Metal Gear Rising: REVENGEANCE Game Review
Metal Gear Solid is one of my favorite game series. After the series tied up pretty nicely with MGS4 in 2008, it was unclear was what next for the franchise. In 2009, it was announced that Kojima Productions was already working on some new Metal Gear games.
One of the games being Metal Gear Rising, the first multi-platform Metal Gear game and the first to solely star Raiden, the protagonist of Metal Gear Solid 2. Metal Gear fan boys were upset over the fact that the Xbox 360 would be getting a Metal Gear game while Xbox fan boys were upset that they wouldn’t be getting a Metal Gear game starring Solid Snake, the series’ main protagonist. Also Hideo Kojima, the series creator and usual director, was only producing this game, not directing it.
The following year there was a demo trailer showing off the gameplay for Metal Gear Rising revealing that this would not be a stealth game like the previous games in the franchise or if it was, it would be very different.
The main point of interest was the ability to cut with your sword in any direction. They showed off Raiden cutting a watermelon into individual slices. The audience was amused. The game’s development would get rather rocky after that. Not much was heard about it and its release date kept getting pushed back and back. That was until the spring of 2012 when a new trailer for the game was released and that is when it was clear that what we were getting was going to be radically different from any of the previous Metal Gear games.
It was fast-paced, over the top, very flashy and gory. It looked much more like Devil May Cry than Metal Gear Solid. It was also revealed in the trailer that the development had switched hands to Platinum Games, who have become most well known for Bayonetta, a similarly over the top action game. The game was set on a final release date in 2013 and it has finally come out.
Metal Gear has become well known for it’s deep, in-depth, complex, and at times, confusing story lines, it’s many cut scenes, interesting characters and themes.
This new direction the series was going had a lot of people, including myself, worried. Especially when it was announced that Rising would be canon and set after MGS4, which technically makes it Metal Gear Solid 5.
However, after playing it, I gotta say it’s surprisingly good! Not perfect but really good for what it is. I can see this as the start of a spin off series and one with a lot of promise. Granted, a lot of hardcore Metal Gear fans will not like the changes regardless but I think they should give it a try at least. Well, that was quite a bit of history for this game. Let’s get on to the review!
Let me start off with, if you liked Metal Gear only for the story and character development, you’re probably going to hate this game. Set several years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4, PMCs that use cyborg and cyborg technology have become a major global business after the fall of the Patriot controlled war economy. Raiden puts his cyborg body to use and works for a PMC called Maverick that generally deals in peace keeping type operations.
During the last day of an operation in an African country, the president’s convoy is attacked by a group called Desperado. Raiden battles through the streets to save the country’s president as he encounters some very powerful enemy cyborgs that seem to have a bigger plan going on. After suffering a brutal defeat, Raiden returns to action three weeks later with new enhancements and on a mission to find out what Desperado is really up to.
So yeah, as I mentioned, Kojima did not write or direct this game so his interesting style of storytelling isn’t here. The story is pretty over the top and even gets a bit preachy near the end. It’s not nearly as paced or thought out as some of the other Metal Gear story lines… but it tries. It does have the Metal Gear feel to it at some parts. There is some mention of events and people from previous games but not a lot. There are a lot of ‘fill the hole’ conversations you can listen to over the codec but those are optional. The same goes for trying to get any kind of character development.
Outside of Raiden, there is no one that has any real development.
Raiden’s wife and son are only mentioned twice and there is only one returning character from MGS4 besides Raiden and she doesn’t show up till the last stage. However, this works to a degree. It still has the Metal Gear feel to it and I really didn’t hate it as much as I thought I would. Originally, the game was supposed to be set between MGS2 and MGS4 and would explain how Raiden became a cyborg ninja. I felt that would have made for a better story than continuing from where MGS4 ended. Note that Raiden actually got a happy ending at the end of MGS4 so I saw Rising as throwing a brick at that BUT in the end; the story of MGR actually works. Is it anything as profound or attempts at being through provoking as the other Metal Gear games? No, but it doesn’t need to be. The game is also surprisingly funny… In that awkward, cheesy, Japanese way that has always been in Metal Gear games. This time it’s a little more cheesy than awkward but it still managed to make me laugh.
The boss battles and characters are really cool even though they aren’t nearly as flushed out as previous villains. They make for some epic boss fights, especially the last boss battle which is something I totally didn’t expect but in a good way. The future with the world becoming increasing more and more populated by cyborgs reminded me a lot of Ghost in the Shell and I think they drew some concepts from that.
Last thing to say is that the story and game in general is that it is very short. I beat the game on the easiest setting in less than 5 hours.
I’m sure if you played on the highest difficulty and unlock everything, you might be able to squeeze 10 hours out of this game and does warrant multiple play troughs anyway but still this is the shortest Metal Gear game to date. They do seem to set it up for a sequel and all I can say is I hope they have more time to stretch out the campaign than they did with this one.
This is where Rising shines like a bolt of lightning! The combat is really fast paced, addicting, and fun! Before playing it, I had semi-jokingly called this game Metal Gear May Cry, expecting basically a Devil May Cry type hack n’ slash clone but after playing it, it’s more like Ninja Gaiden or Shinobi. Which makes sense as Raiden is a cyborg ninja after all. In addition to the usual fancy sword play you find in hack n’ slash games, you also have blade mode which slows down everything and lets you rotate a line in a 360 degree circle and cut your enemies or objects in any direction. This allows you to literally slice your enemies into little tiny pieces. This is rather innovative and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more hack n’ slash games use something like this in the future.
Raiden has an interesting way to replenish his health and power meter. He can rip out and absorb enemy cyborg energy cells which look like cybernetic spinal cords. Performing zan-datsu attacks will quickly fix him right up by slicing open enemies and ripping out their energy cell. It looks like a finishing move from Mortal Kombat but it is very satisfying to pull off. Some enemies can be taken down quickly this way, while others will need more punishment before you can kill them. I was surprised at how few quick time events there are in this game. I was expecting a lot but the most you see are during the final boss battle and they are done well.
Raiden also has a ninja run which lets him run very quickly and jump, slide, over or under obstacles automatically. It’s similar to the free run in Assassin’s Creed but much faster.
Raiden can also attack in this mode with quick sword slashes and sliding attacks. I found myself using ninja run a lot in fights to get around and attack enemies.
Speaking of which, it’s amazing how fast and fluid the combat is. Only once did I experience any frame rate drop, the rest of the time the action moved very fast and the animations were very smooth. It is really awesome to watch but controlling it requires practice. The camera kind of has trouble keeping up with Raiden in the heat of battle and a lot of time the camera is turned so you can’t see what you are hitting at off screen. The lack of a lock-on feature does not help. However, unlike with DmC where the lack of a lock-on really hurt the overall gameplay, here it doesn’t matter as much. All of your attacks can hurt all the enemies equally so it’s less about hitting certain enemies with certain weapons and more of just getting enough blows on the enemies and performing blade mode at the right time. So the camera isn’t as big a boon as it could have been but still a better camera would be nice.
The game’s levels are pretty linear but most of them to have areas to explore and things to collect like unlockable artwork, figures, and pictures of people? Seriously, I have no idea who they are but they appear in the collection screen. You also unlock VR missions as little challenges and training to hone your skills. They did not really interest me much though. There are also some levels with stealth elements in the game. You even get the trade mark boxes to sneak around in but this ends up being more of a novelty than a useful tactic as you’ll usually get caught and it’s easier and more fun to just kill everyone in sight. There are even some jokes made at Raiden’s expense when it comes to his stealth skills.
GRAPHICS AND SOUND:
Overall the game looks very good, however, you can kind tell this was developed by more than one team. A lot of the environments look like they were part of the MGS4 engine that it was originally developed with. It looked really good in 2008 but now it’s looking pretty dated. The same goes for extras. They look very plane and are best kept in the distance. The main characters on the other hand, look great. Raiden looks extremely badass and the other cyborg designs look awesome. A lot of attention went into the weapons as well. They look great and are fun to use.
The voice acting in this game stands out. It stands out in that it is laughably bad. It seems like almost every stereotype of an accent got worked into the game. You have a samurai type cyborg with a Spanish accent and a war hungry cyborg boss that sounds like the Rich Texan from The Simpsons. Not to mention Raiden’s Russian boss and German doctor friend. The script doesn’t help since it’s filled with some pretty cheese lines but much like the story, it seems to work. It made me laugh a lot and worked with the awkward humor that most Metal Gear games have.
Quinton Flynn reprises his role as Raiden but his performance is kind of all over the place. At times he talks like he did in MGS4, other times it sounds like he is trying too hard to sound like Solid Snake. Sorry Quinton, you’re no David Hayter.
Lastly, I’d like to mention that the soundtrack to this game is awesome and perfect for the feel the game is going for. The electronic rock by John Bush, Maniac Agenda, and others provide great music for being a cyborg ninja and cutting enemies to bits. I went and downloaded the soundtrack, that’s how much I enjoyed it.
Overall, Metal Gear Rising was a pleasant surprise when I was expecting another let down like DmC. It’s short and has a couple issues with the camera but it really doesn’t hurt the game too much. The combat is extremely fun once you get the hang of it and slashing cyborgs apart never gets old. However, I’m sure hardcore Metal Gear fans might not like it because it’s just too different from the previous games. If you do not like hack n’ slash games, I doubt this will change your mind but I say it’s worth a try.
If you are a fan of hack n’ slash type games, then you must pick this one up, especially if you were as disappointed as I was with DmC. Due to how short the game is, I recommend renting or buying when the price comes down some but it is one hell of a short and sweet ride of a game. Happy cutting! I should note that my PS3 died on me the day I got this game so I had to barrow a friend’s PS3 to get this review done (Thanks Grant!). Next game I plan to review will be on the Xbox 360 and it will be the epic FPS Crysis 3.
- Combat is a lot of fun and revolutionary for this genre
- Awesome boss fights
- Excellent soundtrack
- Camera could be better for the combat system
- Not everyone will like the radical new direction Metal Gear has taken