Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance PS3 Review

Publisher: Konami  Developer: Platinum Games  Genre: Action  Players: 1  Age Rating: 18+

Other console/handheld formats: Xbox 360

After his shocking introduction as the central character in Metal Gear Solid 2, people failed to connect with Raiden, who with his feminine appearance and rookie nature was a complete contrast to the gruff and battle hardened Solid Snake. Metal Gear Solid 4 conversely demoted Raiden to a supporting character, but saw him transformed into a menacing cyborg ninja, where he featured in some of the most spectacular cut scenes that the game had to offer and, as a result, people finally wanted to play as him.

Stupidly but amusingly monikered spin-off Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance finally places Raiden back in the starring role, albeit in his far more popular cyborg ninja guise, allowing developer Platinum Games to construct an action game around him. It’s a fresh direction for a series that has always been focussed on infiltration above devastation and that has previously encouraged you to move through the game leaving as few dead bodies as possible. But a change from time to time isn’t always a bad thing and its evolution segues nicely with Raiden himself too.

The game takes place four years after the events depicted in Metal Gear Solid 4. The Patriots are of course finished, though this unfortunately hasn’t resulted in all around global merriment, with large Private Military Companies that were affiliated with The Patriots in ruins, though rouge entities boasting cyborg technology have risen from their ashes. It’s of course up to you, as the cyborg ninja Raiden, to restore peace to the world by primarily slicing and dicing your way through legions of enemy cyborgs standing in your way as you head to take down their dastardly leaders.

The story is undoubtedly one of the most engaging featured in a hack-and-slash action game, but that isn’t necessarily saying much as, whilst its narrative is reasonable, and with its philosophizing, huge cut scenes (though not as obsessively so as Kojima Production’s games) and such, it certainly feels like a Metal Gear game, but unfortunately it never manages to reach the highs of such titles, whilst its hero Raiden isn’t quite as memorable as Solid and Naked Snake.

As is tradition for the series, there’s a codec filled with optional conversations to further add colour to the story as well as some truly strange but amusing topics that you’d think would be the last thing on people’s minds when on a mission to save the world, though it does grant some quirky and very Metal Gear character to the game.

Being assembled by Bayonetta developer Platinum Games, the combat is as proficiently executed as you’d expect it to be. It flows wonderfully and is accessible but deep enough for the more adept player to explore. Unfortunately the camera struggles to frame the fast action, with a few too many occasions having unseen enemies inflicting damage up on you, but it’s largely functional enough to not have too much of a negative bearing on the game on the normal difficulty setting.

Raiden can have two weapons equipped at a time and there are light and heavy attacks, of which allows for some dazzling combos to take down your enemies in style. Ranged weapons are also available consisting of the likes of grenades, rocket launchers and homing missiles, granting you further offensive options. Meanwhile you’re able to defend yourself by holding the analogue stick towards the attacking enemy and pressing the attack button; well timed parries also have the advantage of leaving the enemy open to attack.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance’s most unique feature is blade mode, an element that has survived the game’s perilous development period, and it’s this mechanic that mostly sets the game apart from other hack-and-slash offerings. Activating blade mode will slow down the action, allowing you to choose what area of an enemy to slice across. There can be a few advantages to using the ability, to attack weak areas of enemies or to restore your health by dissecting certain sections of an enemy for instance.

Enemies consist of cyborgs, which are the closest the game comes to offering human adversaries, there’s also the biomechanical Gekkos (Metal Gear Solid 4 players will be familiar with these) and the hulking Gorilla like Mastiff. Boss encounters are also spread throughout the game and are enjoyable and exciting battles, though they don’t quite have the imagination that Kojima Productions often displays in this area.

Raiden is as fun to control outside of battle as well and the most flashy and rapid navigation method is the ninja run, of which functions pretty much identically to Assassin’s Creed free running mechanic. Simply holding a button causes Raiden to stylishly and automatically leap over and slide under objects that block his path, and it also has the bonus of allowing you to deflect gunfire that is heading towards you.

Whilst the game is primarily of the action genre, it does however have a stealth feature that is more in line with Metal Gear Solid, albeit a more rudimentary form that doesn’t allow such luxuries as crouching or concealing yourself against walls, though you can hide yourself in a cardboard box, Solid Snake style. Even though it’s not anywhere near as satisfying of a stealth experience as a mainline Metal Gear offering provides, it’s still nevertheless reasonably executed.

Throughout the game, you’ll receive battle points to spend on new abilities and enhancements for Raiden. The more efficient you play, the more you’ll earn and, unsurprisingly, ranks demand repeat play for the perfectionist as they attempt to attain S ranks on all stages.

Further longevity comes from the game with the unlockable VR missions, which consist of a range of bite sized stealth and action orientated missions, tasking you with carrying out such things as taking out enemies or heading to the goal in as little time as possible, while remaining unseen.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance doesn’t change the action genre profoundly and isn’t without its problems, but it’s a wonderful example of a developer that knows how to put together a beautifully crafted combat system that will please genre aficionados nevertheless. At the same time, it’s a success at carving a fresh path for the Metal Gear series, whilst not leaving a mess and, provided that they’re able to accept the shift in genres, enough parts of Metal Gear Solid are still left attached to impress series fans as well.