METAL GEAR RISING: REVENGEANCE.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a hack n’ slash videogame which first debuted in the E3 and was part of a Konami Project featuring the cyborg-Raiden from Metal Gear Solid 4. In fact, the game was supposed to take place before the events of MGS4 (To understand how he got his new body and how he rescued Sunny from the hands of The Patriots). Later, the project got canned, but reopened when Platinum Games decided to keep with the game. They totally remade the game: they used their own engine, they remade the gameplay and they created a new story (With the supervision of Hideo Kojima so that they didn’t screw anything). The story wasn’t a prequel anymore; in fact, it took place four years after Metal Gear Solid 4. The game was released on February between the 19th and the 26th for the Xbox360 and the Playstation3. A PC version was in work, but there’s no word of mention about it yet. Also, the 360 version for Japan got canned, so it is a Ps3 exclusive there.
We’ve mentioned already that this game takes place after Metal Gear Solid 4. Four years have passed since the end of SOP (Sons of the Patriots), and Raiden is now part of a private military company called Maverick Securities. PMC’s are the new war machine, as they’ve split and formed numerous factions across the world.
The game begins in Africa, after Maverick Securities have helped restoring peace in this country. A philosopher, talkative Raiden is chatting with the Prime Minister, when they’re attacked by an unknown samurai – then a whole bunch of soldiers from an unidentified PMC -.
The Prime Minister is kidnapped, so Raiden cuts his way through him. Unfortunately he arrives too late, and the Prime Minister gets killed by the PMC leader: Sundowner; then, screaming revenge for it, he battles the unknown samurai (whose name would be revealed minutes later: Jetstream Sam). Against all odds, Raiden is easily defeated and loses an arm and an eye in the process. Sam spares his life and retreats, Maverick (The leader of Maverick Securities, a cliché-but-friendly Russian) then arrives at the scene and rescues Raiden.
(Let us dance...we'll drink coffee later!)
Weeks after, Raiden; with a new full cyborg body (The game references this as “Black Raiden”, and the vanilla version was “White Raiden”) courtesy of The Doktor (The replacement for Otacon, a clever German part of Maverick’s) follow the lead of one of Sundowner’s captain: Mistral. Helped by Maverick’s Securities, he’ll ensure Desperado Enforcement (The PMC behind the murder of the Prime Minister) won’t hurt anybody ever again. He’s seeking revenge. He’s seeking vengeance. He’s seeking Revengeance.
One thing we must clear before continue: This is Platinum Games we’re talking about. Not Konami, nor Kojima Productions. Forget the half-an-hour cut scenes with rich details (and sometimes unnecessary things) and high-value productions. The longest cut scene here lasts for fifteen minutes. But cut scenes don’t make a story. People looking for a MGS4-story like will be disappointed. However, with a more open-minded approach, things are different.
The story revolves around revenge, but it also shares its hold of political controversies surrounding war, the use of children as potential weapons and soldiers, and the War economy as an important part of human-life and capitalism. Raiden keeps discovering conspiracy after conspiracy the more he progresses through the story. Some of these things are poorly addressed, mind you. The war economy thing was muddled and hardly explained (not that it is difficult to understand, but still). The Desperado Enforcement motives weren’t clear enough; sometimes they tried too hard to explain their actions, when it would have been far easier admit that they simply enjoy the excitement born in chaos and destruction. But then there’s some highlights: Raiden’s personal story through this game gets expanded, his psyche questioned and his actions crossing the line sometimes: all that makes up for a great character, and, by far, the main character interesting storyline makes it up for some contradictory things regarding Desperado’s. This is the Raiden you know from Metal Gear Solid 4, but also a new Raiden, a Raiden hidden deep within his past. (Too many Raidens!) You’ll end up playing with two different characters, even though they share the same body.
Now there are some crazy plot twists coming. I personally enjoyed these, although they could have done a better job explaining them. Platinum Games is more focused on gameplay here than story, so that’s a problem sometimes. But in these regards, I thought they made a brilliant job by tricking the player with the plot.
While I can say it is not greatest plot ever (And it does not reach Metal Gear Solid story quality either, although sometimes it is as bizarre), everything was set up perfectly, and there’s enough reason to keep the player motivated and keep him guessing what will come next. But a shame as it is: the main story of Revengeance is not as interesting and clever as Raiden’s, which sadly detracts from the game.
- A 7.5/10
The gameplay is the meat of Revengeance. Mainly, the game works as a simple, basic hack n’ slash. You’ll receive a score every time when you finish a fight, and that score will award you with points. The points are used to purchase new movements and combos, skins for Raiden or new weapons. Hack n’ slash lovers will find themselves comfortable here.
Now there’s this “Blade mode”, which is where the hype surrounding this game came from. You see, Raiden has the ability to enter in that mode, on which he’ll ready his sword. The player now, by using the right stick, can make a cut on whatever direction he feels like, and Raiden will slash through. Almost every single object and can be cut through by using this. And when I say that I really mean it; except for walls and things that prevent the player from going too far away from where they’re supposed to go, Raiden can cut at will. Cars, enemies, bridges, doors, robots…everything! And you can cut as much as you want (As long as you don’t burn your energy bar entirely, but this is easily replenished), leaving a table into simple, small wood fragments. Due to limitations of consoles, the fragments tend to vanish after a while, because the game got a seriously drop of FPS when cutting too much.
The game runs on smooth 60fps in both versions. It does not fall from 40 fps, which is very great. The action is over-the-top sometimes, and really captures the feel of being Raiden in Metal Gear Solid 4 (Remember when he disposed all those Geckkos after meeting with Vamp?). It is also a Platinum Games signature, and they’ve really captured it here. Jumping through missile to missile in order to reach an unreachable helicopter, or jumping across buildings while a whole army is chasing you; or just a mere 1 on 1 battle against a heavy enemy. These are a few examples among the whole that you’ll find when playing.
(Feel that? Feel how my blade penetrates you?)
Now the Blade Mode is implemented very well into the game; it is not a cosmetic feature. Blade Mode will allow Raiden to cut their enemies in half (Or how you would like to cut them), but every single enemy has a “sweet spot” that, when cut, reveals their energy spine, on which Raiden can grab and absorb, replenishing his life and energy bar. Blade Mode is used to attack certain parts too when facing harder enemies. There’s a boss in the game, for example, that uses a spear. By hurting that boss, there’s a moment that she’ll reveal her sweet spot in the spear, so you can cut it and leave her defenseless for a brief moment. There are tons of moments on which you’ll be using this feature, and it certainly gives uniqueness to the game.
Not everything is hack n’ slash, though. There are some variations to the core gameplay through the game. For example: the Stealth. Yes, indeed, there’s stealth in this game. (In fact, some iconic things from Metal Gear are present here: such as the cardboard box, on which Raiden will hide under, àla Solid Snake). It is a shame that these parts are not as well developed as the combat, because sometimes it truly feels tacked-on. One can argue that this game is hack n’ slash, and one should only judge the core material. But if you implement something on it, gamers expect you to do it right. You see, when the game feels like it, the stealth part can be satisfying: a badass-ninja experience. However, when the game does not feel like it, it is frustrating. Perhaps you’ll run to the back of an enemy in order to kill him, but he just simply sees you. He has eyes in the neck or something. The vigilance cameras are dumb as hell, they’ve got a point laser when they move, and they’ll only discover you if you run across that laser. I’ve jumped just in front of the camera lens and it did not see me, because I did not touch the laser. There are good and bad things about the Stealth, and it is a shame, because it could have brought the “infiltration atmosphere” from previous Metal Gear to this hack n’ slash game, which would have been pretty unique. Another bad example is killing an enemy who’s just behind another enemy. Sometimes the second one will catch up the fact that his buddy just got killed; others, he just simply ignores the “URKHHHHHHHHHH!” scream behind him and keeps doing his thing.
There’s nothing really more to say about the gameplay itself; it is a hack n’ slash game at heart with the innovative Blade Mode and several sections of stealth. Now there is a section on which you are not controlling Raiden; and while this part is certainly interesting, it is pretty, pretty short. Makes you think why Platinum Games didn’t keep using this for further chapters.
But mind you: what this game does in gameplay, it does awesomely right.
- A 8/10.
The game is pretty short. You’ll clock around 5 to 8 hours to finish the campaign (And just for the record, we played on the hardest difficulty available right from the beginning), which is a bit disappointing. There’s little motive to replay the game itself, except for achievement hunting or beating the game in a harder difficulty (Which is actually pretty hard, considering every difficult changes a lot of enemies patterns, and puts more foes in Raiden’s way).
There is also tons of collectibles in-game that will unlock several things through the customization mode for Raiden (Where you do spend the points earned in the campaign). There’s an oddly side quest which involves cutting the left hands of certain enemies. Then there’s some die hard soldier fans of Solid Snake which are well hidden in cardboard boxes (When you find them you get to hear a hilarious comment from one of your buddies).
(Dat Raiden ass)
There’s also 20 hidden data storages for you to find them. And then there’s the VR Missions (Yes, like the original Metal Gear Solid and Metal Gear Solid 2). Now the VR Missions can be pretty challenging and, while they are not as unexpected and interesting as MGS’ VR Missions, you can sunk an hour or two (or three!) aiming for the best record in every single mission. If you really like the game, you’ll want to try everything, so by replaying the game a second time and doing VR missions and the cardboard box thing, you can add up to 15-20 hours. There’s absolutely nothing else to do after it.
And it is a shame, because the game lets you wanting more.
- A 6/10.
The bottom line: whether you want to consider this game a Metal Gear game or not, it’s up to you. It has its share of iconic things from the saga, and supposedly the story takes place after Metal Gear Solid 4 with several references to all Metal Gear Solid games. But it also can get weird sometimes, and the fact that they focused more on Raiden than the story itself makes it up for some plot holes and uninteresting characters. If you are looking for a Metal Gear Solid experience, you won’t find it here. This is Metal Gear Rising. This works different; in another level, providing a different experience. It’s up to you whether you want to consider it as a Metal Gear or not. But bear this in mind: if you love hack n’ slash games in general, you have to play it. If you want to try hack n’ slash games, you have to play it. If you don’t like this genre, this game won’t change your mind. Just only…wait for a price drop. If only the game was longer, it would have been easily far greater. But for what it gives, it is worth it.
FINAL SCORE: 7'2/10
BOTTOM LINE: -> Like Hack n's lash? Buy it.
-> Don't really know? Rent it.