Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review
Hideo Kojima has declared that he is comfortable with third-party developers creating spin-offs and side story titles centered in his Metal Gear universe, but would have to maintain complete control over the core titles. With Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance’s release, fans of the series now have the first example of what Kojima is talking about. It’s all action, all intensity and, in a surprise move, more “geared” toward fans who were disappointed with the lackluster Ninja Gaiden 3. Blasphemy you say?! Place the disc in your console and see for yourself… within five minutes of the campaign’s opening, all of the similarities in the two titles become apparent and, in an even bigger surprise move, most welcome.
Players assume the role of the reborn Gaiden, er… Raiden, who, over the course of the series, has been transformed from the “surprise switch” sissy (with a vaguely Matthew Broderick sounding voice) of Metal Gear Solid 2 into a cyborg ninja badass that could slice you in half quicker than a Katana through a salmon roll. Gone are the stealthy, combat-avoiding tactics of the core series, and in its place comes a six-hour campaign of slashing, combos, environmental destruction and overall mayhem. Raiden’s reborn state (first seen in Megal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots) and services have been purchased by a private security firm that has employed him to protect an African prime minister. As one would imagine, things go quite wrong at the beginning and the prime minister is kidnapped. With a plotline straight out of an 80s action film, Raiden gears up his cybernetic systems and sets out to fix the wagon of everyone within the radius of the prime minister.
Gone is the long-winded plotlines and forty-minute cutscenes of the core series (and the ones that are present are skippable), and in their place are a constant barrage of ever changing enemies and a boss battle every half-hour or so. The action comes at the expense of a compelling story, however, so this entry in the series will not burn itself into your mind as being particularly moving or poignant. It will, however, call you to return again and again for the hyper speed ninja action, gore and satisfying combat. The control scheme is even very “Gaiden” like, with light and heavy (horizontal and vertical) attack buttons, plus the right control stick enables players to attack specific regions on their enemies for dramatic results. Tapping certain combinations of buttons and stick motions unleashes an ever growing arsenal of combos that get so fast and crazy at times that players can even get confused as to what our mechanical antihero is trying to accomplish.
Raiden can also rejuvenate himself by reaching into his opponent’s torso and ripping out their spine. This mechanical atrocity allows him to squeeze out the electrolytes present in foe’s spinal columns, which gives Raiden the much-needed boost of energy he requires to continue. Throughout the game’s campaign, there are thirty enemies whose left hand contains data that will enable Raiden to upgrade his skillset. These upgrades come after every tenth hand collected and add an extra layer of challenge to the usual slicing and dicing of enemies.
Technologically, Revengeance is a buttery-smooth accomplishment. A game of this genre would fail if the framerates aren’t constantly steady, and Revengeance delivers a solid framerate throughout. The usual Metal Gear style gorgeous visuals are also present, as well as an awe-inspiring sound design. The most “fascinating” aspect of the gameplay is that it seems to suffer from the very same camera issues found in the Ninja Gaiden series. Occasionally, the camera will place itself in the worst possible position for the player to succeed, or spin wildly out of control. This will occasionally leave one disoriented and open to attack once the sequence completes. This becomes especially obvious when doing combat in closed spaces like hallways and small rooms. These issues never become especially bothersome, and the overall camera style generally stays exactly where you need it to be.
Overall, Revengeance is an exciting and unique entry into the Metal Gear milieu. It’s a perfect combination of Metal Gear stylings and Ninja Gaiden frenetic action. The one confusing aspect of the title seems to be to what fan base it should appease. If one is a fan of the core Metal Gear series but not one of Ninja Gaiden, this game will not bring anything to the table. Gaiden fans will delight in the gameplay details regardless of the universe it is set in. The end result? If fast-paced hacking and slashing mixed with a light dose of Saturday afternoon TV melodrama is your bag, Revengeance serves up several helpings of the ninja-style combat you’re hungering for.
Reviewed By: Russell Garbutt
This review is based on a copy of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance for the PlayStation 3 provided by Konami.