From the Ether: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review

[Author's Note; This review was originally done for another website that I was writing for and has been recovered through the magic of the internet. The review was originally posted on July 30th, 2013] I was one of many who found Raiden to be a whiny effeminate vagina in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Imagine my surprise when he came back to fill the shoes of the late Gray Fox in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots as the latest cyborg ninja. My opinion was instantly turned on it’s head at the site of him slashing up 4 story tall unmanned robots and going toe-to-toe with the seemingly unkillable Vamp.

So needless to say, I was quite excited to get my hands on the game that would feature Raiden in the main role in his new cyborg…threads? Metal? Anyway, the Xbox 360 version of the game I originally purchased sat in it’s case for some time until after the announcement of the Xbox One, at which point I returned it to GameStop and swapped it out for a PS3 version. I had just beat Metal Gear Solid 4, and was ready for the next chapter in Kojima-San’s world of psychos trying to keep the world in a constant state of chaos.

You take the role of Raiden who is now a member of a security outfit called Maverick and you are charged with protecting an African peace ambassador. To get the plot going, this goes awry, and you are immediately thrust into a battle with Raiden’s old nemesis, Metal Gear Ray. From here, the balls to the wall action never lets up.

Graphically, the game is pretty, roughly on par with it’s predecessor. I did find the mouth shapes and movements to be a bit comically over-sized with some characters, namely the final boss. It’s a small gripe for an overall pretty game.

The control scheme is fairly straight forward. The camera will wind up being one of your greatest enemies on the other hand. While moving around and employing your ninja run to traverse obstacles is fast and fun, the camera tends to center on Raiden’s back. This makes it very difficult to keep track of enemies around you during combat.

Getting out of the typical stealth mindset of your standard Metal Gear fare is a must for this game. The few stealth sections it does have are either stupidly easy, or stupidly easy to get caught. Your stealth kill entails you somersaulting over an enemy and plunging your blade deep into their soft tissues. Depending on the room, this saves you from combat or immediately has a dozen enemy soldiers converge on you en masse.

The combat, however, is great hack-and-slash fun, but depending on the enemies can, again, be stupidly easy or frustratingly difficult. As you progress in the game and get more damage, health, and energy upgrades, enemies that were a challenge in large groups early on get cut down in 4-5 combo hits toward the end. However the bigger cyborgs you encounter, especially when they throw 3-5 of them at you have grab attacks and undodgeable swings that will easily cut a third of your health down. Which leads me to one of my biggest gripes about this game.

Lack of a dedicated dodge button. The only defensive skill you start with is a parry which can be fairly easy to exploit when you have many enemies in front of you, but doesn’t do a damn thing when you have a large group surrounding you. You can eventually buy a skill that is a “dodge slash” which can be effective, but you have to press two buttons simultaneously for it to work, and when you’re in the middle of a combo it doesn’t always do so.

The second biggest gripe I have with the game is the “Blade Mode”. This was the largest touted feature of the game and one that many reviewers thoroughly enjoyed. The theory is that you can cut at any angle and slice your enemies into ludicrous gibs. In reality, you only slice once or twice on the smaller enemies or during a zandatsu phase for the bigger ones to get to the enemies spine to absorb the electrolyte energy stored therein. For me, it was a massive pain in the ass in many cases to cut at just the right angle to get to said spines and many times, especially in the VR Missions, I wound up missing and dying or restarting from my last checkpoint.

This is made even more frustrating with the forced Blade Mode sections. There are two bosses in the game that require that you use Blade Mode to defeat. One is easy to avoid, one you cannot avoid it at all and the game is VERY unforgiving if you are even just 1 degree off the trajectory at which they want you to slice. I HATED Blade Mode and if there is a second game in this spin-off lineup I certainly hope it gets more refined.

On the upside, the game is very fast paced, and this includes the story. While I felt the story was good overall, the character development was very lacking. I failed to listen to many of the codec conversations simply because it never occurred to me to do so until I was halfway through the game and saw that there was a trophy/achievement for listening to most of the codec conversations.

The new direction of this Platinum Games developed Metal Gear definitely shows potential. I could give a full recommendation if not for the Blade Mode sections that (for me at least) need some serious work.

With the price point at time of writing being $39.99, it’s a definite pick-up for any Metal Gear fan. Chances are if you are a Metal Gear fan you already have it and bought it at full retail, much like I did.

Overall, I give this game a 7/10. The Blade Mode was way too frustrating, and camera issues coupled with the lack of a dedicated dodge button were detracting but the story and fun normal combat helped me see it through to the end. You’ll clock in a story mode run at 5-7 hours depending on your skill level and there is massive replay value in going through to collect the left arms of enemy commanders and the VR Mission mode of which you unlock in the story as well.

If you like hack-and-slash action games, at least give this one a rental.

Game – Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

System – Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 [Reviewed], PC

Developer – Platinum Games

Publisher – Konami