Review: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Cutting and cutting and cutting and cutting and cutting and cutting and cutting and cutting.
- Worth The Time?Certainly, if only for the glorious cutting mechanic.
- Things LovedThe cutting. The combat is frantically enjoyable. It stays relatively true to the Metal Gear universe. Detailed and beautiful visuals with a solid 60 fps even in cut-scenes. Cut-scenes are well designed. The soundtrack is amazing. The story is good and has loads of dialogue. The slashing. There are a lot of secrets and collectibles to be found. Great replay value. Boss fights are a joy. The slicing. Tons of lore and additional dialogue. The goofiness can crack you up at times. The cutting. It's extremely fun.
- Things HatedThe game's combat can be difficult to grasp and that might transpire into frustration. Platinum Games' trademark stereotyping becomes a bit annoying. There isn't a lot of defense options other than a single parry move. The stealth just doesn't work because of Raiden's nimble body. Voice acting feels awkward and stinted. It ends just when you start craving more.
- RecommendationPick this game up if you're a fan of hack and slash games, or even the Metal Gear franchise. Or better yet, of both.
- Name: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
- Genre: Hack And Slash
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: No
- Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3
- Developer: Platinum Games
- Publisher: Konami
- Price: R545
- Reviewed On: Xbox 360
Cutting stuff is fun. Cutting stuff into many tiny pieces is even more fun. But can you really base a game around that idea alone? Metal Gear Rising certainly tries to accomplish that task and here’s the short version of that attempt: they pulled it off. Beautifully at that. Platinum Games have broken their trust with me a little after I played the excruciatingly mediocre Anarchy Reigns, but with this game they certainly redeemed themselves. Revengeance puts you in the shoes of Jack Raiden, a cyborg ninja equipped with a high-frequency blade that can literally cut through anything. The potential of that alone can make you excited.
Metal Gear games have always been known for their stealth and some argue that it’s the only way you should play the games, but Revengeance throws all that out the window and gives you an action heavy, pulse pounding, explosion ridden, sword cutting experience. There is still stealth, but more often than not you will rush into the action for the sole reason of experiencing the frantic combat. It’s almost hard to explain the euphoric feeling you get when you play this game and that’s just one of the reasons why it’s so good.
Let’s talk about combat, because that’s where Revengeance really stands out. It’s traditional hack and slash with all the usual mechanics at play. You have light attacks and heavy attacks and you can use that to dispatch enemies. What sets this game apart is the ability to cut things using the “free slicing” mode. After you weaken an enemy you can activate the free slicing mode and start chopping using the right analogue stick. It’s a full 360 degree geometrical plane so you can literally cut into any direction you choose. It’s extremely precise as well so you can decapitate, cut off limbs, turn chests into ham slices and so on. In order to fully use this power you need to fill up a gauge by using normal attacks in combat. Once that gauge is full, you can activate what’s called Blade Mode, a mode that throws everything into slow motion and allows for precise cutting and the ability to dismember.
Blade Mode isn’t just for randomly cutting into every direction. It has some strategic elements such as cutting off an officer’s left arm for bonus points or cutting off a big enemy’s weapon part to prevent it from attacking you. There’s also something called Zandatsu where you have to cut open an enemy’s abdomen and literally rip their spine out of their ass and crush it in your hand. Words cannot express how awesome it feels. When you rip said spine out of said ass, your health and Blade Mode gauges regenerate fully. It’s a tactic that has to be used because you will sustain significant damage during combat and health items aren’t easy to come by.
The combat is frantic and ridiculously fast paced which makes the game intensely fun thanks to the adrenaline being pumped into your veins. It can be a little difficult because of the incredible speed as enemy attacks are so quick and precise that you will hardly see them coming. Sometimes the game’s strange camera might block you from seeing attacks, too. The camera is way too close to Raiden and prevents you from having a nice view of all the action going on. This then causes enemies to attack you from off screen and break the flow of combat completely. All this wouldn’t be an issue if Raiden only knew how to dodge. The only defensive move you have in your disposal is a single parry move where you have to press up on your analogue and press the light attack button when you see an enemy attack coming. The parry move is difficult to pull off, and only about three missions in did I learn how to use it correctly. This makes for a frustrating experience as you have no real way of avoiding enemy attacks. Raiden then gets juggled constantly and hammered into the ground by strong enemy attacks.
Barring the missing defensive moves, the combat is excellent once you get the hang of it. As you progress through the game and defeat certain bosses, you get extra sub-weapons that mixes the combat around a bit with new moves and strategies. These weapons aren’t lackluster and useless, but rather fully fledged combat weapons that can obliterate your enemies. You can also learn new moves for all your weapons, adding more variation to the combat. Boss battles in particular are just a joy to partake in. They are massive battles filled with intense action, explosions, super moves and what have you. The best part is at end where you can literally cut a boss into tiny pieces. I can’t tell you enough how awesome the cutting physics are in this game. Your slices are extremely precise and you can literally turn an enemy into a pile of meat. Or rather, machine parts.
If you have played any of Platinum Games’ previous titles you will instantly feel a sort of familiarity with the story. You can instantly see Platinum Games’ trademark methods such as the stereotyping of almost all the major characters. This annoyed me a bit because they are so painfully obvious that it becomes repetitive. A Russian military man with a huge mustache that uses a heavy Russian accent and says “da” a lot. A German doctor with the “ironic” name of Doktor, who speaks in a heavy German accent and says ‘Scheiße’ a lot. A little Jamaican boy with an accent so heavy that they had to put a little subtitle translation under everything he says. They are so obnoxious. Although it’s probably meant for comedic effect, but it just irritated me.
The story itself follows Raiden through a intricate plot filled with political conspiracy and crimes against humanity. Just to give you an idea of how intense the subject matters are, there is a part where you have to rescue the brains of disadvantaged children that have been abducted by a major corporation and are being ruthlessly trained through VR training simulations. There are also various political discrepancies taking place and Raiden tries his best to bring justice to the people responsible. The story plays out well with lengthy cut-scenes that are beautifully rendered with characters giving monologues of their motivations. Some scenes are even a bit emotional.
There’s a lot of misplaced humour thrown into the mix with off-the-cuff dialogue and strange, comedic actions being performed in cut-scenes. Most of these strange events will crack you up and give you a chuckle if only just for the strangeness of it all. It can break immersion a little especially if the dialogue consists purely out of coffee preference, but it’s not such a big deal. During missions you can call up your allies and have rather lengthy conversations with them. These conversations can be about personal things or even politics. It’s entirely optional, but it’s a nice little extra to balance out the absolute craziness of the combat. The game also stays relatively true to the Metal Gear universe and makes references to previous games as well as set pieces that are evident in the series’ world.
You will also notice various similarities to other Metal Gear games such as the Alert statuses and the ability to use cardboard boxes for stealth sections. You can also pick up rocket launchers, grenades, homing missiles and other stuff to use in combat. These items are scattered throughout the game world inside item boxes or special areas. The levels themselves are linear in presentation, but allow for a degree of exploration. There are lots of secrets and special items to obtain within levels and it pays to explore a little. There’s even a few pictures of “questionably” clothed woman hidden in the world to satisfy the more perverted players. Exploration and traversing is made easy with the feature of Ninja Run. Ninja Run is an automatic sprinting action that allows Raiden to quickly traverse through terrain with only one push of a button. He can climb, jump through holes in walls and avoid obstacles automatically, making running from point to point a painless experience.
Metal Gear games are well known for their stealth and Revengeance tries its best to stay true to this formula with sections where you can sneak past enemies. Unfortunately, Raiden is too nimble and agile to be any good at stealth. There aren’t any sneaking options other than cardboard boxes or barrels that can be picked up. Most of the time, enemies will spot you almost instantly and alert everyone in the vicinity. This will then trigger a combat scenario and you will just end up killing everyone anyway. I tried my best to sneak through quite a few sections, but it’s just too difficult because of Raiden’s big body and high speed. After a while I just gave up and went in swords slashing at every opportunity I got. Thankfully the combat is fun and you won’t really mind being caught because that means you can cut up a few robots.
The soundtrack deserves a lot of praise for its presentation. The music consists of a mixture of rock, rave, dubstep, heavy metal and Japanese Rock. That all might sound cringeworthy, but it does an excellent job to get your blood pumping and putting you in the mood for some intense action. The progression of the music is also noteworthy, especially in boss battles. It starts off as an instrumental backdrop with guitar riffs or techno-beats, where once you reach a certain point in the fight, the volume gets higher and vocals are introduced. It worked so well that in the first boss battle I found myself unknowingly smiling with absolute glee because the music pumped up once I started vigorously cutting the boss into ribbons. Pure audio gold. And I don’t even like Japanese Rock.
The dialogue is good all round, but as I have mentioned before, the stereotypical accents can be frustrating. Also, the dialogue might sound a little awkward and stinted as if the characters don’t really know who they are talking to.
The visuals are excellent with highly detailed models and great environments. The character models are especially impressive because of their high level of detail such as product codes, screws and join marks in cyborg limbs. It all runs at a very solid 60 frames per second during combat, but there are a few frame drops when the action gets really intense and hundreds of parts are lying all over the field. The frame drops are far apart, so it’s nothing major to worry about.
To sum up Revengeance in just a few words is easy: it’s insanely fun. The intense euphoria you feel when you play this game is second to none. You are guaranteed to have an absolute blast and just enjoy yourself. Cutting things has never been this fun and that’s for damn sure. The game is rather short with only about 6-7 hours worth of gameplay and only seven missions of which two missions can be finished in just under 10 minutes. There is a lot of replay value, however, and you will be compelled to play it again on a higher difficulty almost instantly after finishing it the first time. Revengeance is a unique experience that everyone should try. You can almost say that it’s “cutting edge”.
I’m so sorry.