Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review (PS3)
Raiden is back. Yes, that character you didn’t want to have in Metal Gear Solid 2, but ended up loving, is back, this time taking sole centre stage in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Make what you will of the subtitle; Revengeance is Metal Gear with a difference, and one hell of a fantastic game.
Unlike other Metal Gear games, where sneaking and tactical espionage take precedence, Revengeance makes it pretty clear from the outset these elements are secondary to kicking ass, with spectacular results. Half-man, half-cyborg Raiden comes equipped with his familiar high frequency blade that can cut through pretty much anything, in the right circumstances.
Revengeance’s cast of enemies are mostly half-human cyborgs, the rest purely robotic, and the cyborgs have inside them what Raiden needs to keep fuelled and energized. Battle engagement consists of quick attacks (Square) or strong attacks (Triangle), or combinations of the two.
Connecting attacks cause damage but also fuels the energy cell meter in order to activate ‘Blade Mode’ (Hold L1). The bullet-time-esque Blade Mode slows down everything but Raiden, leaving you swing your blade vertically or horizontally at whatever is in sight, often leading to severed limbs, hindering/destroying your opponents in the process. Sounds pretty graphic, yes? Well, Revengeance can be quite graphic at times, these moments in particular, but there is a method to the madness.
Blade Mode allows Raiden to pinpoint where to slice open an opponent for their energy, which is then spectacularly ripped out after a touch of the designated QTE button on screen. It all flows fantastically well, and the learning curve builds you to tackle more and more people at once, but every battle is a challenge in its own right. Fans of the previous Platinum releases Bayonetta and Vanquish should take note, as variations of both games’ combat mechanisms are used supremely well here.
For those worried about the different gameplay approach compared to other Metal Gears, do not despair. Interspersed with the incredible combat are Metal Gear hallmarks that made the series a household name to begin with.
Raiden is still equipped with the familiar radar map, but not only that, but the ‘alert mode’ is retained from previous games. Should you remain unseen, a simple sneak behind and tap of the circle button executes an enemy, satisfyingly and brutally. He is also equipped with ‘Ninja Run’, an infinite ability that will automatically jump or dive when required, leaving you just to navigate where to run.
Also making a welcome return is the cardboard box to hide and sneak in. Raiden’s view can be toggled into a sensor view, revealing items boxes/enemies previously hidden to the naked eye. Very similar to the Arkham series’ Detective Mode, this view is also used to navigate some areas which are pitch black but littered with enemies. It works magnificently well, and you find yourself quickly adapting to the ever changing demands of the surroundings.
As is also customary with the Metal Gear series, there are plenty of bosses, all providing a real challenge and each one is unique. Finally how could any Metal Gear be so without VR Missions? Starting with the basics (also serving as great training for those that feel the need to brush up on their fighting skills), these quickly move onto trying to beat the game’s times, and then your own. Highly addictive stuff indeed. All this is accompanied by the amazing soundtrack, which is more of a fast-paced metal style than the dramatics of the mainstay series.
One of the requirements of Hideo Kojima himself when he handed over this once-cancelled title to Platinum Games was to have all of the above running at 60 frames per second. That box can be ticked as 100% successful, as Metal Gear Rising looks fantastic and runs with no issues. Raiden looks big and bold on the screen; the attention to detail is incredible, the clarity is perfect, even with so much going on. The sensor mode is a very cool function, and also looks fantastic.
Although not directed by Kojima, there are definitely traces of his trademark coolness that oozes from the characters. The narrative is also very strong, although at times Raiden nearly crossed into Christian Bale ‘I am Batman’ territory. The amount of storytelling via Codec is significantly less than your usual Metal Gear game; this is a game that is generally less plot-heavy and complicated, but no less gripping and exciting.
It’s difficult to find anything wrong with Revengeance. It looks fantastic, the mix of action and stealth complement each other perfectly, and even once the teen amount of hours are clocked and the adventure is over, there is still reason to go back for more. One minor issue I did have with the first couple of bosses was adapting to the initial jump in difficulty, but it soon becomes second nature. Even when you do die (it happens), you’ll soon be shouting along “Raiden?! RAIDEN!!!!!”
Hideo Kojima was completely justified in giving Platinum Games the chance to propel Raiden in his own solo game. They have delivered with aplomb and then some. Revengeance is totally refreshing, exciting, and even breathtaking in places. There are a lot of ‘wow’ moments to be had by all who experience Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. You’d better make sure you are among them.
About Kevin Kissane (Agent_Prince)
Kevin is a 32 year old self-confessed addicted gamer since the tender age of.... as long as he can remember. From early years on Granny’s Garden on the BBC Micro, Dizzy on the ZX Spectrum (128k, no less), and Pitfall on the Atari 2600, all the way through five further generations of console gaming. Now he wastes (citation needed) his hours on FIFA, or anything with a great plot/intense action. Believes Enslaved: Odyssey to the West to be an unsung masterpiece.