- Game: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
- Release Date: February 19, 2013
- Publisher: Konami
- Developer: Platinum Games
- Genre: Hack-and-Slash, Action
- Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3
The Metal Gear series’ favorite cyborg ninja is back in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, and this time he takes no prisoners. Metal Gear Rising features Raiden, the white-haired cyborg from previous Metal Gear games. Raiden is working for a Colorado-based private military cooperation called Maverick Security. Since Metal Gear Solid 4, Raiden has been taking it slow by training armies and providing private security to high-ranking VIP’s around the world. The game begins with Raiden talking to his most recent employer, the Prime Minister of an unspecified African country, about their progress in ending a civil war that previously destroyed much of the country. It does not take long for this pleasant meeting to head south though, soon after the opening of the game an unknown cyborg attacks the convoy escorting the Prime Minister. Raiden’s top priority at this point is to protect the Prime Minister after being separated from him, and time is short. A man named Sundowner, who is the leader of a terrorist organization called Desperado Enterprises, kidnaps the Prime Minister just as Raiden reaches his location. Raiden chases Sundowner and eventually catches up with him on a train where he is waiting with the Prime Minister and the man who originally attacked the convoy, a cyborg named Samuel Rodriguez. Sundowner assassinates the Prime Minister and leaves Raiden to face Samuel. They battle it out on top of the train until Raiden eventually loses the fight, and his eye. A few weeks later, after Raiden has been fixed up and given an even better cyborg body, he goes in search of more information about this Sundowner and Desperado Enterprises. Thus begins the search for revenge and the urge to stop Desperado Enterprises and their cruel, torturous experiments as well as their terrorism on America and other countries.
Players will jump right into the action in Metal Gear Rising. The gameplay is somewhat typical of the average hack-and-slash, with a little more panache here and there. Utilizing two buttons, one for strong attacks and one for weak attacks, the combat is fairly simple to grasp. The one addition that is unique to this game is Blade Mode, a mode in which players will hold down a button and slow time while aiming Raiden’s blade in a free movement mode focused on an enemy and slashing them into pieces. This mode can be used on basic soldiers, bosses, and everyone in between. The harder the enemy the more difficult it is to use Blade Mode, it only becomes effective when a blue colored static covers a portion or the entirety of the enemy indicating that Blade Mode can be used. There are also other cues in which the player can press select buttons shown on the screen launching Raiden into a cinematic attack which usually ends with the cue to enter Blade Mode and kill the enemy. When an enemy is being cut up in Blade Mode, players have the opportunity to focus on a weak point and take out a specific piece of the enemy which – when grabbed – will restore Raiden’s health and energy level. Called a Zandatzu attack, this feature can be very helpful in large battles which drain Raiden’s health quickly. Health can also be gained by using Repair Nanopaste which is found throughout the game. If the energy level is too low, Blade Mode cannot be entered, but the energy can be restored by attacking and performing Zandatzu’s. This feature becomes very entertaining as the players continues to use it, but does not change or upgrade throughout the game. Alternate weapons can be equipped as they are found throughout the game’s story mode, which make combat a little more dynamic by spicing up attacks with more than just the sword. There are also side weapons such as RPG’s and grenades that can be picked up around the environment and used on enemies. These are limited though, so once they are used up players must search for more on their own.
Raiden traverses areas using Ninja Run, a mode in which Raiden will run through the level with speed and ease, sprinting and launching over obstacles and climbing walls. This mode can also be used in combat situations to deflect bullets and most projectiles from enemies while attacking with intense speed. Metal Gear Rising does not offer up a block button like most games in its genre, instead it urges players to master a more skillful way of deflecting attacks via parrying. Moving the left stick of the controller towards an enemy and pressing square or X at the correct time will cause Raiden to deflect the attack and possibly counter attack. If the parry is not preformed correctly, the attack will land on Raiden and cause damage. Combat earns XP for Raiden which can be used for upgrades on weapons, health, energy fuel cells, and combat skills. More XP is earned for specific actions such as parry’s and Zandatzu attacks in combat. Metal Gear Rising has more to it than just the basic story line, as far as gameplay goes. Virtual Reality missions can be found throughout the game and accessed at any time in the game’s menu. These missions are somewhat like challenge maps, pitting Raiden against waves of enemies and/or boss fights, earning extra XP for Raiden. There are also optional side missions that Raiden is informed about at certain points in the campaign, players can either leave them alone and continue forward or head back to the location of the optional mission, which is indicated on the map. These have no weight on the outcome of the game, they are mainly to gain XP and spend extra time exploring the environment.
The graphical content of this game is very well done. From the lighting, to the textures, to the scenery, Platinum Games showed off their ability to make a game look very beautiful. The most interesting aspect of this game and it’s environment is that everything may be cut by Raiden’s sword. Cars, buildings, boxes, and everything in between can be subject to Raiden’s prowess with a blade. The physics behind the objects being cut are rather well done as well, looking realistic in nature and not being subject to glitches and unnatural sticking to other objects. Classic alert and call sounds from the Metal Gear series are used in this title, giving it relation to previous games and making fans of the series feel right at home. The musical score is lovely and really pairs well with the action of the game. Changing in basic combat and becoming different with boss and sub-boss battles, it never feels stale or gets repetitive. The voice acting is well done to an extent, it sounds good and fits the dialog, but Raiden specifically has a very inconsistent voice. At times he has a gruff undertone to his voice and sounds very raspy in conversation but then it will change to a more normal sounding voice at random then go back. It is not a game breaking flaw, but it is very noticeable. At times the dialog can get a bit cheesy, but all in all it’s very smooth even though there is a lot of talking back and forth between Raiden and his team.
The game’s level design can feel bland at times since each level takes place in a specific area that doesn’t change much and it’s moved through. However, each specific level does change up the environment by changing the location so when looking at the game as a whole it is not an issue. The most mind-blowing aspect of Metal Gear Rising’s gameplay and visuals is the combat cutscenes in which light quick-time events take place while Raiden is attacking a boss character. These are in-depth and really draw the player into the fight as opposed to leaving them on the sidelines. The game itself is challenging, even on lower difficulties, which forces the player to use all their skill in completing the tasks set to Raiden. As hack-and-slash games are typically considered easy by the gamers who play them, it’s important to remember that this game is not easy and will require a bit of skill to complete. Nothing is ever impossible, but picking an appropriate difficulty level based on the player’s skill is important since it cannot be changed later on in the game or on the menu.
- Story/Plot: 7/10
- Gameplay: 8.5/10
- Visuals/Presentation: 8.5/10
- Length: 7-10 hours
- Replay: Moderate
- Entertainment Value: High