So is it Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance a good game? Simply put, Yes! But is it "Metal Gear Solid" good? We break it down for you on our Metal Gear Rising Review
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was a different game when it was first announced by Kojima back in 2009. It was called Metal Gear Solid: Rising and sure it featured Raiden as the main protagonist and it was set in the same time frame/universe as Revengeance, but many things changed when they handed over the reins to Platinum Games. During it's development at Kojima Productions the team that was behind Rising met with difficulties in developing a Metal Gear Solid based only on swordplay, so they cancel it. Luckily Platinum Games picked it up and since they had experience with action-games such as Bayonetta, they were the perfect choice for this game.
So is it Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance good? Simply put, Yes! But is it Metal Gear Solid good? Hmm... The story in Revengeance, as I said, has Raiden as a main protagonist and it is set four years after the events of Guns of Patriots. The world changed after the fall of The Patriots and the use of cyborg tech has increased dramatically inside the PMCs. Raiden itself is part of Maverick Security Consulting, a private military company, which at the beginning of the game is tasked with protecting an African Prime Minister. With no surprise the convoy is attacked, the PM is killed and Raiden is left for dead after the fight with "Jetstream" Sam.
Fortunately Raiden is picked up by other members of Maverick SC and goes into deep cybernetic enhancement. Fully enhanced with a new cybernetic body he tracks down the Desperado group, which "Jetstream" Sam is part of, on the country of Abkhazia and from there the story picks up, but it really doesn't go anywhere. Raiden seeks revenge/vengeance, ergo the name Revengeance, but during the whole game this grows and becomes more of a story about international conspiracies, war on terror etc. like the other MGS games sotry, but here it's isn't that compelling or engaging. In the past MGS games, the casts of characters, good or bad, were memorable, but here no one it's worth mentioning. Raiden itself isn't an interesting character like Snake was. Sure he has a cool background story, that of being a child soldier, and during the game you can see the different effects his story has on him, but once again, nothing memorable. A missed opportunity if I might say.
Clearly Rising's story isn't its strong point. Its strong point is clearly the combat and let me tell you that you are in for a treat. Platinum Games has experience with action games, if you guys remember how amazing Bayonetta was, then you'll know what to expect here. The action is fast paced and very engaging. Many action games become repetitive after playing it for hours, but Rising isn't one of them. The combat has a great flow and offers great satisfaction. Stringing light and heavy attacks into combos and slashing down cyborgs troops, giant gorilla looking robots, raptor looking robots etc. gives you a great sense of satisfaction. The most annoying thing, at first, is the lack of a proper block button. Usually these type of games, have a dedicated button for block, but in Rising there isn't one. You 'block' by parrying enemy attacks and at first , until you learn enemies attack patterns, this can become kind of a nuisance. You have to press the light attack button and push the left stick towards the enemy exactly at the time he's attacking to successfully parry his attack. And as I said this can become really annoying since there maybe many types of enemies attacking you and since there is not a proper indicator when an enemy is going to attack. Maybe not something like the one Arkham Asylum/City had, but there should have been something!
Another problem I've had with the game was that there wasn't a proper learning curve lets say. What I mean is that many moves Raiden can execute aren't displayed while playing the game and there aren't proper scenarios where this or that move should be used to continue. For example I didn't learn about the evade move done till I was near the end of the game. Also the upgrades or the new combos you unlock by buying them, are only displayed on the menu and not directly in the game. This somehow breaks the pace of the game, for me at least.
So yeah, Rising is a fast paced action game, but what are the things that set it apart from the competition, sure if there are any? Well the boss fights are pretty epic, but I will not spoil them for you. The same thing can be said for the set-pieces. I mean how can jumping from rocket to rocket and in the end slashing a helicopter in pieces not be fricking EPIC? And there are many many more moments like this in the game. But what I think makes Rising truly uniques and special is the Blade Mode and Zandatsu. Raiden has a blade that can cut through virtually anything (well not everything!) much like Goemon had in the Lupin series, where he could cut pillars, tanks, cars and even entire building with it. Activating Blade Mode slows time and a 3D plane appears on the target along with a cutting line of your blade. Your goal is to aim and rotate it until it intersects with a red square embedded in your opponent's body. Successfully slicing through the square starts Zandatsu, Raiden's special move where he grabs and crush the energized spine, instantly recharging your health and fuel cells.
Blade Mode is fantastic. Not only it offers an epic level of gruesome but it also offers a brief moment of relax and zen during intense moments of battle. The special move Zandatsu changes for each enemy and each time is as satisfying as the last time, maybe even more!
Now being a Metal Gear game, you would expect many cut-scenes and here there are many of them, well not as much as Guns of Patriots had, but still many. Usually during cut-scenes happen things that are very difficult to do in-game, meaning that they are pre-rendered and the developers can go bananas, but this isn't the case in Rising. Sure what happen in cut-scenes here can make Michael Bay somehow green with envy, but what happens during game time can surpass even the most amazing of the cut-scenes, especially during the boss fights. The whole hell breaks loose, explosions everywhere, debris everywhere and limbs flying in every direction! Yes, Rising is pretty EPIC!
Boss fights have always been a part of the Metal Gear series and Rising is no exception. Each boss fight is unique where you need to adapt you style by watching the boss attack patterns and counter them with your right moves. After defeating each boss, where you end them with Zandatsu, you get their weapon. So Raiden apart from his trusty sword can also wield a secondary weapon. Cool, right? Well no, cause wielding a secondary weapon removes your heavy attack ergo you can't do combos with your sword. Another big problem with secondary weapon is how you choose them. In other games changing weapons is just a click of a button away, here you must open the menu, change it and accepting, then you can use it. Why?! Strange design choice...
Rising has an economy system, where you earn currency by slicing and dicing the enemies, executing Zandatsu etc. With this currency you can buy different upgrades, blades, moves, costumes etc. This whole system increases the replay value of the game dramatically, since you can unlock everything one the first playthrough. Helping also in the replay value is the whole collectibles system and VR missions, which you unlock by finding terminals through the story.
Visually Rising sometimes is stunningly beautiful and at times is just dull. What I mean is that during the boss fights and some of the most intense fights, it looks amazing, but most of the time you'll pass the time traversing dull looking corridors, sewers, office floors etc. Also some of the textures looks total rubbish. The character models and the animations, on the other hand, are just fantastic. At the start of the game Raiden looks very cool, but after the enhancement, he looks like a total badass, I mean just look at him! The animations are just perfect and helping is the super steady frame rate. But the camera, at times, can ruin all your fun and I just wish they could have worked a little more on that.
In the sound department Rising does an amazing job too, mixing vocal tracks with hard rock music that pushes you, the player, to be a total badass. Also amazing are the sound effect like the clings/clangs of the swords, cutting through flesh and metal etc. You truly feel like you're in the battle, that you are slashing and cutting, you are immersed in that world!
So is Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance a great game and should you buy it? Yes, although it has its problems like it hasn't an amazing story and cast of characters like the other MGS games had, but what it has is an amazing gameplay that will keep you hooked and engaged all the way through the end of the first, second, third playthrough. And should you buy it? Yes, you would do yourself a favour :)