January 9, 2014
Genre: Hack & Slash
Developer: Platinum Games
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance PC Edition Review
Take the cinematic flair of Hideo Kojima and his ability to tell the most mind-bending story, splice in the totally over-the-top mad action Platinum Games are renown for and you get Metal Gear Rising : Revengance.
This game nearly didn’t happen, Kojima knew what kind of game he wanted to make but it was missing that je ne sais quoi, it wasn’t until Platinum Games stepped in and demonstrated what they wanted to do with Rising did Kojima hand over the reins (a very rare occurrence).
Before we start this review I’d like to just state that we are not here to discuss whether we now like Raiden or not, nor should Rising be compared to the Metal Gear Solids, its a wholly different game so it wouldn’t be fair but will it deserve to be ranked way up there with its spiritual predecessors?
You have to be pretty confident to take over a game that a legend like Kojima started and wow does that confidence show, the game starts with a bang! Graphically Rising is stunning, its been polished to the Nth degree, super crisp and smooth and the framerate rarely drops even when the action goes to completely thermonuclear (which it often does!). The characters look great and as does the scenery and the background. You could say that it looks hyper realistic, with an almost manga feel to it which serves the game well because it just adds to the absurdity.
After some expected outlandish story-telling we are introduced to the control scheme which quite simply promotes aggressive and frantic button mashing but not in a bad way!
Set four years after the events Metal Gear Solid 4 Raiden has been put back together again but more augmented than ever. The past game’s antagonists, The Patriots, have been broken up into numerous factions and without the mind-controlling nanomachines, the factions turned to cyborg technonlogy, thus creating superhuman soliders. While providing security detail in an African country for its prime minister, N’Mani, Maverick operative Raiden and his team are attacked by Desperado, a rogue PMC. Raiden loses N’Main to Jetstream Sam, a fellow cyborg who seems much more advanced than Raiden and totally annihilates him in a samurai sword fight on top of a moving train. Unfortunately, the leader of Desperado, Sundowner, kills N’Mani and escapes, leaving Raiden armless (again!) and bleeding out. 3 Weeks later rebuilt and wanting revenge Raiden sets off to even the score with Jetstream Sam and put a stop to Desperado’s plans of causing chaos. All this occurs within the first hour of gameplay! The rest of the story does well standing on it’s own whilst borrowing elements of Metal Gear Solid-ness such as the four symbolic bosses and a cameo from a certain young lady. The game should take you roughly 6 – 7 hours to finish which isn’t a lot but the PC version comes inclusive of all 3 DLC’s released for the original consoles – VR Missions, Jetstream and Bladewolf. VR Missions adds 30 more VR Missions. Jetstream depicts how Jetstream Sam became invovled with Desperado and my favourite: Bladewolf, Raiden’s philosophical a robotic canine companion. His DLC details his involvement with Desperado Enforcement prior to encountering Raiden and we meet the mysterious Khamsin, a previously unknown fifth member of Desperado.
Being a Platinum Games fan I can gladly report Rising employs the most fun control scheme from the developer yet because it simply promotes aggressive and frantic button mashing but not in a bad way and I’d really recommend using a game controller for this game. There’s a light attack and a heavy attack which you can string together to form combos. It has to be said though that there doesn’t seem to be as much depth or variety in these combos, just mash the buttons as quick as you can whilst moving your reticule towards the poor soul you want dicing and watch Raiden slash and swish and leap his way across the screen until nothing is left moving! Visually its stunning, very stylish and very aggressive!
The elegance and full satisfaction though comes in when you enter Blade Mode, this is when time slows down, Raiden stands still and you given FULL and PRECISE control of how you want strike your enemy be it an arm, a leg or a head from the jaw up! Your left analogue stick controls the camera and your right controls the sword, you can slice in any direction anywhere you like. This is actually also how you replenish your health, if you strike an enemy on the red reticule a quick time event triggers, hit the corresponding button and Raiden will rip out their spine and absorb the fluid which recharges his health, all this happens in slow motion, yes, again, its sadistic but it never gets old! You’d do well nailing this skill down, as Rising progresses, Blade Mode becomes more and more integral as its given more uses.
One of these uses is the ability to parry or deflect anything coming your way which I felt was probably the most infuriating part of the game. What an odd way of defending yourself! Here you are going crazy, hammering the keys to death, jumping and slashing about then you’d have to suddenly stop, enter Blade Mode and stop things from hitting you. There is a gaping omission of a dodge or block function, I can’t help but feel that Rising could’ve benefitted from just a quick tap to save yourself, the combat would’ve flowed better. Maybe Platinum Games chose to do this because it gives Rising’s party piece more purpose.
More weapons are added your repertoire in the way of defeating boss. True to Metal Gear, these bosses are totally bizzare and messed up in their own right, they are the members of the Desperado Enforcement LLC. These bosses are the real stand-outs of the game for me, not only do they pay homage to Kojima’s creations, they stand as huge set pieces that challenges you to think outside the box. The weapons you receive from the them are also just totally bonkers! When used, they add even more visual spectacle and an enormous entertainment value. There is also a number of firearms and throwing weapons to be picked up throughout the game.
Furthermore for the fans is the story; it is full of political agenda and moral questionings with a couple of twists and surprised thrown in. You can also expect to see the famous cardboard boxes and girls in bikinis! However when the story is told in-game the pace is spoilt a bit. When making codec calls the game carries on going with Raiden strolling about chatting away to his team who I found a bit bland actually, this takes away the gravitas of the situation and at times even dumbed it down because of Raiden’s dull team and leisurely walks!
I also found a real issue with the camera keeping up with you at times, when the game moves at such a blistering pace you have to be able to keep track of Raiden but sometimes he disappears completely leaving you frantically spinning the camera around trying to find him, then finding him half dead of course!
So to conclude, Metal Gear Rising : Revengeance like it’s title suggests its a manic, screaming, brash and insane experience. The game never let’s you breathe for one minute but because it moves at such a blistering pace, at times it trips over its own feet with some pacing issues. These issues are very quickly forgiven with the sheer fun of the action as well as the finesse of Blade Mode. It’s hard not to compare Rising to DmC where not only are of they of the same genre, they also share a family tree. Bayonetta is still the superior game as gamers won’t find a same sense of depth or sophistication but it is a feast for the eyes and a full on assault on your senses with a lot of fun to be had in between. Unfortunately, it would seem the original camera issues were not fixed for the PC release and there is still a framerate issue especially during Blade Mode but now I’m just being picky!