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Review: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Review Metal Gear Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Metal Gear Solid PS3 Xbox 360 Platinum Games Kojima Productions Konami Metal Gear Rising

Developer: Kojima Productions / Platinum Games
Publisher: Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc.
Platform: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Release Date: February 19, 2013
ESRB: M for Mature

This review is based on the PlayStation 3 version of the game.
A retail copy was provided by the publisher for this review.



I’ll come clean: this is my first Metal Gear game. I’ve always been interested in the series, but I’ve never been able to get into the stealth gameplay. That’s why I was intrigued when it was revealed that Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance would be a hack-and-slash action game and excited when Platinum Games’ involvement was revealed. It may be an atypical entry, both for me and the series, but I finally understand what I’ve been missing all these years.

My biggest fear with this entry point was that I wouldn’t be able to follow the story, having only a loose understanding of the plot from second-hand experiences. It is a bit heavy with jargon and abbreviations, but the story works well as a standalone. Taking place after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, you play as the cyborg ninja Raiden, a member of the private military company Maverick Security Consulting, investigating the underhanded dealings of another PMC, Desperado Enforcement.

Thematically, the story revisits familiar concepts The purpose of war in society and the role of soldiers in times of peace are central to the plot. They’re interesting concepts, but I found myself more interested in the character of Raiden and his motivations, especially compared to his foes. The story doesn’t always work and the ending is underwhelming, but it’s interesting, cleverly directed, and well paced.

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As you might expect from Kojima Productions, this is a slick product. It looks impressive and takes full advantage of the available hardware. There are a few textures that look odd and occasional stutters when loading or using AR vision, but these issues never interfere with combat. Given Metal Gear’s reputation for long cinematics, I was impressed by how well the cutscenes flowed, never detracting from the pace set by the action. The audio design is also solid, with strong vocal performances and pleasing sound effects. Driving the whole experience is the soundtrack, an interesting mix of rock and electronic sounds that compliments both the action and aesthetic of the game.

While the story and presentation will be the draw for many, mine was the action. I had high expectations going in, given Platinum Games’ history, and I wasn’t disappointed. The controls are as tight as you’d want and the feature set is typical for the genre. There are multiple difficulty settings, with more unlocked upon completion, as well as titles awarded for your performance, giving players of any skill level plenty of goals to work toward. You can customize Raiden to fit your playstyle through upgrades, costumes, and additional weapons by using points acquired through battle with the option to replay previous missions at any point. My only complaint is that, as with most games, there are times where the camera is your biggest enemy and there are times when the lock-on has trouble shifting targets.

Every hack-and-slash game has its own focus, setting it apart from others in the genre. Revengeance’s calling cards are the parry, Blade Mode, and Zandatsu. Parrying makes up the bulk of your defensive options. When an enemy attacks, you move toward the blow and press the light attack button. If you get the timing right, the enemy will be open for a counter, otherwise you’ll simply block the attack. It’s satisfying to get a perfect parry, even more so when you block a string of attacks and get to follow up with a combo of your own.

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The signature feature of the game is Blade Mode. After charging your fuel cells by attacking enemies, you can enter Blade Mode and use the analogue stick to control the direction of your cuts, strategically dismembering your foes. When your fuel cells hit a certain level, you can use Blade Mode to perform Zandatsu. This technique has you line up your cut with a marker on the foe, instantly killing them and restoring your health. Tougher foes require the Zandatsu to remove armor and expose vital areas before they can be killed. It’s a very fun mechanic, especially when you end a heated fight by slicing the enemy into a hundred pieces and smashing their spine in your hand.

To me, the best aspect of Revengeance is how open it is. It may seem odd to say, given the linear story progression, but you’re given the freedom to play any way you want. You can choose to skip through cutscenes and calls or use the codec to see additional scenes to learn more about the world and characters. Missions can be a simple dash from point A to B, but there are collectibles and other easter eggs to be found as well. They aren’t huge choices, but they make the length largely dependent on your playstyle and priorities.

Even though stealth isn’t the main focus of the game, it still has a role to play. Rushing out and killing everything in your path is a valid approach, but there are options with more finesse. Whether that option is silently taking out foes from the shadows with ninja kills or sneaking past everyone to reach the objective is up to you. The stealth features aren’t as robust as in the Solid series, but veterans won’t be completely out of their element. Not every section has this freedom, but there’s a lot of room for personalization, making it feel more thought out than any other game in the genre.

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Looking at Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance’s history, I understand why people might be wary. It dropped the Solid name and stealth genre, was revealed as a Kinect-enabled watermelon-slicing game, and had a troubled development cycle resulting in another studio’s involvement. Those are issues that most games would be left the worse for, but Kojima Productions and Platinum Games made it work. It’s an extremely satisfying experience that blends the best of the hack-and-slash genre with that distinctly Metal Gear flare that people, myself included, have come to love.

 

Pros:


+ Fun, visceral combat
+ Open-ended gameplay
+ Slick, stylish presentation

Cons:


- Minor camera issues
- Some stuttering in non-combat areas
- Underwhelming conclusion


 

Overall Score: 9 (Out of 10)
Fantastic


Marrying the best of Kojima Productions and Platinum Games, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is an amazing experience for fans and newcomers alike.




9 Comments

Even with so much hype and a long history I still don't really see the appeal in the MG franchise. I guess ill give a demo a try and see if I have been wrong all this years.
I'm definitely looking forward to playing this, since this game sounds much more mechanically/structurally deep than something like Anarchy Reigns (which I enjoyed a fair amount don't get me wrong, especially in multi, but I secretly yearned for the technical satisfaction of something like Bayonetta/Vanquish.). I really like the sound of the parrying mechanic which I didn't know about, and it sounds like it could be more satisfying than Bayonetta's witch time with dodging (though, that might be a bold statement since I loved it in Bayonetta).

Even with so much hype and a long history I still don't really see the appeal in the MG franchise. I guess ill give a demo a try and see if I have been wrong all this years.

I would imagine since Platinum games is behind this liking Metal Gear shouldn't matter at all, like 905 mentioned in the review, but rather very fast faced action games (though, it would likely help based on the setting). Like normal Metal Gear is slow and methodical while this looks frantic and over-the-top. Personally, I'm actually not interested in this game at all as a Metal Gear fan but entirely due to it being made by Platinum games (since I never liked Raiden at all and any extension to the Metal Gear story just seems beyond silly to me now)
I'm a Metal Gear fan, and I don't see why this game is getting such high scores. The combat is well done, but there are plenty of problems with the game.

- The game looks like a PS3 launch game a lot of the time, even though the character models can look good and fluid(especially Raiden and the bosses). The level design is especially poor.

- The story and voice acting are terrible, some of the characters are absolutely grating to listen to and Raiden gets worse and worse throughout the game.

- You can do everything in the main game and still come in at under 6 hours easily, including all the cutscenes (more if you play on the hard difficulty, or if you care about the VR missions.)

The combat is definitely fun and the slicing mechanic is well implemented, and some of the cutscenes are very entertaining. If you're looking for more than just cutting cyborgs and game objects apart then you should look elsewhere, because nobody will be impressed by the story( especially the goofy final boss)

I would say 7/10.
I've been looking forward to this game ever since it was announced, so I'm happy to hear it lives up to the series' standards, as well as my expectations. I can't wait to play the game.

I'm a Metal Gear fan, and I don't see why this game is getting such high scores. The combat is well done, but there are plenty of problems with the game.

- The game looks like a PS3 launch game a lot of the time, even though the character models can look good and fluid(especially Raiden and the bosses). The level design is especially poor.

- The story and voice acting are terrible, some of the characters are absolutely grating to listen to and Raiden gets worse and worse throughout the game.

- You can do everything in the main game and still come in at under 6 hours easily, including all the cutscenes (more if you play on the hard difficulty, or if you care about the VR missions.)

The combat is definitely fun and the slicing mechanic is well implemented, and some of the cutscenes are very entertaining. If you're looking for more than just cutting cyborgs and game objects apart then you should look elsewhere, because nobody will be impressed by the story( especially the goofy final boss)

I would say 7/10.


I feel as though I'd be of a similar mind to this. Though I definitely still want to play this sometime (had to cancel my preorder :( ). I feel as though for newcomers (such as 905) they don't have to really think about MGS while they play and can enjoy it more for what it is lol

I'm a Metal Gear fan, and I don't see why this game is getting such high scores. The combat is well done, but there are plenty of problems with the game.

- The game looks like a PS3 launch game a lot of the time, even though the character models can look good and fluid(especially Raiden and the bosses). The level design is especially poor.

- The story and voice acting are terrible, some of the characters are absolutely grating to listen to and Raiden gets worse and worse throughout the game.

- You can do everything in the main game and still come in at under 6 hours easily, including all the cutscenes (more if you play on the hard difficulty, or if you care about the VR missions.)

The combat is definitely fun and the slicing mechanic is well implemented, and some of the cutscenes are very entertaining. If you're looking for more than just cutting cyborgs and game objects apart then you should look elsewhere, because nobody will be impressed by the story( especially the goofy final boss)

I would say 7/10.


Your first point I can't say I agree with at all. There are some areas that definitely look worse than others (a certain office building where anti-aliasing goes to die comes to mind), but I think you've forgotten just how this generation started off you think it looks like a launch title. The level design itself didn't strike me as bad, though gimmicks such as being able to cut the support to platforms enemies are standing on seemed to die down as the game went on. Maybe the design doesn't accommodate stealth gameplay as well as it could, but there was nothing too egregious that I noticed. I actually have to concede that this is probably the first hack-and-slash game where I haven't complained about platforming segments, so it definitely seems like the game knows what it's good at and was designed around that.

I thought the story was alright and did like the voice acting, but like I said, I have no basis of comparison. I can see it not stacking up to previous Metal Gear stories, but I found it enjoyable enough. There were definitely parts of it that didn't work for me or seemed underutilized, though.

As for the game's length, this seems to be something a lot of people are misrepresenting because of how the game reports it. The game only tracks your successful attempts when playing, so cutscenes, codec calls, and any retries don't get reported by the in-game time. I played on hard and, by my timing, spent about 12 hours. The game only recorded half of that, clocking in at 6 hours. It might not be a length to rival other Metal Gear games, but it's fairly standard for the genre and anyone who is reporting it as 3-4 hour game is using that in-game statistic instead of actual play time.

And, yeah, I'm not a fan of the final boss either. From a gameplay perspective, it's a satisfying fight, but it just sort of comes out of nowhere and I thought the fights leading up to it were more interesting and climactic.
Having gone through Crysis 3, MGR looks archaic by comparison. The levels all have the "high res PS2" feel to them. They pale in comparison to DMC, which had some excellent design. Even DMC4 from 2006 looks better in some ways. You can beat the game in under 6 hours easily including everything, and I'm not talking about the time counter. Difficulty definitely makes an impact on the length. If you play on easy it won't be a problem at all. If you play on hard you will fight more, harder enemies and it will definitely increase the play time, but I don't like counting dying and playing stages over as part of the game length. If replaying stages over and over for higher scores and faster times is your thing, you'll probably love this game. This is a whole different thing from the other MG games, so it isn't really worth a comparison. The best comparison is probably Bayonetta, from the same studio. If you like that game, I'm sure you'll enjoy this one. I thought Bayonetta was just okay myself, and also not worth the high scores it got, but everyone has different tastes. MGR is a fun little diversion from the main MGS story with fun gameplay, nothing more.
At least on consoles, comparing DmC to Revengeance is a bit unfair, as DmC runs at 30 frames per second while Revengeance runs at 60. It looks a bit worse to compensate for that, but the trade off is a game that looks smoother in motion. I'd imagine Crysis 3 also runs at 30 FPS on consoles, but I couldn't find anything confirming or denying that. Though in that comparison, there's going to be a difference in graphics because of differences in field of view and first-person versus third-persons cameras.

As for the length, yeah, it's going to take you less time if you just put it on easy and play solely to complete it. But that's any game.
I won the game from Game Deal Daily this past Monday and look forward to playing it. Platinum Games did a great job with Vanquish and had fun with it. Also am a huge Metal Gear Solid series fan. I think everyone should give this series a chance to play before juding.

 

 

 

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