Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Developer: Platinum Games
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 (Reviewed)
Release Date: February 19, 2013
The Metal Gear series has quite a pedigree behind it. For an entire generation fans have flocked to any game with the Metal Gear name looking forward to a title that can focus around stealth and finely tuned mechanics as well as a convoluted storyline. However when Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was first revealed, Konami had quite a different game in store for fans.
After a few issues before launch and a shift to Platinum Games as the developers, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has finally come to store shelves. Now does this new action oriented title featuring everyone’s “favorite” character Raiden create a new benchmark for the Metal Gear series or should its name be stricken from the record? Let’s find out.
One of the biggest issues that players may initially have with Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is the fact that Raiden is the main character this time around. Raiden was often despaired over for replacing Snake back in Metal Gear Solid 2 but when he debuted again in Metal Gear Solid 4 as a cyborg capable of wielding a sword able to slice through thick armor; Konami saw fan reaction and managed to create an entire title around the man and from the looks of things, the company has found a new face for the series.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance takes place four years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4 and Raiden is now working as a member of Maverick Security a private military company which is currently tasked with guarding a Prime Minister of some African country. While things seem to be going smoothly at first, the caravan escorting the Prime Minister is suddenly ambushed by mysterious cyborgs that work for a company called Desperado Enterprises. While Raiden does everything in his power to try and prevent the assassination attempt, the Prime Minister is murdered while Raiden himself is left near death.
After recovering from his ordeal and being given a chance to actually prepare for combat, Raiden begins hunting down the Desperado cyborgs, including a powerful sword wielder named Sam and his comrades, the “Winds of Destruction.” However what may have been a story of revenge quickly turns into something far more sinister than simply the death of a Prime Minister and could lead to a horrible life for thousands of children and eventually a war that could cost the lives of millions of people.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance’s storyline is far from complex, at least as far as other Metal Gear games go, but this can be attributed to a number of things. First and foremost, the game’s campaign mode lasts roughly six to eight hours depending on your difficulty level and because of this many story elements are kept at the forefront for players to quickly comprehend whenever the game slows down for story development.
It is also worth noting that there is actually a Codec in Revengeance and it is highly recommended that any gamer access this Codec often. As you’re playing through any mission you will be able to call other members of your team such as Boris, Kevin, Courtney, the Doktor and others later on and each time you call them they will usually always have something new to say. Whether it involves discussing a recent event in the storyline, talking about Raiden’s current mental state or simply joking around with bits of comedy, each call can often provide a little bit of insight into the storyline.
As for Raiden himself, gamers are presented a man who initially is so strong in his beliefs but as the story advances, they witness Raiden not only undergo a number of horrible experiences but also explains a little more of his backstory. All in all, while rather short the game’s storyline is very to the point with everything and thanks to the Codec expansion, gamers may miss little snippets of conversation only to experience them on a second playthrough.
There is a certain, and probably worrisome for some who enjoy it a bit too much, in the amount of visceral action that players can experience when playing through Revengeance. Thanks to the game’s blade mode and ZanDatsu cutting mechanic, players can literally slice an enemy into a hundred little chunks and every little piece can be seen at any time.
Enemies aren’t the only thing that actually cuts to the player’s swings, even most objects in the environment will be cut to the exact line that the player is swinging their weapon. It is worth noting however that when objects are cut up into too many small pieces, the game does experience slow-down issues until the player leaves blade mode and lets the tiny chunks disappear.
As for the rest of the game, every stage in Revengeance is gorgeously designed and there is plenty of variety in-between the stages. Throughout the game players will encounter a number of different enemy types as well which help spice things up, as there may be times the player has to face off against not only basic soldiers, but gorilla-like cyborgs and even robotic dogs all in one fight. As for the named characters, they are also handled well with each boss character having an iconic look to them and a special trait that will obviously play a part in battle once the player faces off against them.
As far as voicework goes, the team voicing these characters really managed to hit this one out of the park. The voice work for Raiden is excellent and gamers who pay close attention to his voice can realize his mental shifts and growing anger with situations thanks to the way the tone of his voice shifts. As for other characters, they are given just as impressively with numerous accents and speech patterns that fit perfectly with their origins.
Slicing and dicing through a number of opponents has never sounded better with the stellar sound effects found within Revengeance. The clangs of swords clashing together or slicing through armor is a treat for the ears and all the while the game has been given an exemplary soundtrack which fits perfectly with the game’s heavy action feel. Throughout most fights and every boss fight a number of different heavy rock songs will play in the background and despite the vocals usually being lost in the mix of explosions, gunshots and slicing, such intense music paired up with action-packed fighting takes the player to the edge of their seat with nearly every encounter.
Unlike its counterparts, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a pure action oriented title that features the player entering the fray against multiple opponents at the time and unleashing high-hitting combos often culminating in multiple body parts being liberated from torso’s or tiny chunks of what used to be a cyborg left in a pile in their wake.
Combat in Revengeance is a fast paced affair but not an overly complicated one to learn. Raiden is limited to using only two weapons at any given time. The basic X attack uses Raiden’s sword to unleash quick light attacks while Y is used for stronger attacks that often do more damage but require a longer time to pull off. It is worth noting that the Y button is also for secondary main weapons, meaning that when the player equips weapons acquired from the game’s bosses, they will be used in place of the blade.
While the combat may seem easy at first, the actual intricacies of fighting can be difficult to master and mastering it is almost a necessity at times. Thanks to the fact that while there is a weak dodge skill players can learn, the best way for players to worry about avoiding damage in combat is to either run away from attacks or try to parry these blows. Parrying attacks is almost essential for most things and this is because of one thing, Platinum Games has not skimped on making Revengeance’s combat difficult.
While players have a number of difficulties to choose from, each battle in Revengeance can be tough to make it through until the player manages to master the controls, even on normal. However there are a few things Raiden can do to help balance the battlefield and both of these revolve around the game’s Blade Mode mechanic.
In Revengeance the players have the ability to feely control Raiden’s original sword and are able to slice in any direction they see fit by using the left analog stick, or basic horizontal and vertical slashes with X and Y. Weakened enemies will often appear with a blue tint and if the player has a fully charged energy gauge, they can enter into blade mode and find themselves in a state where time has slowed down to a crawl and players can now slice and dice these enemies into multiple pieces.
As the player slices through enemies, a red box will often appear that, if slashed accurately, will provide something called “zandatsu” which is a blue-spinal cord looking item inside of every cyborg that Raiden can yank out and absorb. Absorbing these blue items not only recharge Raiden’s energy gauge but also restore his health, making every enemy a potential health pack. It is worth noting that slicing incorrectly can cause the player to lose this health restoring item. Also dependent on energy is a special mode called “Ripper Mode” which is unlocked later in the game which, when activated with full energy, puts Raiden into a state where he takes less damage from enemies and dishes out the pain in larger doses. In this mode, even the most basic attacks can separate a cyborg into a hundred different pieces which is glorious looking even at the worst of times.
As you may have noticed earlier, I mentioned that the game’s length can be seen as rather short, even for an action title such as this. Clocking in at anywhere between six to nine hours, the game’s storyline plays through eight levels, most of which are quite large and culminate in an intense boss fight. However there are a number of things that pad the game’s length out a bit, such as hidden collectables including call-outs to the Metal Gear Solid series and more. Also, there is always the option for stealth in each stage, as players do have the ability to sneak around or behind enemies and execute them somewhat quietly. Of course nothing gets a fight started any better than jumping from a balcony and planting your sword into an unexpected soldier execution style, then entering blade mode and slicing him to bits before turning to his friends for more.
That is what makes Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance great. With the game’s intense and fast-paced combat system and brutal blade mode, every battle is a thing of beauty. Even though the game may clock in under you’re expected time limit, you will look at your total play-clock and be amazed that only that much time has passed. Revengeance is an absolute blast to play and the action is always cranked up past the maximum. With memorable bosses, including a monstrous final boss that will test everything the player has learned up to that point, this game grabs a hold of the player and doesn’t let them go until the final cyborg piece hits the floor.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance comes as a pleasant surprise to an industry that may not have expected much as skeptic fans questioned how a Metal Gear action title would turn out. However any naysayers should quickly be silenced at one glimpse at even the smallest section of Revengeance. With a tight control scheme, easy to learn and difficult to master combat, non-stop action and plenty of moments that will have you saying “What?! Really?” thanks to the insane thing’s that just happened, Revengeance takes the hack and slash genre and defines it with literal hacking and slashing that culminates in an glorious experience that should not be missed.
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