Geek Revolt

Metal Gear Rising Revengeance Review: Feel Like Stabbin’

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It’s been an interesting cycle of events for Metal Gear Rising. After Hideo Kojima first introduced the game four years ago complications arose when the development team found it difficult to portray swordplay in a game, and it was thus scrapped entirely. In 2011, he unexpectedly turned the reins of development over to PlatinumGames, makers of the cult favorite action title Bayonetta. PG would handle the gameplay, while Kojima Productions would handle the story and design of Raiden.

The union’s generated a lot of buzz since then up to release, with multiple trailers and even a ridiculously short, yet fun demo to showcase Raiden’s kill skills. Konami’s put a lot of weight behind the game, which is good to see happen with Platinum. Bayonetta and the ambitious Anarchy Reigns didn’t get the exposure they deserved, even with the latter costing a mere $30.

But that’s all for another time. With Revengeance, we’re here to see if PlatinumGames continues to live up to their trademark action insanity, and if the game truly does deserve the name, “Lighting Bolt Action.”

And by God…oh man it does.

The Story – Four years after Guns of the Patriots, Raiden finds himself working for an American defense company known as Maverick. While on a mission to bodyguard the African president, his convoy is ambushed by a private military company known as Desperado. After losing the President (and a limb or two), Raiden returns to take out Desperado and kill the man that almost killed him.

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Title: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Genre: Action
Developer: PlatinumGames
Platforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Price: $59.99
ESRB: Mature
Release Date: February 19, 2013 [/toggle_box]

 

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PRAISE:

  • Holy Sh*t: Revengeance doesn’t hit the brakes the moment it hands you control. Within minutes of the prologue level, you’re already fighting off a skyscraper-sized Metal Gear mech with an arsenal of gun turrets and one massive plasma cannon looking to fry you six ways. Nearly each level has an scene that can only be labeled as ‘epic,’ and while just how much so can vary between them,   While these scenes are powered by either quick-time events or a frantic mashing of buttons to get Raiden going, there’s more than enough wizz, bang and boom going on that you’ll hardly even care. “So I need to mash Circle, right? But that’ll let me stab a vicious robot dog enough to kick it into the air to then dice it into 150 pieces any way I choose? Fine by me!”
  • The Intelligent Kill: As per PG’s pedigree, the controls are gloriously responsive and smooth, with nary a lag time when switching from light to strong attacks and back again. The same goes for the alternations between your main blade and secondary weapons,, each which carry their own strengths and abilities. However,  hack-and-slash is only mildly mindless – the mash and pray method can only get you so far, with death around the corner especially reserved for bosses and animal mechs (aka UG’s) Mastery of the parry move is a must in order to keep Raiden alive through many of these fights, with well-timed parries letting you start a counterattack combo. What’s even more gracious is the window given when you perform the action – if you start a parry too early, Raiden will keep the stance long enough to stave off an attack, thus keeping your health intact. I’ll admit, it’s not an easy thing to pull off at first (so thank the stars for tutorials), but the more practice with it equals a greater reward when mastered.
  • Slow N’ Go…: So long as  his fuel cell gauge is full,  Raiden can enter Blade Mode, which slows down time and allows either precisely targeted cuts to enemies or objects, or the exact opposite with frantic dicing.With bigger enemies, you’ll see limbs glow blue to indicate that they can be dismembered from the torso to weaken or disarm them. Apart from being a powerful and necessary tool to take foes down, it’s a hell of a lot of fun finding random objects to destroy, especially since the game keeps count of how many pieces you’ve rent something to.
  • Stab N’ Grab: Stealing health from enemies isn’t a new feature by any means, but here it’s a necessity to survive. Luckily, its so brazenly fun and easy when mastered that it never gets too old or unsatisfying. When in blade mode, slicing a target square of an enemy initiates Zandatsu (literally: Cut and Steal), which will pull the bionic spine from an enemy to absorb its energy. Nearly every baddie you fight can be Zandatsu’d, no matter the size, so there’s always an excuse to use the move if you can.
  • Three Winds, a Samurai and a King: The boss battles stay consistent with both variety and challenge, and the ability to slap a satisfying grin on your face when you’ve beat one.  The “Three Winds of Desperado” and their counterparts have their themes seamlessly match their kill talents, providing a show worthy of a broadcast title fight. They’re rarely static, especially when the use of the environment comes into play. A refinery becomes a three-tiered playground between you and a cold wind.. You fly through a collapsing building in the midst of a battle with heated American assassin. Just like the rest of the game, there is no let up with these fights, and there is hardly anything held back.
  • A Beautiful Vengeance: Much like Bayonetta, no attack or move lacks a more than subtle flourish; colorful energy trails light up with each push of a button. While the in-game features aren’t the best ever, they still make the game quite a looker. Even in the heat of battle, you can still see the detailing on Raiden, and each baddie and UG you come across. This gets better in the cutscenes, as they are beautifully rendered – character models show details down to minute levels (peep the warning labels on Raiden’s body).  The environments lack the same quality of the above however, at least in terms of color. Even the detail given to gritty war torn towns and deserted cityscapes can’t save how bland and neutral the colors are.

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  • Finished? Good – Keep Playing: Playing the game straight through without a few digs into nooks and hidden areas will net you a six hour campaign at the most. However exploration, treasure hunting and brisk removal of left arms can get you different unlocks of abilities and suits with different talents attached. Additionally, BP (Battle Points) gained through fighting enemies can be used to purchase rewards to customize Raiden. These and other benefits carry over to harder difficulty levels, which in turn unlocks more…stuff, as you play through those. You can also unlock VR Missions as you play, which are challenge levels that provide more unlockables that carry over to the main game. In short, there’s far more than enough content to keep you going, and when you couple the above with the more than satisfying gameplay, it certainly warrants your attention more than once.
  • Codec: It’s surprising the amount of detail that went into the codecs for a game like this, but these are a series staple. Though they’ll sometimes point out the obvious in a fight, the longer diatribes are actually worth listening to if you can keep still for a bit.
  • Heavy Metal Revenge: I’m a sucker for lyricized music in games such as these. when it’s done right (see: Liberation Maiden). The hard rock and heavy metal tunes here are meant to excite, and they do their job well, especially during some of the bigger fights.
  • Stealth If You Want It…: When given the option to sneak around, you can ambush enemies from behind (or above) with a sneak kill that will give you  a free chance to Zandatsu. Despite having the ability to just dive in and wreck baddies left and right, stealth kills can be fun. And besides the point bonus, you’ve got some neat items such as smoke grenades or 3D photo frames of holographic ladies for distractions. If all else fails, the classic cardboard box makes its return.

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AWKWARD SILENCES:

  • Inconsistent Grading: After (almost) each fight, Raiden is given a grade based on performances such as amount of Zandatsus, time taken, and amount of kills. There’s no problem with this, especially since you’re given bonus BP on top of what you sapped in-fight. But questionably, there are times where you’ll either blow through a room or kill it with stealth, and no grade pops up. It was mildly annoying taking out a twelve-man squad with nothing to show for it but a fair few BP and some spines. It’s not a game breaker per se, as there is still more than enough points to go around in a mission, but the lack of consistency is strange. Then again, maybe there’s a reason for it that I’m missing.

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WELL-DESERVED CRITICISMS:

  • Stealth When You Don’t Want It: There’s nothing wrong with going full-bore into a fight. You are a cybernetically-enhanced cyborg after all, with a katana that flares electricity from end to end and can cut nearly everything. There are times where you’ll just say screw it, and start wrecking things to shreds, alerts be damned. You can do this, but be prepared to hear it from your Maverick team. At every area where stealth is an option, going the more direct route will net you a talking to from your people back at Maverick HQ. It gets annoying real fast hearing Boris or Kevin tease you or curse your misfortune, but I’m sure most folks will learn to tune it out. Besides – do well enough, and you might bypass whatever score bonus you would have gotten with the sneak route.

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CONCLUSION:

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is by far one of the first great action games of this new year. Chock full of epic scenes, amazing mech design, and breakneck pacing that doesn’t let up. But the real star here is the more than satisfying gameplay. I’ve never had this much fun slicing foes (or objects) to shreds since I shot them full of holes in Bayonetta. The flow of combat rarely stutters, rarely skips,  and is simply a divine experience that can stand on the same plateau of it’s Platinum predecessor (if not for a few inches shorter). And with all the unlockables and hidden secrets in each level, there’s always a reason to dive back in if the addicting combat doesn’t do it for you. I must say that this game is highly recommended, and definitely worth your time.

[box_light]We believe that the score is the least important part of a review. It’s tough trying to assign a numerical value to an experience. Is there really a difference between a 7.5 and an 8? Gamers place too much importance on arbitrary numbers. This is why our scores are hidden by default. Only look at them if you absolutely need a number between 1-10 to see if a game is worth your time. You can read our review guidelines here.[/box_light]

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Gameplay: 9
Story: 8
Graphics: 8
Sound: 9
Replay Value: 9
Overall: 9.5

9.5 Excellent – This game is beyond amazing–it should be a mandatory purchase for every gamer. But it has some problems that prevent it from becoming a true masterpiece.[/toggle_box]

A 23 year-old California native currently attending Mt. San Antonio College. Big fan of gaming, gadetry, anime and my girlfriend of two years.I'll hit the road on my bike when the mood hits me, and I might be one of the 5% that thought Bugs Bunny: Rabbit Rampage for the Super Nintendo was a good game.
  • http://www.geekrevolt.com/ DeShaun Zollicoffer

    Great review. I still need to finish this game. I’lll probably go back to it once I’m done with Tomb Raider.

    • http://www.destructoid.com/blogs/LegendPenguin LegendPenguin

      Thanks. It’s been fun, and I’ve yet to even bother to take it back to Blockbuster.

      -From Damion, who forgets that he has two Disqus Accounts.