Developer: PlatinumGames Inc.
Publisher: Konami Digital Entertainment
Review Platform: Xbox 360
Review Copy Provided By: Konami
Release Date: February 19, 2013
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance takes the Metal Gear series and turns it on its head, discarding conventional stealthy principles and dark haired protagonists, for fast paced action and bleach-blonde antiheroes. Developer PlatinumGames does a surprising job of morphing the Metal Gear series into something that is completely novel, while staying true to its roots, and creating something that is still very recognizable. While many components successfully add unique properties to this title, the incredibly short campaign, abysmal story, and frequent camera errors prevent this title from reaching its true potential.
Raiden returns to the series four years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4, this time under the employment of private security firm, Maverick, working apart an intricate security team tasked with the protection of a high-value African Prime Minister. Their attempted efforts at protection fail, when rival private military company, Desperado, attacks their convoy. This attack leads Raiden on an massive quest to take down Desperado and their employer.
Raiden dashes around his battlegrounds slicing through armor and cutting clean through enemies limbs, all with impressively smooth style and flow. The gameplay, although limited, is the feature attraction of Metal Gear Rising: Revengance. Fighting through hoardes of enemies feels smooth and fluid. Raiden’s cybernetic limbs enable impossible feats of acrobatic attacks, while his appetent blade yearns for carnage and blood.
Developer PlatinumGames sends hundreds of mindless foes to be cut down during your battles. Occasionally, the flow of combat is interrupted when the game throws you into one it’s numerous boss encounters. These duels often consist of multiple phases, interrupted by short cut scenes and quick-time events. Some of these fights have a truly epic feel, as two powerful cyborgs clash in a battle of steel and blood. Completion of these encounters often grants Raiden a new side weapon to use in combat. Unfortunately, these items never experience complete use, as the main campaign can be completed in less than 8 hours.
Revengeance makes it easy for the player to string together impressive combos and fluid attacks through its simple two button attack system. The game offers light and heavy attacks, with the latter offering the option to pull out Raiden’s secondary weapon for more diverse attacks. When your enemy attempts a counterattack a simple maneuver enables the player to block or parry the incoming strike. During combat, enemies will glow red, alerting the player to their incoming attack. Once prompted, simply press the left stick in the direction of the foe while pressing the attack button to successfully defend yourself. More precise timing will cause Raiden to deflect the attack, and return with a swift counter-blow. These basic methods of combat are the foundation for which the entire game is built upon, and if the developers hadn’t nailed this component the entire game would be broken. They manage to pull it off, and build off of these components to add an additional layer of depth to combat.
As you tear through hordes of enemies in a beautifully vicious fashion, Raiden will often gain the ability to enter blade mode; a slowed down version of time, where the player can unleash a bevy of attacks upon vulnerable opponents. Quick, rapid strikes can be accomplished through button presses, while more calculated blows are obtained through a deliberate flick of the right stick, which sets a path for Raiden’s blade to follow. During these sequences vulnerable glowing limbs can be dismembered, while a cut through the enemies’ core area will give Raiden the opportunity to tear a glowing spine-like apparatus out of his foes. This apparatus, which Raiden destroys, immediately replenishes his health and electrolyte reserves.
Impressive character models and battle depictions fill the game, but the visual treats within Revengeance do not end there. Raiden inhabits a colorful world full of varying environments and locals. The results of Raiden’s elaborate quest has him taken to varying regions and locals all over the world. Whether it be bright city streets, or quiet African towns, Revengeance manages to fill the screen with captivating colors and sharp textures; just enough flare to impress you, without seeming taky.
Unfortunately, Revengeance never really gives the player a chance to explore their beautiful surroundings. The game forces you through a set path for the majority of the time, leaving little room to explore and uncover. These linear environments don’t offer much to be seen, but their destructibility is truly unmatched. Raiden can slice through cars, fences, doors and barricades all with ease, performing surgically-precise cuts through inches of debris, leaving the path open before you. This added level of environmental interactivity is a refreshing taste of freedom in an otherwise constricted style of progression
An uncooperative camera can lead to a significant level of frustration to an otherwise enjoyable experience. The camera often becomes confused, especially in tight corners, leading to cheap deaths from enemies off-screen. An additional camera issue arises once the lock-on system is introduced. While aiming at the enemy, the player simply has to tap the right bumper to focus on the target, causing the screen to remain locked on them. Unfortunately, during the clutter and chaos of battle, it can be extremely difficult to lock on to the correct enemy, essentially limiting this features use.
The speed and grace at which Raiden interacts with his environments requires a very consistent frame rate, and for the most part, Rising holds up. Raiden moves fluidly through a screen filled with vibrant enemies performing flashy attacks, and the frame rate rarely falters. The presence of blade mode and its rapid, intricate cut recognition also stands as a further challenge, adding to the impressiveness of the frame rates consistency. However, the visual consistency is not perfect throughout the entire game. Hectic moments of battle in relatively tight fields of combat will sometimes cause the graphics to stutter slightly, before returning to normal. The rarity of this occurrence makes it almost negligible, but its presence can be seen often enough to be worth note.
The story of Metal Gear Solid Rising: Revengeance doesn’t stray far from the eccentric and silly style present in most Kojima productions. But this outlandish tale of political corruption and vengeance is just too bland to ever truly captivate the player. The narrative chronicles Raiden’s quest to bring down huge American corporation that is allegedly harvesting brains from impoverished children to use for their cyborg army. Cut-scenes do more to pull you out of the action, than to draw you deeper into the story, often interrupting the flow of the game to pull you into a conversation.
As you progress through the game’s brief campaign mode hidden data terminals may become apparent. If found, these 20 terminals unlock various VR mission, or challenges, that can be completed with costumes and weapons as rewards. These add some replay value to an otherwise bare experience.
Overall, Metal Gear’s unorthodox return is an entertaining blend of action and swordplay. Many newly introduced game play aspects feel polished and entertaining. In the end, it is unfortunate that a short campaign and boring story stop this from being a Metal Gear worth remembering.