Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
- Street Date:
- January 9th, 2014
- Reviewed by:
- Brian Hoss
- Review Date:1
- January 16th, 2014
- Game Release Year:
- Platinum Games
- ESRB Rating:
- M (Mature)
PC version reviewed. Game was played using a wired 360 controller.
From Kojima Productions, Konami, and Platinum Games, 'Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance' is the 'Metal Gear Solid' spin-off that seemed doomed from the start. Back in 2009, the game was unveiled as coming to the 360 and PS3 and being developed by Kojima Productions. Starring Raiden, the child soldier turned FOXHOUND operative of 'Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty,' 'Metal Gear Rising' was meant to showcase the action stylings of the new Raiden, whose appearance in 'Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots' featured a reinvented look quite similar to series favorite Cyber Ninja. After Kojima had shelved/cancelled the project, he enlisted another developer and in 2011, 'Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance' was announced as a game more attuned to new developer Platinum Games. With a veteran Japanese developer ('Bayonetta,' 'Vanquish,' 'Mad World,') at the helm and the trappings of the 'Metal Gear' universe (sans hours of cutscenes and stealth focus), 'Metal Gear Revengeance' was poised to be the spin-off that netted a whole new fan base. The PC version comes late to the game, but bundles together all the DLC, pre-order, and limited edition content into one package at a value price.
The Game Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
As a long-time 'Metal Gear' fan, 'Metal Gear Rising' has had mess written on it from the start. There is an action dream sequence in 'Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater,' and it, along with 'Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII' are what came to mind when 'Rising' was announced. That Platinum Games was brought on to salvage the cancelled project should have meant disaster. And though the game is fraught with pieces that don't quite fit, the whole package is much better than it ought to be.
First, of all, those unfamiliar with 'Metal Gear Solid' need not worry, as the story has a basic arc and is not its best feature. The mid-development shift in setting from pre- to post-'Metal Gear Solid 4' makes for a central character whose motivations are all over the place. It's enough to know that Raiden is an electric katana wielding cyborg and a former child soldier who stumbles on a plot to make more like him. The upswing of this is that the story has just enough beats to let the player direct Raiden to his ultimate goal, slicing up enemies, and being the best at slicing up enemies.
The 'Metal Gear' trappings mean that the game's world is packed full of giant elevators, cyborg armies, and oddly personable and larger than life bosses. While the game does have a codec system for Raiden's support staff, as well as 'Metal Gear' like items, and a handful of stealth elements, the core of the game is blade mode.
Raiden, along with the playable Jetpack Sam and Blade Wolf, is capable of Zandatsu, which as gameplay mechanic means that ferentic bouts of light attacks, strong attacks, dodging, blocking and parrying, are punctuated with moments when the player can slow time, position the blade for one or multiple slices, and even perform Zandatsu and tear out a foe's (spinal) core. While entering into the slowed down blade mode is as simple as pulling the left trigger when a meter is charged, integrating Zandatsu into the game's deceptively simple yet quite deep combat system is an ongoing challenge and can be incredibly satisfying.
The game's story missions and are full of cyborg soldiers, 'MGS4' Gekkos, Mastiffs, and little three armed spheres among other fodder. Fighting these enemies while getting the most Battle Points and best rank is exhilarating, provided you can get past some major bumps in the learning curve. The game's boss fights are similarly enjoyable, if sometimes sullied by quick time events.
The unlockable VR missions serve to further drive the intensity, and their stark nature (mimicking VR levels from older 'Metal Gear' games) highlights one of the game's bigger issues, the environments. Along with the ho-hum story, the environments are not only visually unimpressive, but the short campaign features plenty of retread as well as several cutscene sequences that appear as abortive level concepts (like the helicopter jet sequence). Design-wise, the levels do a good job of setting up combat, and hiding various collectables and pick-ups.
There were a few technical issues during my playthrough of the PC version. First, the game had a bug which prevented offline play, which thankfully has been fixed. I encountered progression blocking bugs in no less than three boss fights and one early chase sequence.
Worse, the final boss fight was completely broken until I changed resolution mid fight as referenced in this Steam thread. Aside from those instances and an annoying issue where the mouse cursor appears during various result screens, the PC version performed well.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
While the sub-par, repetitive levels hold back the game as a whole visually, several of the characters' designs are stunning. The game's HUD and VR levels touch on nice sci-fi aesthetic, while the Platinum Games twist on designs like Metal Gear Ray make for some eye candy as well. The stock settings for the PC version max out at 1080p, but framerate is solid. Set the environments (and their clutter) aside, and the game is a looker on the PC. Naturally, dicing an object into a 1000 parts did slow the framerate but not detrimentally so. Unlike many PC ports, the game's pre-rendered cutscenes look great.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
Platinum Games rock soundtrack seems at odds with the 'Metal Gear' settings, while the optional codec conversation options feel out of place beside the game's combat. Still, voice acting for the boss characters is decent enough, and the sounds effects across the board suit the game almost perfectly. Surround sound use is merely ok, and overall the sound suffers due to lack of variety. More sections like the factory where you control the Dwarf Gekko could have helped to mix up the sound experience.
Despite having a short campaign, the replay value is high. There are weapons to unlock and max out, multiple difficulty levels, including the unlockable 'Revengeance' difficulty, VR missions, and the two mini campaigns (Jetstream Sam & Blade Wolf). The boss fights alone are a blast even f the actual bosses are pretty forgettable characters. Even casual players who are not willing to attempt tougher difficulties (and the VR missions) can still find items in every level to pick up, like the MIBs (men in a box) which will to lead unlocking weapons and achievements.
HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?
Having all of the game's DLC included feels like a big bonus, whether it is the Fox Blade, VR Missions, or one of the mini campaigns. If only the game had the Japanese version's Hebidamashii (Snake Spirit), or something equivalent and original to this version, the bonus feeling would be perfect. A documentary on the game's transition to Platinum Gmaes would have be welcome as well.
As an off-shoot title in a genre outside of the series' norms, 'Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance' succeeds, and its challenging core combat is a credit to Platinum Games. While I can't help but wish the game had a longer, better realized campaign, the plethora of assorted side content and value price speak louder than the game's flaws. As a new generation of consoles is upon us, the option of getting one of Platinum Games titles (a 'Metal Gear' no less) on the PC is much appreciated. When the action of 'Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance' is flowing, the game seems so good that I wish Konami would commission a retouched version for the new consoles.
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