It was an interesting choice for Konami to let Platinum Games develop the latest Metal Gear Solid title. It’s a spin off, so Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is more like an unique take on the widely known Metal Gear Solid video-games.
Combat in Metal Gear Rising is very different when compared to the previous entries. It favours close combat, in order to offer a more thrilling experience. Main character Raiden is equipped with his trusty Zan-tsu high-freqency blade katana. That’s quite a mouthful, but Raiden’s blade packs quite a punch.
Pressing a few buttons will result in Raiden performing some truly devastating attacks. It might all seem like button bashing, but there are some techniques that only skilled players will master. Defeating enemies isn’t exactly a walk in the park for anyone attempting to button mash their way through missions.
Enemies will react appropriately to anyone that doesn’t take Metal Gear Rising seriously. They will punish anyone trying to use the same attack combos. It’s interesting because this means players have to constantly change strategies in order to adapt to different types of enemies.
There are many enemies to fight against and each type has different attacks patterns. It’s always fun to try and find out the best way to deal with each enemy type. Raiden’s blade isn’t just used for fighting enemies by making use of the various combos Raiden has at his disposal.
Metal Gear Rising sees the inclusion of the rather unusual blade mode. Blade mode puts the player in charge of the most satisfying part of a battle – chopping up the enemy to pieces. It literally puts the player in charge of how to slice up enemies. Blade mode requires the use of energy, that is gained from various sources such as items.
If done with the right timing, Blade mode will make it possible to cut a body part or even a whole enemy to pieces. It’s fascinating to see that pulling off certain moves also gives the player a window of opportunity to make use of Blade mode, so it’s possible to cut opponents. It’s also possible to wear down enemies and cut off any glowing body parts with Blade mode.
It’s great to see how flexible Blade mode is when it comes to the different ways it’s used. Those skilled enough can even take advantage by regaining life force and energy from enemies. There is also a disturbing collectible idea that consists of gaining identity information from certain enemies – by cutting off their arms. All of this wouldn’t matter if Blade mode wasn’t implemented properly.
Fortunately it is one of the highlights from Metal Gear Rising. Pressing the left button will activate Blade mode. It’s then up to the player to use the right stick to literally cut whatever is in front of Raiden into a million pieces. The satisfaction that comes from seeing on-screen objects being sliced exactly how the player wants, is probably a worthy reason to try this video-game. Not that Metal Gear Rising is just about full on confrontations. More skilled players can sneak around and pick off enemies one by one, without raising an alarm.
Cutting up enemies to pieces is even more satisfying when fighting the bosses. Boss battles are fantastic and contain some of the most over the top villains seen in a video-game. Fighting them will require every skill that Raiden possesses. One area is often not enough for these battles. The battle ground will change throughout the course of the fight. Bosses are even more unpredictable and will change their attack patterns often to surprise the player.
It’s a shame Platinum feels the need to include so many quick time events, when it has such robust fighting mechanics. Not that quick time events end up being frustrating, but there are a few occasions where it instantly results in a game over, if failing to press a button correctly. There are plenty of checkpoints to ensure that not a significant amount of progress is lost. It’s understandable to make use of them since they more than often result in some truly impressive ninja acrobatic.
Another game mechanic that Raiden has at his disposal is Ninja Run. This power make it easier to go about the various missions. Raiden will automatically climb over any obstacles and run faster. It also is a handy way to kick start some powerful combos.
Raiden is a rather resourceful cyborg ninja and has a few other tricks up his metallic sleeve. One of them lets him easily find the path to the next objective. Not that it matters that much since each mission has a very strict pre-set path. Which is a shame, since it means that there isn’t much to explore. The missions also get shorter as the story nears the end. A rather abrupt ending too that will probably leave players eager for more. It’s obvious that Platinum focused on the fights though and that is the strong point here.
Fortunately the various fancy locations that Raiden visits do a good job of captivating the player. Specially the later areas where Raiden is made to perform from rooftop jumps and other exciting activities. Raiden can upgrade various weapons(he can purchase special weapons) and other parts, such as armour with points earned from missions. It’s worth spending points when given the opportunity after completing a mission. It improves the odds of getting through the next mission more easily and there are some nifty costumes to unlock.
Visually, Metal Gear Rising is all about the explosions and carnage when defeating enemies. It holds nothing back with the likes of high speed chases making for some really exciting moments.
The story contains plenty of amusing dialogue that will make players laugh a few times. But it is the unique take on certain topics that makes the player care about the story. It oftens question the very reason why Raiden is fighting. His need to justify the bloodshed by proclaiming it’s to protect the weak. There are even various occasions where it’s questioned if enemies are really just the typical baddies, or if there is more behind it.
Funnily enough, it’s the superb soundtrack that seems to bring all of the other elements together. This is particularly true during boss battles, where the music track slowly builds up, as the boss continues to take damage. Most of the tracks are fast paced and a perfect companion to the electrifying battles.
The story oddly enough feels somewhat short. It’s difficult to criticise it though, since it feels like the ending is a logical conclusion to Raiden’s adventure. However, there are VR missions found within missions, that players can attempt to complete. There are also tougher difficulties to tackle and each fight is scored. Fans will also enjoy seeing the various nudges to the Metal Gear Solid video-games.
It’s probably unfair to heavily penalise Metal Gear Rising for not lasting for a long time. The time spent playing it is very enjoyable and the combat mechanics are enough to make it a pleasure to hack away at enemies. The focus on fighting does mean that there is little else to do in missions. But it’s presented in such a manner that it cleverly manages to make players come back for more.
Metal Gear Rising: Revegeance is certainly an unique take on a well known series. There is plenty to enjoy in this fantastic effort from Platinum games, but it somewhat also feels like it is all over too soon.