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Metal Gear Rising: Revengance Review: The Role Raiden Deserved From the Start
It’s been four years since the events of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, and not much has changed. With the Patriots long gone, it seemed that the Metal Gear universe would know peace. Or, so we thought.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengance takes the another day, another conflict approach similar to the other installments in the series. This time around you play as Raiden, and not the meek, mild, and ever so annoying Raiden from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Oh no, this time Raiden is a complete badass, and yes, even more so than in Guns of the Patriots.
Now it doesn’t seem that way at first. At first glance, it appears that hard times have fallen on Raiden, as he is forced to work security detail for an unnamed African client. This is obviously a huge departure from the Guns of the Patriots Raiden that was fighting alongside Solid Snake and slaying vampires. However, things quickly go sour and the opportunity for Raiden to shine arises. And shine he does.
Defense and offense must be balanced or Raiden won’t last very long. Blocking takes center stage in combat, and timing is everything. If a block is executed at the perfect time, then Raiden breaks his opponents guard, which allows him to switch to offense and deal some big damage (for footage of Rising’s combat, click here).
The sheer variety of enemies and the different combinations in which they appear keeps the combat fresh. Varied abilities and combos are needed against different enemies, forcing players to give at least a bit of thought to their strategy when entering every fight. The A.I. can also dodge and block Raiden’s attacks which adds another interesting component to combat.
Boss battles are very well done. They are intense and action packed ordeals that really test the player’s skills and abilities. Each boss fight has a number of phases that keep the lengthy battles engaging and keeps players on their toes.
The most interesting part of Revengance’s combat system is Blade Mode. Blade mode is essentially a slow motion combat mode, in which players have full control over Raiden’s blade. Weakened enemies can be cut up using Blade Mode, and severing certain body parts prevents enemies from using weapons, or more importantly, allows Raiden to use zan-datsu, which exposes a enemy cyborg’s power source and allows Raiden to replenish his life gauge and Blade Mode meter.
Blade Mode is by far much more important in boss fights. Utilizing it correctly allows Raiden to deal large amounts of damage to bosses in a relatively short amount of time, as well as defend against certain attacks from bosses. Mastering it, along with the block mechanic, is the key to survival.
Aside from the advantages that blade mode confers in combat, there is a certain amount of satisfaction that it brings. There is nothing quite like cutting up parts of Metal Gear Ray into a hundred little pieces: something that I have been wanting to do since Sons of Liberty.
Despite how superb the combat is, it’s not without its flaws. This game never tells you how to do anything. A short tutorial is provided before the game starts, but it’s not really sufficient to learn even the most basic of moves, which can make the first mission a bit frustrating.
The camera is by far its biggest problem. Combat is hectic, and at times becomes extremely chaotic. The camera will often focus itself in a weird angel which causes Raiden to be lost in the thick of things, making blocking much more difficult than it needs to be.
Furthermore, the use of secondary weapons, which can be earned after defeating bosses, can hinder the flow of combat. Sure they provide a number of different combinations by replacing Raiden’s heavy attack, but in the end they feel a bit clunky and not as smooth as executing combos with the primary blade.
The plot is where the game fails the most. It’s much more simple than the plots of previous installments in the Metal Gear franchise, and definitely has the Metal Gear feel, but still comes off as bland, unimaginative, and terribly structured. There are a few stand out points that make interesting comments on the nature of war and violence, but these are few and far between.
At times it feels like Revengence doesn’t know what it wants to be. It’s an action game by nature, but there are points where the game encourages you to take a stealthy approach which really slows down the fast pace that it encourages to begin with. The occasional lengthy cutscene can also bring the game to a screeching halt. It tries to pay homage to its predecessors but it just doesn’t end up working.
Despite clocking in at only five or so hours, Revengance is a very good game. The fast paced and intense action battles, coupled with an excellent soundtrack and amazing visuals, make for one hell of an experience. A number of VR missions, in-game collectibles, and a formidable challenge on its highest difficulty add some definite replay value. However, one can’t help to question such a high price tag for such a short game. The purchase of a game this good is typically a no brainer, but unless you are going to go through the campaign a couple of times, this might be better off as a rental.
(Note: this game was purchased by the reviewer and was completed after 5 hours of gameplay)
Metal Gear Rising: Revengance (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)
Developer: Platinum Games
Released: February 19, 2013