Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Reviewed by: Brady Ruiters
The Metal Gear Series has always had an interesting roster of characters in each game; one such character is Raiden, one of the Metal Gear Solid 2 protagonists. However, he’s a character that has been plagued by mixed opinions; some love him while some have complained about his inclusion in the series. That changed when he showed up as a cyborg during the events of Metal Gear Solid 4 but not all were convinced. Thankfully, Platinum Games and Konami have given him a shot at redemption with Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, and boy what a shot it is.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance takes place in the year 2018, four years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (MGS4). This time, the story follows Raiden, one of the protagonists from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty (MGS2) and NPC from MGS4. Raiden is now working for a PMC (Private Military Company) by the name of Maverick in order to raise money for his family. While riding in a convoy with the President of Libya, the convoy is attacked by a group of cyborg terrorists by the name of Desperado. After attempting to save the president, Raiden goes up against one of the members of Desperado but gets ripped apart (literally). Two weeks later, Raiden is back on his feet with some new cybernetic enhancements, making him much stronger than before and out the blood of Desperado.
The story does branch out a little but is ultimately convoluted and somewhat ridiculous. Not ridiculous in a bad way though; it’s the kind of ridiculous that is fun to experience, very much like the story was taken straight from an anime series, which makes for some really cool action setpieces. Raiden has also matured a lot since previous outings and often reflects on his time as a child soldier in Liberia. He’s still as cocky as ever but seems to have more of a purpose this time around. Some of the support characters seem a little forgettable but the boss-like terrorists definitely have character and express this, especially before a fight. The dialogue is very Metal Gear-esque as conversations are usually very informative while still having humour. Cutscenes are also still as long as ever and can be somewhat intrusive at times but never really steals the action away from the player since most of the cool things happen during play.
Fans of the stealth portion of the series may not find many opportunities to sneak around and kill since Revengeance is largely a Hack ‘n Slash game. The gameplay style definitely suits Raiden, considering that he is a cyborg ninja of sorts; he isn’t Gray Fox (the original cyborg ninja) but he is more than capable. Gameplay is extremely fast paced and is incredibly enjoyable. Raiden can do both light and heavy attacks but both types never feel as such. Every attack feels like it does major damage and also looks really cool when performed. Both light and heavy attacks also flow together nicely into beautiful combos of death. Raiden can also parry enemy attacks, which is very important during combat because it could mean the difference between life and death. Parrying is also a good way to disorient enemy cyborgs, leaving them wide open to attack.
With each enemy defeated, Raiden gains BP (Battle Points), which is the game’s currency. With it, players can purchase new weapons, weapon enhancements, health upgrades, fuel cell upgrades and more combat moves to add to Raiden’s arsenal of techniques. Stealth is still possible at times during the game but most of the time, gameplay is an all-out slash-fest.
One of the best parts of the combat is something called Blade Mode. After absorbing enough electrolytes through his blade, Raiden is able to activate Blade Mode, an ability that slows down time and allows the player to make precise cuts using the right stick. It allows the player to remove arms, legs or even slice the enemy right down the middle. It really is sadistic to cut the limbs off an enemy and watch them try to crawl towards you. It’s not just a fun way to take out enemies, it’s also a really effective tool used for both offence and defence. Raiden can rip right through an opponent and tear out their spine in order to fully replenish his health; this comes in handy during tight situations. As for the defensive part, Raiden can remove appendages from enemies, making them a much easier foe to dispatch. Blade Mode can also be used to slice up large objects hurled at Raiden such as helicopters, boulders and missiles. It really is a fun feature to use at all times and makes for some entertaining finishing moves.
A few things I found a little annoying about Revengeance is that Raiden has to stand still in order to access the inventory, which is unheard of for a game of this type. Another thing that got to me just a little bit was the secondary weapons. When equipped, they take up one of the buttons used for Raiden’s katana attacks. I don’t mind them taking up one of the buttons, it’s just that they don’t feel very fluid when trying to create unique combos with 2 different weapons.
The game is a little short but makes up for it with weapon unlocks, upgrades and outfits. It all carries over into New Game Plus where players can play with a real powered-up, badass Raiden. The game also features VR Missions which are essentially puzzles testing combat; it fleshes out the experience a bit.
Visually, the game doesn’t disappoint. Revengeance looks good during both play and cutscenes. Raiden’s combat techniques also look beautiful but so deadly. The camera can be a little annoying at times, tending to lose track of Raiden here and there, thankfully it doesn’t happen too often. Level areas also come in a variety of environments, ranging from city streets to sewers.
The audio is pretty much on par with the visuals. Cutting through everything sounds great and makes it feel as if there is a huge amount of power behind every slash. Voice acting is done very well, giving the characters life and distinctiveness; no one really feels generic. The music was also great. The game features a very Power Metal-esque soundtrack, making players feel like a badass during each encounter and seems to suit boss fight perfectly.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a great game that expands on Raiden’s story and really breathes life into his character. I felt that the gameplay was appropriate considering that he fights like a ninja on a sugar high. The story is ridiculous but makes for some awesome setpieces during the campaign. Gameplay is an extremely fun and fast paced affair that should please any Hack ‘n Slash fan. The only problems that hampered the experience were the sometimes annoying camera angles, combo interrupting secondary weapons and the fact that Raiden has to stand still in order to access the inventory. Other than those issues, the game is great and would make a great addition to nearly any gamer’s collection.
Reviewed predominantly on the PlayStation 3.