What’s good, everyone! It’s been a pretty long time since our last review but we’re back in fine style, and considering that 2013 has a very robust release lineup, we’re going to get right into it. Today, we’re going to be discussing Konami’s most recent addition to the Metal Gear saga, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.
As regular readers of the blog know, I’m a bit of a Konami fanboy. They’re responsible for some of the most awesome games I’ve ever played in my life, from Castlevania and Contra to Metal Gear and Zone of the Enders. Hell, I was even a Yu-Gi-Oh! player for almost a decade. So when Jessica and I got to go to the Konami Gamers Night press event last year, it goes without saying that I was pretty drooly at the prospect of playing the demos for both Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and Zone of the Enders HD Collection. While ZOE is firmly established as my favorite game, I was (like many) a bit leery on the direction that MGR:R was taken in. Granted, Platinum Games has a great rep and has put out some great titles like Vanquish and Bayonetta but an established property like Metal Gear? Particularly one that’s historically very heavily stealth based? I had to see it to believe it, and when I did, all my fears were gone. After that, my hype was sufficiently built for the game’s actual release, as I had been playing the demo that was included with ZoE:HD over and over again. The prospect of owning a plasma lamp of Raiden’s sword kind of fed the hype too.
As is expected of the current-gen Metal Gear games, MGR:R offers some incredible visuals. The outdoor environments are lush while also providing a sense of warring conflict, that the player is surrounded by the feeling of trouble in paradise. Raiden himself has the “ninja-cyborg-of-doom” look down perfectly. Every little movement and facial nuance is incredibly detailed. Then again, considering how late into the current generation of gaming we are, it’s kind of hard to get good visuals wrong. Nevertheless, the sword swings, enemy movements, cinematics and accompanying audio are all extremely crisp and hampered by little to NO slow down… unless you’re going into Blade Mode in which case, the game slowing down is a core part of enjoying the experience
So, I guess I should spend some time talking about the story. Granted that this is a Metal Gear game, the assumption is that the story is a heavily convoluted mess of dismembered arms and multiple personalities. Thankfully, it’s not that terribly complicated, at least from the outset. MGR:R’s story takes place four years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, and follows the exploits of that lovable scamp, Jack Raiden. Raiden’s taken a job with a PMC called Maverick Security for the purposes of supporting his family, as any white-blooded family man would do. Maverick falls into conflict with rival PMC, Desperado Enterprises and Raiden is wounded in the conflict. After getting patched up, Maverick and Raiden must figure out and put a stop to Desperado Enterprises’s dastardly scheme. For the most part, it’s not nearly as complex as the Metal Gear Solid story line, so it’s easy to get right back into the stabbin’ and slashin’… which itself is incredibly responsive, gory, and satisfying. Movement and camera controls are perfectly responsive, which is a definite plus if you’re are familiar with the frenetic pace that’s the trademark of any of Platinum Games’s other stellar titles. Of course, the game’s highlight is “Blade Mode”, which is basically just a provided reason to chop things up into the smallest pieces possible.
Aside from being ridiculously satisfying, one of the pluses of engaging Blade Mode is that if you carve your opponents up in the right way, they drop Health and Energy for Raiden’s further forays into Blade Mode. Additionally, at the beginning of the game, the support character Doktor, the PMC’s doctor (oh yeah, that happened) asks Raiden to collect the severed left hands of certain fallen cyborgs, yet another useful application for Blade Mode. Raiden also has access to newer weapons upon defeating other bosses (Mega Man style) and is able to purchase body, technique and offensive and defensive upgrades with the Battle Points he collects from mission completion and senseless murder. Raiden also has the ability to engage something called AR mode, which is akin to Detective Mode in the recent Batman games but not as detracting from the imagery, which was a complaint that many players of Arkham Asylum had.
Unfortunately, the game is on the short side but does prove to be quite challenging, especially after beating the game the first time and unlocking “Very Hard” and “Revengeance” difficulty settings. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a highly entertaining game that while a little repetitive, never manages to overstay its welcome. My only real gripe with the game is that the commands for performing the unlocked techniques is not really clear at any point in the game, so you’ll find yourself spending your hard earned BP on new attacks that you find yourself wanting to use but unable to. All things considered, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a genuinely satisfying gaming experience.