Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review
Formats: Playstation3, Xbox 360
- Looks great in glorious 60fps
- Blistering action
- Massive adversaries that feel rock solid
- Unique slicing blade mechanic
- Easy to use and reasonably deep combo system
Not so much?
- Frustrating controls at times
- Erratic difficulty in places made worse by occasional control struggles
- Frame rate dips on occasion
- Frustrating camera issues at times
- Very short and, in essence, repetitive
Unlike any other Metal Gear title you’ve ever played, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is looking to grab you by the balls in the opening moments, squeeze until your eyes pop, then unclench as the credits roll. I must note that the ball clenching is optional!
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has had a chequered path to our drive slots. Starting out life as a stop-gap title between Metal Gear Solid 4 and the planned 5th instalment. Kojima Productions struggled with the concepts and eventually canned the project. Shifting gears they took the logical leap and decided to make a Raiden centred back story game that filled in how he got from the annoying gimp in Metal Gear Solid 2 to the cyborg ninja bad-arse he was in Metal Gear Solid 4. This became known as Metal Gear Solid: Rising. Once again Kojima Productions failed to find their muse and in early 2011 the project was silently canned. That was until Kojima had a conversation with the folks at Platinum Games (Bayonette/Vanquish etc) and they took on development duties back in early 2011.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was born, stealth was skilfully removed and action was brought centre stage. Unlike any other Metal Gear title you’ve ever played, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is looking to grab you by the balls in the opening moments, squeeze until your eyes pop, then unclench as the credits roll. I must note that the ball clenching is optional!
The story, as in all previous titles in the series, is a little wacked out, but hugely fun. As mentioned Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance follows Raiden. It takes place four years after the culmination of Metal Gear Solid 4. You start with a slightly enhanced, but ultimately normal Raiden. Making his living working for the Maverick Security private military company (PMC). He scratches a living helping train soldiers and protecting VIPs. During regular assignment in Africa a rival PMC, Desperado Enterprises, kills the President Raiden is currently protecting and leave Raiden minus one arm and pretty much dead.
Scoot forward a little and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance picks up with a new cyborg enhanced Raiden. He’s after revenge for what happened in Africa and a minor coup being perpetrated by Desperado is just the excuse he needs to start slicing guys up.
Story wise the game is amusing and well crafted at its finer moments. Other moments the story goes a little south but stays well within the franchises wheelhouse of whacky military conspiracy theories. Gone are the 25 minute cut scenes of MGS 4. In is balls-out action that’ll get your heart pumping – albeit for a relatively short amount of time. The game, especially on the lower settings, probably weighs in at around 5 or so hours with most of the challenge coming from the odd frustrating boss battle and wrestling with the slash control scheme.
On that note let us deal with the new mechanic that Kojima Productions tried to sculpt a game around. Raiden is equipped with various weapons throughout the game. Each offered up by using a shoulder button and slapping the fire button – but these are the secondary weapons. Primary weapon duties falls to your trusty blade. Easy combat and complex combos are the order of the day here. Jamming on the X/Square and Y/Triangle buttons will unleash a series of light and heavy attacks that can be strung together to perform combos the likes of which might even make Bayonette blush. Hit the shoulder button, or counter and enemies strike, and you will enter the slash mode. Here you have full control over the direction of the blade using the right analogue stick. Pulling to a certain direction operates like drawing back the blade in that direction. Releasing the stick is akin to unleashing the blow through its path of trajectory slicing solid objects like warm butter as it goes.
In practise this works pretty well and can give you some immediate and grin-worthy satisfaction. Cleaving through objects and slicing them in to component parts never gets old. Being able to dynamically slice pretty much most objects in the game must have been a massive headache for Platinum, but they’ve pulled it off very well.
Graphically the game is splendid and sight to behold when it’s in full stride bearing its 60FPS teeth at all that are willing to judge. Judge too long though and you will see the chips and scuffs though as on occasions Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance does dip from its keen-as-mustard frame rate. These are not frequent, nor are they game altering – but they occur nonetheless. Character models are superbly defined with artist Yoji Shinkawa offering up the design for Raiden himself. Environments are well realised, expansive and lively. Plenty of the trademark Platinum flare is on show here and fans of their work will see them flourish with these new characters.
Sound design is also well managed. Voice work is of a solid to good quality with Quinton Flynn reprising his role as Raiden from MGS4. Music steps away from Kojima Productions and the Metal Gear franchise staples relying on action based music rather than stealth laden atmospheric tunes. Jamie Christopherson and Naoto Tanaka have worked together to produce a solid score that captures the essence of the Metal Gear franchise’s “sound” and mixes it with a massive handful of Platinum’s more electro-beat laden action titles.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance does have its issues though. The relatively short campaign is one of them. With no multiplayer elements to speak of (even leader boards) then the game really does feel over after those brief few hours. Fans may well want to play through again on higher levels of difficulty and that will yield a little more play time for them. Others will play the five or so hours of the campaign and feel like they wanted more. Personally, after the game finishes, I felt I’d just about had enough of the premise and the world it presented. Give me 5 hours of high-octane fun over ten hours of mediocre any day of the week!
Frame rate dips as mentioned before also drag the game down a little. The main gripe I have with the game though is in its controls and unbalanced difficulty/enemies. Controls can become very muddled at times and trying to utilise the blade mechanic during frantic encounters can degenerate in to a frustrating mess at times. This then leads you back to just mashing buttons rather than utilising the games unique combat system. Similarly to Dead Island using the analogue combat method is by far the more enjoyable – but not always practical. Enemies and battles can also become a frustrating mess of die-retry-die-retry as the defence method (hitting an enemy at the exact same point as they strike you) can be a little woolly.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a blast from the first screen to the last credit roll. It has some issues with frame-rate on occasion and the controls do let it down slightly but most of that can be put aside in favour of the red hot action on offer. Never underestimate the frustration levels though as these can be a make or break for some in this style of game.
For Metal Gear fans this will be a very distant cousin – a hot sexy cousin that comes to town and shows you all kinds of wild stuff!
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance might have had a troubled path to our consoles but now it’s here, you should kick-back and enjoy an absolute heavenly slice of action from the conjoined minds that have brought you some of the best games of this past generation.