Review: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Raiden has had a tough life, he was first introduced as a playable character in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty to a luke-warm reception. His inclusion in the game had been kept a secret until release and it came as quite the surprise to gamers when they were having to back away from fan favourite Solid Snake and take control of this unknown entity. Still, his inclusion in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots put him in a slightly better light and now, with fans warming up to him, he’s been given his own title to flip around in until his heart’s content.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a completely different ball game to the Metal Gear games you know and love. Stealthy gameplay has taken a back-seat to a more action orientated focus, that’s not to say there’s no stealth elements at all, there’s just less emphasis on them than in the previous titles.
The game is set in 2018, four years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and Raiden has joined a private military company called, Maverick Enterprises, to earn enough money to support his family. Whilst on duty, protecting an African VIP, he gets attacked by a bunch of evil fellows called, Desperado Enterprises. These bad folks compromise of an army of cyborgs who are well known for their acts of terrorism. You must work with Maverick to take down Desperado Enterprises and foil their evil plans once and for all.
As you’d expect from a Metal Gear game, there’s a lot of story and a lot of talking. For every few minutes of gameplay there’s the same in dialogue meaning you’ll be stopping a lot and whilst this is a good thing for story building it can be a little frustrating if you just want to get on and play. Of course, this should be nothing new to Metal Gear fans and the option to skip it all is there, if you so wish.
Raiden is, as we all know, a ninja and what do all ninjas need? A ninja run of course and fortunately Raiden comes fully equipped in the running area. Simply hold down the right trigger and Raiden will sprint forward and automatically jump over or dive through any obstacles. You can even attack whilst doing the ninja run if needs be.
As far as attacking goes, Raiden has two basic attacks, a heavy and light attack. You can use these two moves and link them together into a series of sword slashing combos, as well as unlock more moves to turn yourself into a certified cyborg butcher. Taking down enemies and completing levels will net you money which can then be used to buy new moves as well as upgrades for your weapons, new secondary weapons and even new clothing. Ever wanted to dress up Raiden in a sombrero? Well, today is your lucky day.
As you may or may not have seen, the biggest new feature of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is the sword play. I’m sure a lot of you have seen the video where Raiden is slicing up melons a la Fruit Ninja. When you hit bad guys you’ll fill up your energy meter, once this is full then you can activate the Blade Mode. This is a ‘bullet time’ mode where everything slows right down and you’re greeted with a blue pane which you can turn with the right stick. Once you’ve got it in the desired position then you can hit an attack button and Raiden will slice in that direction.
Unfortunately it’s quite a clunky experience and can be tricky to use with any accuracy. This is because you have to move the pane with the right stick, you then have to take your thumb of the stick to hit one of the attack buttons which makes it quite fiddly. Although, you don’t have to manually pick a direction to slice if you don’t want to, you can just hit one button for a vertical chop and one for a horizontal swipe, then move the left stick to help aim your hits.
The Blade Mode will kill basic enemies in one hit, although that isn’t true for the larger foes. For these you’ll have to weaken them up a bit first, then if one of their limbs turns a light shade of blue then it’s ready to be chopped off. This means you can remove enemies arms and they’ll just mince around, not being very dangerous.
Raiden can also parry a lot of moves, if you attack in the direction of a foe at they’re attacking then Raiden will block their intentions, if you time this right you can stun an enemy then unleash a pre-determined special attack. Raiden will basically launch into a little movie sequence which ends with you being able to active the Blade Mode and go crazy, doing this can cut a lot of enemies into hundreds of pieces – there’s actually a counter to tell you how many pieces you’ve cut them into.
Graphics wise, it’s nothing special, it’s very similar to MGS4. There’s some nice effects here and there but you won’t have to worry about your jaw getting dirty. There’s also some frame-rate issues occasionally, but that’s usually when fighting a large enemy and chopping them into a few hundred pieces. As you can imagine from the 18 rating, it’s quite violent, you are chopping people/cyborgs into lots of little bits after all. Also, the camera can be a royal pain, you can manually control it but when you’re being attacked by multiple, fast enemies you’ll lose track of them a lot and end up hacking at the air.
I mentioned before about the lack of stealth, basically it’s there if you want to use it. You can sneak around and avoid enemies if you prefer but it’s a much harder task this time round. There’s no field of view cone on the radar for enemies, security cameras will give you no warning, and the fact that you can’t crawl, hide in places, lean against walls makes it very hard to sneak effectively. You can hide in boxes, lay down digital magazines to distract enemies and take alternate routes if you like, or you can just run in and chop their heads off, it’s up to you.
There’s no multiplayer included and the only replay value comes from trying to increase your ranking on the different levels. When you defeat a group of enemies you’re given a ranking depending on how long it took, how much damage you took etc. This is then all tallied up and you’re given a level rank at the end.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance isn’t your typical Metal Gear game, if you love the others then you may feel a bit indifferent about this title, sure it’s set in the same universe but it’s a completely different kettle of fish. For a game that’s all about the action it’d be nice if the game was allowed to continue on extended periods of action instead of being interrupted by either a CGI sequence or everyone’s favourite, slow walk, finger to the ear moment. That said, the action is quite enjoyable – camera issues aside – there’s a huge variety in the enemies and chopping the different parts off is strangely satisfying.