Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review

Developer(s): Platinum Games

Publisher(s): Konami

Console(s): PlayStation 3, Xbox 360

Genre: Action Hack and Slash

Release Dates: February 19, 2013 (NA)/ February 21, 2013 (JP, PS3 Only)/ February 22, 2013 (EU)/ February 26, 2013 (AU)

Player(s): Single Player

Rating: M (Blood&Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language)

-Marcus Lawrence

Lighting Fast, Hack and Slash Samurai Action

Unsurprisingly, I love Metal Gear Rising’s hack and slash gameplay. As a huge fan of the action hack and slash genre, I went into Revengeance with such high hopes and you know what? My expectations for the game were met and I was treated to a wild ride featuring Raiden from the Metal Gear Solid series. While Revengeance is considered a spin off to the Metal Gear series, it is at least in the same universe; thus making the plot canon.

The story takes place four years after the events of Guns of the Patriots or MGS4. Raiden is now working for a PMC group called Maverick Enterprises to support his family. The game starts off with Raiden in an unknown African country that is presumably recovering from a civil war. Out of nowhere, a group of cyborgs working for Desperado Enterprises attacks and kills the African Prime Minister. Raiden is also mortally injured during the attack by Jetstream Sam, who serves as the rival throughout the game. So let’s say you don’t know anything about Metal Gear, Revengeance does a good job of focusing more on Raiden’s story than anything from past installments. Sure there may be hints dropped but nothing to make newcomers scratch their heads in bewilderment. You’re better off focusing on the combat since Platinum Games did a spectacular job with it.

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There are two kinds of hack and slash games out there. One which rewards you for chaining combos together (ex. Devil May Cry) and then you have the ones like Revengeance here. Instead of spending all of my time trying to reach a new high combo, the game forced me to learn how to parry and counter right from the start. Had I not learned how to parry correctly, I probably wouldn’t have made it past the first serious boss. In fact, I know a lot of my friends couldn’t even beat the bladewolf, and he was maybe half an hour to an hour into the game. It goes without saying that this game is tough and rightfully so. The parrying is crucial to keep Raiden alive especially during those epic but challenging boss fights. Not only can parries save your life, but it also sets enemies up to be counterattacked and the potential to use Zandatsu.

However, before I get into what Zandatsu stands for, I first have to explain the entertaining blade mode. By using standard sword attacks, people can defeat the enemy cyborgs, but why just defeat them when you can slice your foes to pieces? That, my friend, is where blade mode comes in handy. By holding the L1 button (or LT trigger on the 360), Raiden goes into a sword stance, and a visible line can be seen. This line determines where Raiden will swing his sword; be it horizontal, vertically or just whatever direction the blade will cut. Using the blade mode at the correct time means a slow-mo effect can occur, allowing more time to precisely cut foes or just to go nuts and cut the enemies into hundreds of little pieces. Blade mode isn’t just used to cut cyborgs into ribbons; it is also needed to properly perform a crucial move.

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Remember when I mentioned Zandatsu? The word literally means “Cut and Take” from the Japanese language. I think by now you could see where Zandatsu plays a part in Revengeance. When foes are weak and the blade mode is used, a red box will appear somewhere on said foe’s body. By slicing this red box in two, Raiden can grab the vital fluids within and heal himself as well as recharge the blade mode gauge. Zandatsu can be done to almost every enemy; be it on the ground, in the air or even sliding. Zandatsu is a blast to use, and I got a real kick out of using it.

Throughout the entire campaign, Raiden doesn’t have to do any sneaking whatsoever. I mean why would you sneak when you can cause so much carnage with a blade? And then I realized I could do plenty of damage even while sneaking. Raiden has an ability called Ninja Run which allows him to sprint over objects automatically. I bet you are wondering how ninja run helps with stealth. I don’t even think stealth is the proper word here, so let’s go with prey hunting. Just as it sounds, Raiden is the predator and the enemies are the prey. By using the ninja run, Raiden can run up behind foes and perform what is called Ninja Kill. These abilities can be done either behind someone or above them, and the only time you can get caught is if another enemy spots you. There were moments where I didn’t actively partake in combat; I just assassinated all the enemies in silence.

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Aside from the use of sub-weapons (rockets, grenades etc.), combat mostly revolves around the blade. Additional main weapons can be obtained by defeating bosses, but I stuck with the high-frequency blade throughout both playthroughs. At the end of each mission, a score is tallied up by how well you performed. Raiden and his weapons can even be customized to suit the needs of a player. I have my blade maxed out to the fullest and Raiden is sporting a wicked black and red cyborg suit. There are a total of 8 missions to complete, but sadly, the game only takes 4-5 hours to beat. Besides the campaign, there are VR missions to complete, but that’s all the game really offers. Replay value is very low here unless you are like me and enjoy this type of game with a passion.

Metal Gear Rising gets a lot of things right even for a spin-off. The combat is engaging and challenging, newcomers won’t feel put off with a confusing storyline and the blade mode has to be one of the best game mechanics I’ve used. That being said, Revengeance does come with some faults like most games. The voice acting isn’t really all there, and at some moments, I had to shake my head. Environments are often bland and repetitive, never offering anything exciting until destruction befalls the screen. Not only did I have to fight against cyborgs but the game’s camera itself. I don’t like having to babysit a camera especially during battle, and even through the lock-on system helps; it doesn’t solve the problem entirely.

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Pros: 

  • Amazing combat action
  • Blade mode is a fun and useful tool during battles
  • Intense boss fights with rocking music to boot
  • Plot actually works for this title
  • Multiple difficulties to try out

Cons:

  • Very short campaign (Equals out to 4 hours)
  • Camera system can’t keep up with the action
  • Environments are bland
  • Most of the voice actors were terrible in my honest opinion

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a very fun hack and slash title that can be experienced by Metal Gear fans or rookies to the series. I personally just wish the game lasted longer than 4 hours. DLC will be arriving soon, so Revengeance still has some life in it. Platinum Games did a very good job on this title, and hopefully a sequel will come to fruition with them at the helms once again.

Verdict: 8.5/10

Price Value: I can’t in good conscience offer this game to anyone other than hack and slash and Metal Gear fans. Because of the 4 hour limit, $60 might be a bit much. Everyone else should wait for a price drop.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Launch Trailer

The PlayStation 3 version was used to review this game.

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