After many delays (and even a cancellation), the Kojima Productions and Platinum Games joint project, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, is finally here. While it may not be the next Metal Gear Solid game, Revengeance attempts to bring together the zany storytelling from the series with the stylistic action found in many of Platinum’s releases. Luckily for us, it’s a match made in heaven.
Following the events of Metal Gear Solid 4, Revengeance stars Raiden, the child-soldier-turned-cybernetic-ninja, now working for a private security company. The world is mostly at peace, but a rogue paramilitary group stages an attack on those Raiden was hired to protect. Before you know it, he’s out for revenge… with a vengeance. Things get out of control from here in the typical Metal Gear way, and it’s clear this is where Kojima’s team had the most influenced. The story isn’t up there with the best in the series, but it’s entertaining, providing some great moments and a memorable cast of characters.
Is getting S ranks on the hardest difficulty not enough for you? Revengeance also offers a bunch of hidden VR missions that toss thorough players into some very tough situations. High score junkies will love these. – Lucas White
While the previous Metal Gear games focused on stealth, Revengeance is all about fast-paced action (with some light stealth elements sprinkled in for good measure). The basic combat focuses on light and heavy attacks; like most action games of this style, it’s all about chaining those attacks together to create combos. The basic controls and combos aren’t difficult to master because of the excellent tutorials, so even those completely unfamiliar with the genre will be able to jump in with relative ease.
On top of that, as you defeat certain bosses, you unlock weapons that can replace your standard heavy attacks. While it isn’t possible to swap between them on the fly, there are still plenty of opportunities to experiment. These extra weapons switch things up just enough to keep the combat interesting; for example, there’s a magnetic weapon that allows you to attack enemies from afar or pull them close for a finishing blow. No matter your choice, Raiden’s blade remains your key weapon.
Revengeance may be fairly short, but it is perfectly designed around its length. Tons of unlockables, extra missions and alternate play styles make replays a blast, whether you’re trying to find new stuff or just speed running for high scores. – Lucas White
As a cyborg ninja, Raiden is a fan of cutting his robotic enemies to shreds. Thankfully, this action is easily replicated in-game with blade mode. When activated (provided you have the right amount of energy), you can briefly slow down time to get a chance to slice your enemies to pieces. Certain enemies will go down with some quick slashes, but others require you to knock them around more before they are ready to be shredded. The feeling of being able to slice apart an enemy that took seemingly forever to fight, or even one that is easy to overcome, is satisfying beyond belief. Not only that, but this mode is beneficial as you can perform specific kills, known as zandatsu kills, to attack a specific part of an enemy and instantly regain your health. In short, Raiden has a sword and he’s not afraid to use it.
While running around slicing enemies to bits is always fun, there are many foes that won’t let you get away with it easily and can effortlessly knock you to the ground if you’re not careful. Revengeance has no standard block or dodge commands, but it does have a parry system that is integral to getting the upper-hand during certain enemy (and boss) encounters. When an enemy is about to perform a move you can parry, you simply push the left stick in the direction of the attack and hit the light attack button. It seems finicky at first, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to effortlessly switch between furiously attacking your foes and being able to parry their blows.
Lightning Bolt Action
Sure, the game has some quick-time events, but it uses them refreshingly sparingly. Revengeance is over-the-top and theatric by nature, and the sheer amount of ridiculous feats you can accomplish within the mechanics themselves without the game doing the hard work for you keeps the action fresh and engaging. – Lucas White
Some may find the combat to be relatively simplistic in comparison to a game like Bayonetta, but it’s still plenty satisfying thanks to the responsive controls, a great sense of speed and some exciting mechanics (including the parry system) that often keep you on your toes and are almost always satisfying. And the game makes sure you’re always ready, with a good variety of enemy encounters. There is one drawback to the combat, however, and that’s the camera. In wide-open areas, it’s usually just fine, but the problems persist during moments of frantic action when in smaller, indoor environments. It’s not a huge issue, but it can get in the way of an otherwise excellent combat system.
Like with any Metal Gear game, you can expect a nice selection of boss fights, each one of them offering a challenge different from the last. The boss fights put your blade mode and parrying skills to the test in creative ways. For example, one fight involves an enemy with a shield that, when deployed, can deal a large amount of damage when attacked directly. You need to quickly use blade mode in order to expose the shield’s weakness, which then allows you to chip away the boss’ defenses. The bosses are all challenging without being frustrating, making those finishing blows especially gratifying.
And this all ties together nicely with the game’s superb visuals, which never failed to impress. This is especially true during combat, with framerate that is as smooth as the action itself. While it may not look as stunning as some of the most technically advanced releases out there, the series has always managed to impress on a technical and artistic level and Revengeance is no different.
Due to its lengthy development time and a few other bumps in the road, Metal Gear Rising had a good chance becoming a complete disaster. Instead, it once again proves that Platinum is the best in the business at action-focused games. Thanks to its brilliant mechanics, both new and old, Revengeance is one of the best examples of how to take a franchise in a different direction, while still maintaining many of the things that made it so memorable to begin with.
Pros: Excellent visuals, satisfying and fast-paced combat, inventive boss battles
Cons: Some camera problems