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Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review by Alister Kennedy (PS3)

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The first thing you will get when you fire up Metal Gear Rising, is the standard day one 
update, followed by a required install which, thankfully is no where near as long as the
one in MGS 4! After playing Metal Gear Solid 4 the most memorable scene is arguably the
new ninja Raiden taking on the gecko gear and everybody instantly thought “man I want to
be playing instead of watching!!” Well Hideo Kojima listened and set about trying to
recreate this infamous scene in game form.....

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.....this title has certainly been passed about more than a
parcel during a kids party and if it had a lesser studio working on it it may of ended up
dead in the water but, instead it has "risen" up from almost being cancelled to fulfilling
Kojima’s original goal!

Originally announced in 2009 under the title Metal Gear Solid : Rising the game was intended
to bridge the gap between MGS 2 and MGS 4 and was to be produced by Kojima productions who
were struggling to get the sword mechanic just right and it was put on hold indefinitely.
In 2011 a meeting with the superb Platinum Games (Bayonetta) lead to a title change and a
new team working on it which brings us the finished product - Metal Gear Rising.

From the very first mission in this game your eyes hurt with how gorgeous the character
models move and look they just scream out next gen! The downside to this is not much care
and attention has been put to the in level graphics and most of the time they come off as
generic looking, which is a shame considering the areas are confined enough, you would
have expected them to make every pixel count. Before we go any further it must be pointed out
that this game is clearly not the same genre as the previous Solid titles.

You begin the game as Raiden the hero from Metal Gear Solid 2 hated by most for that game
but opinions changed after the previously mentioned cutscene from 4! Raiden is now mostly
cyborg and has been assigned to protect the African Prime Minister, a set up any game fan
can see going wrong from the get go....and boy does it! In efforts to keep the review
spoiler free I’ll stay away from plot details but expect your standard Metal Gear politics,
technology and humor based, confusing storyline is all I shall say!

The big seller for this title is the heavily advertised sword play mechanic which works
amazingly....you have two attacks strong and weak and also holding your shoulder button
enters you into free blade mode where you can use either the right stick for precise
slicing or either attack buttons for a flurry of strikes. This is best put into play
after damaging an enemy till its limbs all appear blue and the prompt appears for you to
enter the mode. When you activate it this time you have a target which, when sliced and
combined with the action button rips the "spine" from foes and fills Raiden’s health meter
with a boost. Your run button also acts as a free run button and helps to skip past the
not always beautiful level design! You really need to become accustomed to this mechanic
(along with the parry system)very quickly, you will see why when you encounter the first
level boss!

The combat mechanics work really well for the most part and it was extremely fun and
liberating to unleash as this futuristic cyborg, especially the free blade mode, although
I did find myself using the button inputs instead of using the stick, the fighting is only
hindered by the frustrating camera which constantly needs re adjusted in the faster
paced boss battles. Normal cyborg grunt fights usually feel rather satisfying as well
as boss battles (which are half cutscene, half fight) especially when linking combos and
removing the electrolyte core from enemies.

Raiden also comes with an AR (predator vision) mode which, when the d-pad is pressed
enables you to see hidden items and into dark places. A nice touch is that Raiden’s visor
comes across his face when active!

Later in the game, after fighting a dog type gear (or as the game calls it
"IF prototype LQ841") Raiden appears with a robot dog of his very own, with little to no
explanation as to why. Your "canine" companion scouts the route ahead for the rest of the
game and "barks" orders at you. After a certain boss fight (and an annoyingly forced slow
walking level) you unlock ripper mode which activates with a press down on your joysticks
and gives you a more powerful attack style which can slice enemies in half with ease
outside of blade mode! Pretty useful, especially later in the game!

For the most part it is a hack and slash Ninja Gaiden style game. However you are suggested
at some parts (and one point forced) to utilize stealth, an order which I happily chose to
ignore. Instead I opted to actively seek out every battle I could, as the new upgrades to
Raiden’s body gained via earning BP (battle points) with stylized and efficient fighting
turn your battles into a beautiful sweeping dance of parries and air attacks.

Once you get to grips with this combo system the game can be steam rolled, especially on the
lower difficulty settings. After each area there is usually a boss battle which, apart from
Monsoon and the final boss (who looks like Tom Arnold and Venom’s love child!!), I rarely
found a part in this game I didn't feel as bad ass as the cutscene from MGS4 made Raiden
look so, job well done!

The plot line in the game as previously said is your standard Metal Gear story which is
over the top and completely bonkers. This one unfortunately vaguely ties into the
previous titles only expanding slightly on Raidens backstory and not much more to write
home about! Voice acting for the most part is good and did its job but by the end it felt like
Raiden was impersonating Solid Snake! However due to the nature of this game being hack
and slash the storyline is perhaps not as plot heavy as in previous Metal Gear Titles
and is mostly a wham bam thank you mam type of experience!

The replayability in this game comes from higher difficulty settings and also the unlockable
VR missions which are unlocked by finding enemy intel hidden away in game, apart from that
there are little to no collectibles to be found. So unless you savor bastard hard challenges
and attempt to find all the titles (which are awarded end game) there isn't a whole lot to
dive back into this game for, which is a shame. There are sometimes optional missions that
become available which require backtracking to a previous area to fight a mini boss. I
avoided these for the most part but the one I did do was against two helicopters and was
quite a fun challenge.

Some of the more memorable parts include Raiden dressing up in Mexican garb (which becomes
an unlockable costume) and a cheeky TMNT the movie reference to look out for in the sewer
level. This game still sticks to it’s series roots with wacky Japanese humor peppered along
the way. The boss battles really stand out in this game as per usual with the Metal Gear
titles and I would recommend this game to anyone that is (and isn't!) a fan of the series
but definitely give the demo that's available a try before you dive in. So overall I did
enjoy the very short gameplay but was left wanting more and the ending certainly leaves
the option for further games in the Rising line. Well done to Platinum Games for resurrecting
what could of been a lost gem, just a shame that more time wasn’t spent making the levels as
pretty as the character models. So close to greatness but not quite there.

Alister Kennedy

 

 

Overall Score - 81%