Metal gear Rising: Revengeance is available for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, but for the purpose of this review was played on the Playstation 3 on normal difficulty.
There was much excitement from simply knowing the fact that another Metal Gear title was approaching. Metal Gear has a history of providing great memories for many gamers and this is something that was expected of from Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. With Konami sitting back as producer and allowing Platinum Games to run wild, it has produced a game that is now ready to be unleashed onto the world, a game that reintroduces the world to a familiar character in the Metal gear Series. Yes, that character is Raiden, but this isn’t the Raiden everybody has seen before. This Raiden is a changed character, and it is most certainly for the better.
Metal Gear Rising is entirely focused around Raiden and his story four years after the events in Metal Gear Solid 4. Raiden is working for the Private Military Company, Maverick Security, and the story kicks off from there. Raiden has become a much stronger character than before and throughout the game you continue to build and develop his character by unravelling more of the game’s plot, as well as Raiden’s involvement in it all. In what is unlike previous Metal Gear titles, the plot isn’t a complex structure that Metal gear fans might have become accustomed to, however, there are moments that are questionable and may need an additional run or two through the game to get your head around. Overall it feels as though you are playing within an ultra-high budget action movie including the blockbuster finish. This isn’t a bad thing however, it is packed full of explosive and intense moments that definitely provide great entertainment.
For those who were concerned about losing out on all that was good about Metal Gear, fear not. After spending a bit of time in the world of Metal Gear Rising, it soon becomes apparent that there is plenty that will remind you of the Metal Gear everybody knows and loves. This initially starts with the game’s overall appeal which seems to be an enhancement of the presentation style of Metal Gear Solid 4. In addition to this, alert phases (complete with the “!” sound effect when spotted) make a return but don’t necessarily effect the game in a major way. In Metal Gear Rising you are free to play it safe with a bit of stealth, but you may soon scrap this idea when it becomes obvious that it’s simply more fun to hack away at the enemies with Raiden’s super sharp blade rather than prance around in the background. This doesn’t mean you can’t make use of cardboard boxes or barrels if the opportunity presents itself. We cannot leave out one important feature that has been with every Metal Gear Game since the beginning. That’s right, codec calls are back, and it just wouldn’t be Metal Gear without them.
Platinum games have really left their mark in this game, especially in the combat department. The combat in Rising doesn’t try to be like any other game but still features the basic mechanics that are commonplace in hack and slash titles. Light and heavy attacks are at your disposal as you would expect and can be used in a number of ways to chain together combinations that have both elegance and flair, and of course, look awesome. This is thanks to the smooth, effortless animation in Metal Gear Rising. No matter the number of enemies, or how hard you are hammering on the controller, Raiden will continue to glide spectacularly around the screen.
There is a warning to be had for those expecting this to be a walk in the park. Those who are very much familiar with action games, Metal Gear Rising will still provide a bit of a challenge, even on the normal difficulty. The more battle-ready fans will most likely head straight for the hard difficulty, and this will definitely be an ultimate test of a player’s skill and determination. On the normal difficulty, which was played for the purpose of this review, you will still require a bit of skill to overcome your foes. Enemy attacks vary greatly and their attack patterns need a bit of patience to figure out and counter. You could simply hack away at an enemy but you may be left on the ground if you’re not careful. Taking care of the enemies in an effortless manner can certainly be considered an art form, if handled correctly. This art form is better known as ‘parrying’ within Metal gear Rising and you will have a chance to do so when the enemy is on the attack. Time this parry correctly and you’ll immediately hit back on the counter attack, but if your parry is even slightly off, you will simple block the attack and push the enemy back. This will take some time to master, but will save your bacon on plenty of occasions.
Let’s not forget about the one thing that really makes this game different from the rest, other than being a Metal Gear game. When Kojima Productions first revealed this game as Metal Gear Solid: Rising, they introduced the world to the precision cutting mechanic. When they could no longer develop the idea and handed the reins to Platinum games, it managed to remain within the game as one of the key features. This cutting mechanic has been shaped into the blade mode which is used to make precision trims. You will be given the chance to use blade mode when there is a brief slowdown of the game, at which point you can hit R1 and use either the analogue sticks (left stick for aiming and flicking the right stick to cut in a specified direction) or the Square and Triangle buttons for horizontal and vertical slicing for quicker effect. The Zan-datsu is another feature you will have the pleasure of experiencing during the blade mode. During blade mode, successfully slide through the indicated red target square and then hit circle once prompted, and you will rip out fuel cells from within the enemies. This is a great way to keep Raiden’s health and fuel level topped up, allowing you to use those recovery items for saving you from the jaws of death in a boss fight or against a powerful enemy.
Metal Gear Rising provides its own system of Battle Points for use in purchasing or upgrading various items. This includes purchasing weapons, which can be unlocked and purchased after defeating bosses, to upgrades that can be made to Raiden’s cyborg armour suit. As well as this it is also possible to make enhancements to Raiden’s high frequency blade. The most common way to obtain Battle Points is simply to progress through the game and obtain the best rank in each section of the game. The highest obtainable rank is an S-rank, but that is only reserved for those who are able to master the combat and make easy work of the various enemies metal gear Rising has to offer, which really isn’t as simple as it sounds. These enemies range from standard cyborgs that use swords or rifles, to heavier infantry units that specialize in sword or hammers and even mechanical dinosaur-like opponents.
Still on the topic of enemies, the game boasts a great line-up of bosses. Each boss is unique and adds a different flavour to the mix with every new encounter. The bosses have been designed and created to feel very different from one another and have depth to them that continues to fuel the fire in the game’s narrative. What’s most important about these boss battles is how enjoyable they were, with no two bosses being any bit similar to one another. Coupled with this is the challenge that they provided, they weren’t too easy or overly difficult, but enough of a challenge to make for a great set of battles that did great justice to the characters Raiden fights in them.
What really provides the killer blow in these battles is the music that accompanies them. Platinum games have done a great job with the dynamically changing music tracks that seamlessly shift as you progress. It is great to see this sort of attention to detail put into the game’s audio as without this sort of musical work, Metal Gear Rising simply wouldn’t be the same. The progression of audio is what adds the intensity to the boss battles. The same can be said for the rest of the music in the game, with smooth transitions from light background music to the up-beat sounds when engaged in warfare, and also the detail in the sound effects that provide an atmosphere that is nothing short of flawless.
For everything that was good in this game, and there is plenty of good, there are a few small negatives about it too. Parrying is all well and good, but as it is your only defensive capability, it is something that needs to be learned quickly. Having another defensive move other than the parry would be extremely helpful as the parry can only do so much for you. There were moments throughout the game where a dodge mechanic would have been extremely helpful. For example, an enemy cyborg is readying up an attack, but a parry can’t be performed because your attack animation is still playing. Due to this, you take several hits from the enemy, and if it happens to be a group, you take a lot more damage. Having a dodge in that situation would minimalize any damage you might take by escaping from danger before heading back into the fray. There be an upgrade that unlocks a dodge-like move, but it did not appear during the time the game was played.
There may also be an issue of the game being considered be some a little too short. It took around 4 hours and 49 minutes of game time for Metal Gear Rising to be completed. However, this does not take into account the overall time you spend playing the game. Atsushi Inaba, Producer of Metal Gear Rising, did clarify via twitter about this time tracking system. He mentioned that cutscenes are not at all included. Second, it only counts the quickest time it took from checkpoint to checkpoint. The amount of time that was actually spent playing Metal Gear Rising; Revengeance for this review was between 6 and 8 hours.
A final thought on Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Don’t go into the game thinking you know what to expect, because this is unlike any Metal Gear game you have ever played before. It does have many features you will find familiar from previous titles, but the focus is now on action rather than stealth and it is refreshing. The game itself plays superbly and is incredibly smooth with the only real issue being that the plot feels like an action movie. However, even then it still manages to entertain and is definitely an enjoyable journey. Raiden, or ‘Jack’, has grown to become a character many now respect and even love, and this is the game that confirms just how badass he really is. Platinum Games could have done it all so wrong but instead, they bring to the world a game that any Metal Gear fan can be proud of.