• Gameplay
  • Replay Value
  • Soundtrack
  • Camera
  • Boss Fights

As a huge fan of the Metal Gear franchise, when I heard about Metal Gear Solid: Rising, I was not enthused.War had changed, it was no longer about Solid Snake, covert operations and hiding in boxes. Instead it was about Raiden, cyborgs and cutting people in half to feast on their juicy insides. Even though the cutting mechanic looked immensely fun, I knew in my heart that it would be a failure of an action game. Kojima must have known this as well, so he brought in a powerhouse from the action genre to assist in developing the project. Now we have Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, the love child of Kojima Productions and Platinum Games. Oh what an unexpectedly beautiful collaboration.

Metal Gear Rising is it’s own beast. Once again you play as Raiden. The former bitchy rookie spy, now cyborg ninja has left military service and now works for the Private Security Provider, where hes been helping keep the peace in war torn nations. It’s during one of these missions that Raiden’s convoy gets attacked by a group of unknown cyborgs out to kill the Prime Minister. All things go to hell, Raiden gets his arm severed and the Prime Minister gets assassinated. After his defeat, Raiden gets an upgrade and he goes out to exact his revenge upon his foes.

The most notable differences that Rising has over the rest of the Metal Gear Franchise is that unlike its predecessors, Metal Gear Rising Revengeance has a very tongue in cheek attitude about itself. Never trying to take it self too seriously or chase its own plot holes. Even though the game is part of the Metal Gear cannon, Platinum put their mark on franchise giving us adrenaline pumping, over-the-top action with the Metal Gear universe as their playground.

Zan-DatsuMetal Gear Rising’s main draw is it’s cutting mechanic called Zan-Datsu. Sure in other action games you hit things and maybe body parts fly off, or a piece of scenery will break, but in Rising you can cut your enemy in half and tear his spine out. Activate blade mode and you can carefully dissect your enemy, severing limbs or eviscerate them and cut them into tiny renderings of triangles and bloody chunks, it is your choice. As you progress through the game the Zan-Datsu serves not only to please your inner sadist  but also as your main way to heal. There are a few boss fights that will tests your skills with the precision of your strikes, and a handful of side quests where you’ll be severing the arms of your enemies for data to unlock upgrades.

Another staple feature of Rising’s gameplay is the parry system, by pressing toward the direction of the enemy and Square( X ) at the same time your attacked Raiden will raise his sword is defense, miss your parry and you get drop kicked in the face by a robotic gorilla.  In Rising a good defense is the best offense, at higher difficulties your ability to perfect parry  will balance you between the line of  life and death. Just mashing parry will often get you stuck in some very unfavorable situations, and and imperfect dodge could just land you into another deadly blow. The combat has a great flow and feel to it, and it’s great fun when you master it, I haven’t played another game that has given me this much satisfaction in the kill.

Unfortunately it’s on these higher difficulties that the problems with Rising’s camera becomes apparent, especially as the enemies get more aggressive and start to evade and move more quickly. The camera camera freaks out in tight spaces and when you’re surrounded by enemies, locking-on can mean death. The camera causes bigger problems as it changes your perspective, which can easily throw off your parry causing rage inducing deaths.

Ripper ModeSome of the most intense moments come from Rising’s epic boss fights. The games soundtrack hits all the right notes as every boss theme is perfectly customized for the fight. I’ve always loved the various Metal Gear soundtracks, and Rising’s is no different. Rock and electronic beats blare over the sound of swords clashing only adding to the excitement of the fight, it all just seems to fit perfectly and really gets you pumped for the fights, offering some of the best boss battles in recent memory.

As you defeat them you gain their weapons like a new age Mega Man, adding them to your arsenal. Instead of allowing you to freely switch between weapons, you’re taken to a Metal Gear style menu, where the game pauses and allows you to switch out your weapons, this can only be done while standing still.

Here in lies the problem with Rising, while the cutting mechanic is well done and sword play is fluid, the rest of the combat feels limited. Raiden uses his sword as a default on Square, heavy attacks are mapped to Triangle. If you equip another weapon it replaces your heavy attack which severely limits Raiden’s abilities to do combos. The only weapon that feel really developed is the pole arm, the other weapons just hinder Rising’s otherwise superb combat.

Revengeance

Rising left me wanting more, the later parts of the game almost feel rushed and lack any real level design. My first playthrough took me around six hours, my second about five. The settings are pretty linear, but  as you cut your way through battle sequences your focus will mostly be on all the craziness going on around you to notice how drab the environments look. For some of it,  you are given the option to play stealthily, donning the series signature cardboard box.

These sequences are broken apart by codec calls which are great to listen through the first time, giving you background information on characters, battle info and general humor. These do however become too frequent and annoying in subsequent playthroughs (They can be fast forwarded through but they are still pretty annoying). Rising also has a slew (50 total with DLC) of VR Mission for you to undertake if your willing. I’ve clocked in  30 hours with Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance already and with the “Jetstream”and “Blade Wolf” DLC in April I’ll be putting in even more.

The Verdict

Metal Gear Rising Revengeance bleeds action all over the floor. If you’re looking for a hack and slash game for the new year look no further. Even though Rising’s campaign is short, it’s over the top boss battles, killer soundtrack and blade mode will keep you coming back for more. Rising does have it’s flaws, but the core mechanics of its gameplay are always fun. If you liked the demo you will love the full game.