Metal Gear Rising: Revengence is the newest iteration in Hideo Kojima’s critically acclaimed Metal Gear franchise. Originally shown at E3 2010 under the guise of Metal Gear Solid: Rising, the project has been four long years in the making. After the Rising project fell apart however, Hideo Kojima commissioned illustrious action game developer Platinum Games to pick up the pieces and create something worth playing. The question now is, does it make the “cut”? Well, I would certainly say so. Platinum Games has managed to perform a rare feat in the video game industry; successfully continuing and staying true to a series while also expanding the franchise into new territory.
The game takes place around four years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4. Raiden, a member of “Private Security Provider” Maverick, is on a routine escort of the prime minister of a small African country. This man is known as N’Mani. However, the team is ambushed by enemy cyborgs. Raiden continues to fight them off until N’Mani is killed. After a quick clash with a cyborg known only as Jetstream Sam, Raiden is left wounded both mentally and physically. After being given a new cyborg body, Raiden deploys once more to stop the coup’d’etat. What follows is an action packed series of events that leaves Raiden challenging and conflicting with his own ordeals, struggling to carve his own path while doing what he feels is right. The story is short and sweet, but definitely worthy of a Metal Gear game. What disappointing for fans however is the near complete lack of familiar faces!
Rising’s gameplay is of the classic Platinum Games essence, fast split-second-to-think combat. The basis of combat relies on five things, a steady mix between heavy and light attacks, knowing when and how to block or parry and a little something else we’ll come to later. If you’re too early on a block attempt, you have a pretty good chance of taking a hit. If you’re too late, it basically heeds the same result. On harder difficulties this requires you to first tilt the left stick in the direction of the enemy you want Raiden to block. Enemies glow orange to red before they’re about to attack though, so this makes timing a whole lot easiers. It can be a tough system at first, but you’ll find yourself getting used to it quite quickly.
Perhaps one major flaw however, in the manner that this system relies on the irection direction of your camera to gauge what direction you should push the stick in. This might sound fine, but at times the camera itself has a mind of its own, this over-complicates parrying which can hurt you, and this is problem is even more problematic on higher difficulties. Not only that, but it can drastically impede your ability to see enemies preparing to gut you. It isn’t problematic that often, but it can definitely lead to some frustrating moments.
Finally, the fifth but most important tool in Raiden’s arsenal, blade mode. Blade mode is a highlight of this game, allowing you to slow down time and cut down your enemies with precision. This is extremely important because you must use it to perform the Zan-Datsu technique; to cut and take the spines of your enemies to replenish Raiden’s health and fuel cells. Your fuel cell bar depletes the longer you’re in blade mode, making it a resource you need to manage carefully at times. There’s also an upgrade system which allows players to upgrade Raiden’s robotic body and weapons, this includes increasing his health, his fuel cells, and even new attacks. You also have access to a plethora of secondary weapons. From missile launchers that home in on their target to 3D picture frames that display virtual woman to distract guards. Though, I never found myself using or appreciating this additional arsenal particularly often.
The environments are typical of a Metal Gear game, though there isn’t much of spectacle to behold. Platinum Games went all out on boss battles though. These spectacular showdowns alone make it worth picking up. They’re extremely well crafted an enjoyable and success against these seemingly insurmountable foes makes you feel like you’re unstoppable.
Each bossfight and encounter is backed by solid audio design, the soundtrack in particular provides appropriately intense ‘fight’ music, that subtly amps up the action and benefits the games atmosphere! The sound track is not like what you’d expect from a Metal Gear game though, it’s an extremely creative twist on Metal Gear’s musical style. There are many different songs, with different vocalists and instruments, songs are generally fast paced to match the graceful chaos Raiden unleashes onto the games world. Every boss fight has a specific track tailored to it, and certain segments are cued to certain actions and phases throughout. This creates dynamic well versed environments to toss Metal Gear Rays and chop up robotic dogs in!
Perhaps Rising’s largest shortcoming is its length, if you just play to beat the game and nothing more, you’re looking at six to eight hours worth of game time. It tries to make up for this through extensive re-playability through collectibles, costumes, weapons, and New Game plus. There are also thirty or so VR missions to conquer. There is plenty here to keep you going for thirty or more hours.
Overall, this game is a blast to play, regardless of if you’re purely an action game or a Metal Gear fan. As I said before, Platinum Games accomplished something that isn’t done often and they should be commended for it, even more so with such a small amount of development time. I am certainly looking forward to a sequel!