Rarely has a Metal Gear title wandered off into another direction that is not stealth. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance turns the whole premise of Metal Gear on its head. This time instead of silently making your way through war zones while using your wits, your let your blade do the talking.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has quite a bit of history behind it. Initially developed by Kojima Production Metal Gear Solid: Rising was canceled in 2010 because of the difficulty they had in designing an action game that is based around cutting. Shortly after Kojima ask Platinum Games to make this game and if not for them this game would have probably never seen the light of day. Platinum games is the company responsible for titles such as Mad World for the Wii, Infinite Space for the DS, the classic action shooter Vanquish, Bayonetta 1 and 2, as well as Anarchy Reigns and The Wonderful 101 which we have covered here on Rice Digital. This new version which we have today was titled as Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is over the top in cheesiness and it definitely took me some time before I could get into it. It’s hard to take the plot and characters seriously, but after some time I grew fond of the characters and the inherent cheesiness stopped to bug me. Speaking about the characters they are all an interesting bunch from the scientist called doktor, to a senator, to my favorite a robot wolf ally. As you might come to expect you can call these characters and have a chat whenever you want including during the hectic boss battles. These kinds of chats can give you more information about the whole world or even help you with hints during boss battles.
You play as Raiden, a pretty infamous playable character from Metal Gear Solid 2. This time he has a sharp blade, cyborg body and his trusty stiletto heels. If you ever played Ninja Gaiden in your life, well that’s pretty much what you can expect here since you are a cyborg ninja.
Aside from standard attacks Raiden can perform a ninja run. This makes him dash as well as automatically jump over any obstacles he may find in his way. Because of this platforming parts of the game can be a bit imprecise. This is mostly due to the sheer speed of Raiden and his auto jumping capabilities, he is pretty likely to jump when you don’t want him to. The game has no block but there is a parry system. In order to parry you need to push the analog forward and press attack at the same time.
The highlight of the game is cut mode. By holding down a button you enter cut mode and can freely aim where you want to cut, during this time is slowed down in order to make things easier. Cut mode allows you sever enemy’s arms, legs on any type of scenery for that matter, which allows for a great tactical advantage.
The main concept of the game is Zandatsu a powerful move that instantly replenishes your cut meter while at the same time fully healing you. In order to do this move you need to weaken an enemy, enter cut mode and then cut a highlighted part of his abdomen where his fuel cell is located. Raiden will then proceed to consume this fuel cell replenishing his energy.
During the game you will pick up different items some serve as an extra life, other can be used for hiding or give you a ranged attack. Unfortunately this can be abused by opening the codec window saving and then loading. Once loaded you won’t be placed where you saved, but instead at your last checkpoint with all the items you collected while you saved. The game also features an upgrade system where you select cyborg part upgrades and gain stat boosts, such as more HP or new moves.
A surprising thing is that this game does allow you to use stealth in some sections, but the game seems to heavily discourage it. While it may help you to quickly get rid of one or two powerful foes, its way to easy to get spotted. There are also a couple parts of the game where a civilian is being bullied and you must rescue him before he is killed. The trick here is that if the enemy sees you they will shoot the civilian, meaning you must plan out your attack and strike quickly and silently. While really enjoyable these areas are totally optional.
Areas are basically arenas, which you are locked into until you kill all enemies. If you try to wander off without killing everyone you will encounter a well-positioned invisible wall notifying you to go back. This unfortunately makes the game even more linear than it already is.
Bosses are the highlight of the game both in style and in gameplay. They are usually multiphased and require you to use your cutting technique in order to hit their weak point or defend against incoming projectiles. Some of these battles even require use of a specific item in order to be able to hit. My only gripe was with the last boss, which was aside from being quite awkward was one of the most cheap boss battles I had in my life. When the boss landed a hit Raiden would be sent back into a fire pit that would inflict even more damage and stunning me in the process allowing the boss to take out my entire health bar in a single move. Making the battle worse was the fact that this was playing on Hard and I had no healing items since I used them up on the previous two boss battles just right before this one.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is very short. It took me just under 8 hours to complete, of which probably an hour to two was spent on the final boss battle alone. But the game offers a ton of more to do. All the items you unlocked during the game can be viewed in the main menu with some interesting things such as concept art and photos of the developers. There are also a ton of hidden things to find such as posters of girls where you have to cut up parts that conceal the picture, the previously mentioned saving civilians and MIB, men in boxes which you must locate. You can also try your luck at the unlocked AR missions, which will put your skill up to the test. Finally you can try to beat specific missions again in order to maximize your rank. The game encourages multiple playthroughs so going through it again at a higher difficulty is a nice way to see how good you are.
You will pass through a variety of locations throughout the game and these include sewers, different types of cities and bases, huge buildings, as well as the top of a train. Just like all Metal Gear Solid titles this one pushes the system to its limits. The graphics are superb and some of the best seen this generation.
Voices are great for the most part, but there are characters whose voices just come out sounding totally out of place. In one mission you meet a kid with an awful Guyanese accent, which is probably the most annoying voice acting I have heard in my life. Raiden also goes through puberty a couple of times during the game where his voice becomes instantly gruff, but this somewhat fits in with the plot so it’s a minor complaint.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is an enjoyable title, but may not be what the fans of the series were expecting. While short in length, there is a lot to do after you complete the game. I’d strongly recommend this game to any fan of hack and slash games such as Ninja Gaiden, Devil May Cry and Bayonetta. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is available for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, and has a PC version on the way.