it does set itself apart from almost every major game set in a modern era in one simple regard: it’s willing to take a massive risk and use actual real-world events.

For those unfamiliar, Metal Gear Solid 2 was dramatically re-cut following the events of the September 11th attacks in the US. So it’s a surprise when the game, by name, mentions 9/11, Iraq, WMD’s and the “War on Terror.” It feels like it’s taking a genuine risk in tying real world events into a game series like Metal Gear and honestly, it feels like it should be applauded for it. Yes, there’s cheesy dialog and bad one-liners but there is an actual sense that Platinum Games wanted to make this game relate more to the real world than most games. Even many modern military shooters use fake countries in order to avoid any offense, but Metal Gear Rising actually talks about war with Pakistan at points. It’s a chance that Platinum Games, Kojima Productions and Konami was willing to take and they should be praised for it in that regard.

That said, the actual characters in the game are almost beyond cartoonish. Raiden consistently growls through all of his lines in a way that would embarrass Christian Bale’s Batman. Other characters are completely over the top, and this is from a series that has a man who punches electric bullets into people. It’s actually a joy to watch and feels like Platinum Games has put their stamp on the series.

If you’re wondering why the game is called “Metal Gear Rising” instead of “Metal Gear Solid,” it’s mostly because this game almost completely ignores stealth, in favor of using Raiden’s new cyborg body to tear through his enemies. The game is a third person action game which works fairly smoothly. Most of Raiden’s maneuvers leave you feeling very powerful and being able to slice through waves of fodder enemies is a lot of fun. The game adds in the occasional challenge by throwing in a Gekko, the more mobile Metal Gear introduced in MGS 4, or a new mech suit which can easily beat you down if you’re not careful. These add a bit more challenge to the game but once you’ve fought one, you can easily pick up on the best pattern to defeat them.

The stylized nature of the combat allows you to do all sorts of crazy things. One maneuver allows you to spin around on the ground while chopping through enemies. When you find yourself fighting a Gekko, you can grab them and literally throw them in the air. It’s a game that screams style in these combat scenarios.

One major part of the combat system is that you can press the L1 button to go into “Blade Mode.” This will slow down time and allow you to make precise cuts through enemies. It also allows you to rip out their spines and absorb their energy to refill your health. Nearly every enemy is a mobile health unit, so if you get surrounded you can easily recharge. Plus, it’s extremely satisfying to completely dismember your enemies.

It’s only when you fight the game’s incredibly difficult bosses that the cracks begin to show themselves. One unfortunate thing that the game has going for it is its reliance on quick-time events. While some of these rival even the most insane sections of Asura’s Wrath, when you actually are in combat and you have to wiggle one of your analog sticks in order to get out of a stun animation, it can become incredibly frustrating. This is compounded by the fact that sometimes this simply doesn’t work. You can easily get caught in a lethal combo attack by one of the game’s bosses. The somewhat broken parry system doesn’t help either. When you need to counter an enemy attack, you move the analog stick and press the attack button. However, if you don’t time it just perfectly, you’ll run into an enemy attack.

Despite these annoyances, there’s an incredible satisfaction in beating down the late game bosses. Following many of the fights, you will have huge quick time events which can be anything from slicing someone into hundreds of pieces to doing something Metal Gear fans have wanted to do since Metal Gear Solid 2. Platinum Games’ style is on hand for everyone to see.

The game runs extremely smooth as well, allowing for combat to flow easily. There are only a few areas where the frame rate dips. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance also features a fantastic soundtrack filled with a ton of hard rock that is the perfect accompaniment to the boss battles.

That said, the game’s campaign can be completed in well under seven hours. It’s clear that Platinum Games wants you to go through the game and unlock all of the upgrades. Once you’ve finished the game, you can start again with all of your upgrades intact and there are additional VR missions which put you into combat scenarios with certain restrictions on your character. However, unless you are a huge fan of the combat, you’ll likely be finished after a single run through.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a game that fans of the Metal Gear series may have been fairly worried about. While there are some troubles with the game, it’s a totally new direction for the series and feels like it could be spun off into a whole separate franchise. While Platinum Games doesn’t take the series as seriously as fans may want, it feels totally unique and for a twenty-five year franchise, that’s a massive accomplishment. Revengeance takes a lot of risks for the franchise and, as a result, I’ve never been more excited to see what the future holds for the series.

A copy of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was provided to The Married Gamers for review.


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Author: Addam Kearney View all posts by

One Comment on "Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance"

  1. HCG April 27, 2013 at 12:58 am - Reply

    Well written. Thank you for posting this. I’ll definitely come back to find out more and inform my neighbors about your posting.

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