Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Revengeance, that’s a odd word isn’t it? A Portmanteau of revenge – to take vengeance and vengeance – the desire for revenge.  Two words combined to mean more or less the same as each word on its own. As it happens the use of such an uncomfortable word in the title isn’t the result of some quirky mistranslation, in actual fact it sums the game up perfectly.

Revengeance is an odd word and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is an odd game. In Kojima we trust.

Raiden has moved on from being a bad-ass cyborg ninja in Metal Gear Solid 4 and settled down with his family, then taken a job working away from them for a PMC because he clearly doesn’t like his wife one bit. I can relate to that, she’s so clingy, although I think he’s changed his CODEC number because she doesn’t call him every other minute. He’s still a bad-ass cyborg ninja, though. In fact early on the game he gets a few neat upgrades making him even more of a bad-ass cyborg ninja.

The world that PlatinumGames have created is unmistakeably Metal Gear and although the gameplay is worlds apart from the ‘tactical espionage action’ genre of its predecessors you can see the care that has been taken to make both Raiden, and the fans, feel at home. Make no mistake for all its flaws this is a great looking and well made game. The action is slick, polished and extremely fast.

For a game revolving around a single character there are quite a few characters backing Raiden up. Back at base there are three characters that appear to do the same job and the fourth is the very strange but oddly likeable Doktor. You’ll be talking to this bunch via your standard issue CODEC, so be sure to hit select and talk to them from time to time. They have crazy on tap in that office, it seems.

Unfortunately the two characters I found most interesting were criminally underused. The first boss takes her time to tell you how you and her are the same, offering exposition that never really seems to go anywhere beyond that fight. But the biggest disappointment of something not being used to its full potential is Raiden’s cyborg dog. Considering the fight he puts up before swapping sides you’d think he would make the perfect companion in combat but in reality you never really see him as he’s always on recon duty. His purpose seems to be similar to that of Data from Star Trek, offering cold advice on the nature of humanity from an AI’s perspective. When you initially fight him he can throw white hot daggers with his tail.

Fear not, though, Raiden is plenty capable of dispatching enemies all by himself, especially if you pay attention to the upgrades on offer and note that the customisation menu can be pulled up from the CODEC menu, not just at the end of a level. Once you find your stride the combat is extremely rewarding, but unfortunately no where near as complex as that on offer in Platinum’s masterpiece Bayonetta. Once you get the hang of the somewhat counter-intuitive parrying system mashing away will get the job done for the most part. Unlock the dodge upgrade too and you’ll be able to deal with unblockable attacks without having to run away. You’ll not be able to avoid everything they throw at you, and you’ll find yourself stunned or dizzied far more often than is reasonable, but keep at it because it can ultimately be quite rewarding.

The much touted free cutting mode is huge fun once you find its purpose in gameplay. Outside of quick time events it can be used manually on worn down enemies to expose their ‘electrolytes’ that Raiden can, umm, splash all over himself to recharge his health and energy. The trick is knowing when to trigger it and how to aim the cut so that it passes though the highlighted area. Get the pattern down and you can string these attacks into the flow of combat turning weaker enemies into walking medikits.

To the credit of the writers the evolution of Raiden’s character is handled very well. The player is likely to notice before Raiden himself that he has become somewhat of a hypocrite. Why is he protecting those that cannot protect themselves? Is wanton bloody murder the best way to achieve that goal? Once his motives are questioned the result is not a cop-out but a flash back to the character’s roots that stands in stark contrast to the apparent rookie we first met in Metal Gear Solid 2.

There are two major issues that ruin an otherwise very well made game: the length of the game and the camera. Your game clock is likely to show somewhere around four or five hours after your first play-through  Granted the clock does not count cut scenes and is calculated from your best mission times but your first play-through is going to be your slowest so this time is still worryingly short. If you’re not one to replay games several time then you could find yourself done with this in two short sittings. There are a large number of VR missions to unlock play through but these never felt right, Metal Gear VR missions feel like they should be about stealth and stealth is not something Rising’s Raiden does well. The camera, however, is one issue I cannot find any defence for. Most of the time the camera is yours to control with the right analogue stick but you will repeatedly find it  jammed up against a wall, looking at the ceiling or, after a finishing move animation, jammed into Raiden’s chest. You can lock the camera to a target but as you’ll rarely be fighting just one enemy this can leave you even less able to cope with attacks from all directions. Things get worse when fighting the larger gears as the camera will try and keep them ‘in shot’ while you are trying to hack away at their legs. If you are dying in a game such as this because the camera is not allowing you to keep track of your surroundings that also tends to replace any sense of achievement with a dull relief that a frustrating battle is over.

In the latter part of the game you assault a large office building, beginning with a huge open lobby and that’s when something clicked for me. It’s not so much the camera that’s breaking the combat, it is fairly manual after all, it’s that the environments you are fighting in early on are just not suited to the combat the game offers. The first fight in this lobby area allows you to unleash hell upon the enemies that come flooding in. The game stays at the peak more or less till the end but unfortunately that is just not very far away at that point.

Don’t forget to check out Bit Sockets video review.







3 responses to “Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance”

  1. Flamered avatar

    While i completely respect your opinion, I must beg to differ. The only real true negative I can say about this game is that it is only 6 hours long. Other than that Graphics are top notch, story is an excellent addition to the metal gear – verse (Riaden finally got the game he deserved since MGS4), and best of all game-play is deep and intuitive. (seriously if DmC mechanics were too casual for you, you will most definitely appreciate Risings combat system) VR missions are fun, high re-playability, and cool collectables have all kept me coming back for more. 8.5-9/10 Highly recommenced

  2. Xandero avatar

    Camera really isn’t a problem. And combat? Might be the best mechanics of this generation 9/10

  3. Zassercred avatar

    Perhaps we did not play the same game, as the fighting system is one of the strongest I have played in years

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