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Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review – Solid Without Snake

3 Comments | posted
MetalGear2

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance serves as an extreme departure from the formula set forth by Kojima studios and Metal Gear games of old, but its still a Metal Gear title. This particular entry is developed by Platinum Games, the psychotic minds behind fast paced action titles such as Bayonetta and the underrated Vanquish. Bayonetta thrived as a very stylish and humorous Devil May Cry clone while Vanquish could remind you of a fully 3D Contra gun fest. I must admit, I wrote Revengeance off entirely when I saw Platinum Games was developing it. Not as an affront to them, but I had no confidence in their typical style of gameplay translating into the Metal Gear world. Even with the impressive cutscenes in Metal Gear Solid 4, I felt something would be missing when they bring Raiden’s swordplay to consoles.

Time has allowed me to open my mind to the idea and respect the desire for Metal Gear to spread out into other genres (all bets off if they create an Metal Gear cyborg farming game on Facebook though…….but I could imagine a Fatman bomb tower defen….nevermind). I opened up the case with neutral expectations and, for the most part, the title entertains. If you look at it like a new director taking a tried and true brand and testing out a different direction, you’ll get more out of Metal Gear Rising.

Things pick up 4 years after Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Raiden is employed by the PMC Maverick Enterprises and communicates with them via an advance coded. Keeping the trademark ring tone, the new codec is bit different for cyborg Raiden. His advance technology based body allows the codec to have 3D visuals for whomever he’s speaking with. Its a nice touch to the gaming interface, which doesn’t take up much of the screen.

The visuals are a mixed bag. The swordplay and battles are beautiful to behold and the “slice crap up” element is spot on 90% of the time. Chopping off the left forearms of enemies offers up bonus tech to upgrade Raiden and, at times, enemy figures will move awkwardly. Mostly, though, you’re offered up pretty awesome scenes to slice to your heart’s content. More on that later.

In exchange for being able to slice up a good amount of what’s on screen, it’s no surprise that your surroundings can be a bit bland. The setup is linear so you’ll rarely stop to smell the rendered roses and take in the sights but, if you do, you’ll find pretty basic repeating patterns and the like. The overall level structure changes up often and your blade makes many thing unrecognizable often enough that you won’t care though. Overall, the visuals hold well enough to support the real cream of Platinum Games’ crop: Gameplay.

Things scream across the screen with Revengeance’s gameplay keeping a pretty high pace 90% of the time. You’ll be tempted to button mash initially, but the enemy will make mincemeat out of you quickly. There’s no block button, keeping with the high speed trend, but you can parry enemy attacks with a well timed combination. When you see an attack coming, you point your analog stick in the direction of the enemy or projectile and hit the light attack button. Poor timing will provide a loose block that skims health off Raiden, but a better timed parry will allow you to counter with a high damage attack. Sometimes the parries even start a quick timer event to stack on even more damage.

You have secondary weapons in your arsenal, varying from Rockets to grenades to holographic photos to distract enemies, but the game essentially makes you stop moving completely to access them. There’s no quick way to switch between items in combat and you have to stop your dash in order to access the inventory menu at all.

In addition to your combos and the occasional quick events, you’ll enter “Blade Mode”. When done correctly, Blade Mode slows time and allows Raiden to hack enemy units to bits. You’re rewarded for cutting off certain parts: Left hands of certain enemies offers bonus credits for customizations and cutting down the center usually allows you to grab the spines of enemies to replenish your own energy. The graphics shine in these moments, with each precision strike send parts all over the place. Each chapter of the game features a few boss battles scattered throughout and, thankfully, they retain most of the Metal Gear flair. Each boss fight does a good job of making you use the skills you’ve gained up until that point, even forcing you to utilize Blade Mode more effectively each time.

Though the gameplay takes the cake, there are some opportunities elsewhere in Metal Gear Rising. The story is all but completely uninteresting for the first 75% of the game, but it somehow switches gears toward the end with references to the “War on Terror” and other foreign affairs. It’s an intriguing idea, but it’s too evident that a light bulb came on too late into the game’s development. Also, outside of mention of the Patriots, there aren’t many references to other mainstays in the Metal Gear series. Ultimately, the story stands as a weak foundation just serving to get you from set piece to set piece and, in turn, you’ll get pretty annoyed with how the plot is presented to you. Multiple times within each level, Raiden will be slowed to a crawl while accessing his Codec and receiving various uninteresting details and mission objectives. There aren’t many side missions either: I only recall being offered one once throughout the main campaign and the VR missions are basically extensive tutorials and trophy challenges.

Overall, it’s a very solid action title and intriguing spin-off from the Metal Gear franchise. Raiden is an awesome lead to have and future titles could further his movement into the spotlight. Even with a few opportunities missed, Metal Gear Rising Revengeance stands well on its own.

Pros

  • Fast paced, brutal combat
  • Intense boss fights
  • Fluid combat and animations

Cons

  • Useless story
  • Poor use of secondary weapons
  • Fairly short

Fina Grade: B

Posted in Reviews |

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