Review: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. A Phoenix Rising.

History lesson time! There has been one franchise that defined the tactical, stealth, espionage genre in the early 90’s of the gaming world. The Metal Gear franchise from creator  Hideo Kojima  changed how we see stealth games. Back in E3 2009, when he announced another game Metal Gear Solid: Rising starring Metal Gear Solid 2‘s lead character Raiden, the reactions were skeptical. The promise was an action game that allows  you to freely cut anything and everything. He wanted a Metal Gear game that expanded the franchise but a less focus on the stealth principle.  The project however went through development hell due to designing the game to that promised concept idea, and was quietly cancelled in late 2010. Kojima then passed the project to the Atsushi Inaba of Platinum Games in order to bring the project back to life. While in production, Platinum Games renamed the title: Metal Gear Rising: Revengenace , dropping the Solid and toning down the stealth a bit  and focused more on the action. With Platinum Games’ history of action games, it was clear that the license of the Metal Gear franchise was in safe hands.

Did Platinum Games succeed in getting revenge for Kojima’s original dream?

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Raiden…is back.

Platform(s): PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Publisher: Konami
Developer: Platinum Games
Genre(s): Action, Hack and Slash
Release Date(s): February 19, 2013 / January 9, 2014 (PC ver.)
Rating: M for Mature

First, a quick demonstration video:

(A big thanks to TheMasterLL for allowing me to use his videos. Check more videos on his YouTube Channel and Twitch.)

If that didn’t catch you eyes and ears, nothing will. Slicing through RAY and finishing it with a literal bang,  the stylized action is more than enough to make up for the missing stealth that the Metal Gear franchise is known for. Then again, this is Platinum Games we’re talking about. If you played their games like Bayonetta or  The Wonderful 101, you already know what you are getting yourself into. Needless to say, the game is awesome.

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Are you ready?

 

Story/Characters

Let’s get this out of the way first. This is a spin-off game. While it doesn’t take place in the Metal Gear lore, it does take some elements from the cannon story. The story takes place 4 years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Raiden(played by Quiton Flynn) is now working under a PMC called Maverick. He is assigned to protect a prime minister in a unstable country in Africa.  Needless to say, things goes to hell.  He gets ambushed by Samuel Rodriguez AKA Jetstream Sam (Played by Philip Anthony-Rodriguez). Trivia: Jet Stream Sam is  a tribute name from their previous game Vanquish. He is a samurai character who wields a legitimate Muramasa blade in his gun sheathe. Yeah, Tell me he isn’t a cool, badass already.

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Antonio Banderas?

He is assisted by a Alabama madman, Sundowner (played by Crispin Freeman), who wields a mean pincer blade.

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A face only a mother could love…

If you caught the hint, all of the major bosses are named after wind currents.  The main antagonist organization is Desperado Enforcement. Sam and Sundowner are 2 of 4 members of the squad: The Winds of Destruction. Shown respectively,  Mistral (played by Salli Saffioti) who wields a whip/spear made of dwarf gekko, and Monsoon (played by John Kassir) who wields twin sais, are the remaining two members.

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Mistral: Half French, All Deadly.

Monsoon: Wait till you fight this guy.

The characters cast are quite varied. Your comrades in Maverick in which you can contact via Codec are interesting, but stereotypical. You got your comrade Russian, a  black man, ditzy glasses lady and a slightly mad German doctor who’s nickname is “Doktor”. The story itself is  good, but follows the usual tropes. You follow Raiden as he tries to live a normal life, but he cannot run away from his child soldier past and natural killer nature. Being called “Jack the Ripper” , he learns to accept his past as he finds out what Desperado and the Winds of Destruction is up to. The biggest character development is not from Raiden but from a robotic AI wolf named Blade Wolf(played by Michael Beetle). Not delving into too much, but his development to understand human behavior and freedom is more human than the rest of the cast.

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LQ-84i/Blade Wolf/K-9 unit (Get it?)

 Simply put, the story is not the game’s strong point. But that’s not the main attraction here.

 Gameplay

As with previous Platinum titles, Action and putting on a show is their main goal. The video at the beginning of this review shows you what kind of action this Metal Gear game is about. With Platinum’s over-the-top action and big boss fights, that factor will most likely make you come back for more. And with Platinum, they do not shy away from difficulty. Revengeance difficulty will kick you ass if you aren’t on your toes. Enemies types range from foot soldiers, Gekkos from Metal Gear Solid 4, Gorilla like enemies coincidentally named Silver backs, Flying enemies and dino robots.Once you figure out the pattern of these enemy types, they’ll be easy to dispatched off.

Does is keep the promise of cut anything you see? Kinda. If you see a tree, you can cut it but you can’t cut brick buildings at will. They will lead you through specific areas in which you’ll fight enemies till the next cut-scene or boss battle. So it is partially an illusion of freedom.  As with previous Platinum games, you will be  graded on Style, Damage received, and Time. You also gain experience points to upgrade your blade or purchase moves sets. A nice touch. Then again this is Platinum Game we’re talking about here. The best rank is an S-Rank and if you want the Platinum Trophy/All Achievements, you need to get S rank on all the missions on Revengeance difficulty. Good luck, you’re gonna need it.

One of its greatest feature is the Free blade mode, which allows you to cut anyway you want. This was shown in the first trailer back when it was called Metal Gear Solid: Rising. It’s a great feature that allows precision and how you want to slice your opponents apart. And you’re gonna need it when you do a Zandatsu. When you slice at a certain point, you can rip out your enemies spinal fluids and crush it to refill your health and blade mode meter.

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Visceral, but oh so satisfying.

Yeah, it’s rated M for a reason.  Another great feature is the games Parry system. When you press the melee and the control stick towards the direction of the attack at the right time, you can block attacks. If done perfectly, you will parry which stuns enemies and allow easy hits on them. Some may have a bit a hard time learning the parry, but practice makes perfect. Once you get the parry down, the game will be a better experience. There’s tutorials for a reason people.

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Learn to Parry or Get Sliced.

Now the bad side, the camera. I always say that it is imperative that the camera system, especially in action games like this, is necessary  to show all the enemies on screen so that there won’t be an unfair attack from an enemy off screen. It does show most enemies but there are at times when enemies completely swarm me and I don’t see an incoming RPG shot. There is a lock-on system to help with the camera, but its more helpful against one on one enemy/boss encounters.  That’s one of the gripes for  me anyway.

Visual

Though this games is for last gen consoles, it is still a pretty game. Even though it’s only 720p, it  really shines. The body of Raiden, the water effects and the bullets that fly everywhere on screen. It really is a spectacle. CG cut-scenes are top notch and detailed to a fine point.  Environments themselves aren’t that great. You will notice the lack of detail on the walls and hallways if you examine it, but you be probably be  busy trying to stay alive. Objects are easily defined what can be cut and not. Don’t get me wrong, its still pretty to looks at.

Sound

The soundtrack of this game is one of the strongest appealing factors. Jamie Christopherson did an amazing job in making a soundtrack to match the scenes, especially the boss fights. It gets you pumped up and makes you feel like a badass. And if you listen to the lyrics to that boss, it describes them very well.  “Rules of Nature” is the title that was playing in the first boss fight with RAY. When you counter his blade and just slice him through him…just watched the top video again and tell tell me you don’t feel awesome! Another good song and personally my favorite is “I’m My Own Master Now”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgCZixSjVX0 When you fight the boss who has this piece, you will understand. Voice acting is top notch. Quinton Flynn brings his A-game once again with Raiden. Crispin Freeman really does the madman role very well. The voice cast did a great job overall. I also gotta give props to the sound effects team. The sound effects of slicing enemies apart and hearing the sound of swords clashing really makes it that you really are using a sword with weight. It really immerses you senses very well.

DLC’s

There are DLC’s that are available for this game. One such is the costume of Grey Fox and his blade. In case you don’t like Raiden’s looks, you can play as Grey Fox.

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Back from the dead.

And a word of warning. The description of Grey Fox’s blade follows:

“The high-frequency Blade used by ex-FOXHOUND field agent Frank Jaeger, a.k.a. Gray Fox, after he was outfitted in a cyborg ninja chassis by Dr. Clark. Gray Fox’s soul still echoes though the blade, sometimes enabling it to cut clean through enemies, armor and all.”

They are not kidding with that description. When you buy the effect of this blade, it completely breaks the game. This sword is so over-powered, it takes away any challenge. So if you want a challenge, do not use this great blade. Also, now that this game is now cheaper, Platinum Games has release their story based DLC for free. One story is with Jetstream Sam before the events of the main game. It explains how he joins with Desperado and why he fights. A great experience for the game’s most popular antagonist.

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I’m just that awesome.

The other DLC is with Blade Wolf. It explains his back story and why he is intrigued with the idea of Freedom.

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All dogs have their day.

 

And the The Easter Eggs

This is still a Hideo Kojima’s Metal Gear game we are talking about here after all. So of course he would put in some…ahem…”visual aids”.

(Warning: NSFW)

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Oh,his sense of humor.

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Stay Classy Kojima. Never Change.

And one of my favorite moments in the game.

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Best Security Guard Ever!

 If you want to see this moment, buy the game or look for it. Also, when you are at the title screen, input the Konami code. This will unlock Revengeance difficulty from the start. There are more Easter Eggs, but I’ll leave that for you to find.

So with everything that has been listed here, is this game worth it?

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Let’s go.

Cut through like Lightning!

Summary

It doesn’t matter if you are a hardcore fan or just getting into the series, you absolutely have to play this game. Platinum Games and Kojima does it again in beautiful fashion. While it may not be the same Metal Gear that we know and love, it sure is a great ode to the license. While it may not have the complex story that we know of Metal Gear, it makes up in the fun factor. It may be tough for some, but if you stick with it and learn to parry, the game will be much more enjoyable. With it’s lower price of admission and two free story-based DLC, you have no excuse for yourself. Go buy this game!

Pros:
+Over-the-top Action
+Great Music/Voice Acting
+Fun Factor
+It’s Metal Gear

Cons:
-Not so interesting story
-Camera
-Characters are hit or miss

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About The Author

William

Philsophical, Gaming, Otaku, at your service! Born in Nintendo’s golden age, his blood runs on Mario and Nintendo. With his philosophical degree, he learns to see the big picture, other points of views and tries to make unbiased thinking and judgments. Part time Substance Abuse Case Manager, Full time gamer, otaku and student of life.