Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review


By Darryn Bonthuys on Thursday, February 28, 2013
"If you’re looking for a game that is all about the action, then you’ve come to the right place"

When you think of Metal Gear, you think of stealth, espionage and deception. Action is a feature that has never actually really been pulled off well in that franchise, despite several attempts from series creator Hideo Kojima to do so. So what happens when you take an unloved character from that series, throw him some cybernetic bones and let one of the most renowned action game studios around today go wild? You get one rip-roarin’ cacophony of carnage, chaos and cheese.

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It’s been four years since the events of Metal Gear Solid 4. Raiden is now a man/machine of peace, seeking to help restore balance to an African nation that has been in a stereotypical civil war for tears now. And after three years of working his exoskeleton off towards that goal, he succeeds. Peace! Freedom! Rainbows! Killer cyborg mercenaries looking to kickstart a new global war! Wait, that’s bad.

Yep, quicker than the announcement of yet another season of SA Idols being produced, comes disaster. Despite sporting some cybernetic augmentations that make him strong enough to throw a Metal Gear Ray around, Raiden quickly finds himself on the wrong side of a sword, and with fewer appendages at the end of the day.

mgrr2

Rebuilt, pissed off and seeking answers, Raiden sets out to go and confront the Private Military Group Desperado, one badass explosion-walk away-from-without-looking-at moment at a time. In short: This ain’t your daddy’s Metal Gear. Fortune favours the bold, and they don’t get bolder than Raiden who spends a normal work day running up an exploding building while slashing his way through three-armed automatons and end-level bosses born from a one-night stand between retro games and Japanese comics.

Much like in previous Metal Gear Solid games, Revengeance also looks at the effects of war, the toll it takes on a human mind. Child soldiers, the war economy and morality all take a front seat in the tale that unfolds before Raiden. A tale which falls flat on its face. By trying to mix a Baysplosion with a Spielberg moment of inner reflection, the game fails. But it fails in an endearing way, as Raiden gruff voices his way through cut-scenes and radio communications. It’s a cheesy story overall, but hell, it’s hard to not love the game because of that. And the second that a man began turning human beings into chopped advertisements for “Will it blend”, you knew that realism was being tossed out the window.

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It’s all about the action in MGR:R. You don’t block a mooing Metal Gear that is trying to ram you, you parry it with a sword that is coursing with electrons, and proceed to hack away even more. You don’t run away from a barrage of missiles coming at you, you slice your way through them. It’s the very antithesis of Metal Gear essentially, as stealth elements are tossed aside like a red-headed stepchild.

And yet, in creating a game that throws away the sacred parts of the Metal Gear franchise for something wildly different, developer Platinum Games has come up with a sincere love letter that series of games. The theme of the game is undoubtedly Metal Gearsy, from soldiers popping a familiar exclamation mark over their heads when they spot you, to signature design elements being seen in various stages. But mixed with that unique blend of mech and madness that Platinum has become so well known for throughout games such as Vanquish and Bayonetta.

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Popping in the game, initial combat sorties are going to feel like a button-mashing extravaganza. Raiden has light and heavy attacks, but the game quickly demonstrates that timing and environmental awareness are what counts in this title. Knowing when to attack, and knowing when to parry are the key aspects of the combat here. The much hyped “Zan-Datsu” mode that Platinum inherited from the original Kojima production is also present, as weakening an enemy sufficiently allows you to enter Blade Mode, a slow motion cutting experience that gives you an opportunity to leave an enemy in a state resembling a certain Black Knight. Tis but a scratch!

Blade Mode also gives players an opportunity to recover health and energy, by ripping the spines out of foes and stocking up on their electrolytes. Hit the right spot with a bit of precision, and Raiden will top up, or go slash-crazy and leave an enemy with just enough of a torso to try and bite your legs off. MGR:R is a game that reverses the focus of other MGS games, which means that stealth mechanics do pop in here and there. But they’re more of an afterthought than anything else, a more challenging initiative due to the fact that Raiden is more limited in that department.

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An Augmented Reality mode allows him a heads up of his surroundings, while sneaking around in a box provides more of a giggle than a tactical edge. It’s a system that the game at times tries to encourage, with some annoying insults hurled your way by your support team when you decide to rather take advantage of the fact that you’re a walking suit of Iron Man armour equipped with a sword that can cut a building in half with one stroke.

It also has no bearing whatsoever on the final score tally, and can at times feel like a tacked on component, made just to ease the anger of rabid MGS fans, upset with the direction that a spin-off game has taken. But when the action hits, it hits hard and the core gameplay benefits anyone who knows when to strike, and when to parry. Battle points are accrued at the end of every round of combat, which can be used to augment Raiden even further, bolstering his health, energy, attacks and techniques.

All in all, it’s a simple, yet somehow deep style if play. Combat can be hectic, with several enemies forcing you to attack in a circular method of brutality, while their own AI helps them avoid your blade, making Blade Mode something that needs to be triggered at the right time, instead of a game-killing function.

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A ninja run allows Raiden to move with speed, alongside a simple dodge, extra weapons can be equipped, and Raiden later unlocks a psycho mode which allows him to cut loose with higher damage outputs. Mind you, you may not find out about this the first time you play though, because MGR:R does a piss-poor job of explaining some of the finer tips of combat to players. It’s an annoying realization, and it’s something that Platinum should have actually known about before releasing the title, Shrugging your shoulders and leaving gamers to discover this on their own shouldn’t be acceptable in this day and age.

One other grating aspect of the game, is the camera. It’s not terrible, but when you find yourself in a corner surrounded by a Metal Gears and cyborgs, it quickly devolves into an epileptic zoom of randomness. It’s not a game-killer, but it is pretty irritating when it happens. One overlooked design aspect that deserve some special mention though, is the audio.

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It’s a great mix of heavy rock and hard guitar slashes (Ha!), while swinging a sword around feels authentic and sounds crisp. Visually the game looks great and Japanese, with mechanics from the future dominating character designs, mixed in with some flawless skin and flowing hair that would require hours of maintenance at a hair salon.

But no matter how heavy the action gets, the frame rate never suffers. It’s a crisp experience all the way through, and that includes scenes where you’re slicing cars in half while a maniac is throwing tanks at you. It’s just a pity that the various bland environments didn’t receive as much love. But if there is one aspect of the game, one key area that really benefits from all the positives mentioned, it’s the boss battles.

There are only a handful of them, but they are glorious. Utilising the cutting mechanism perfectly, you’ll find yourself parrying attacks while slicing through arms, explosive shields and segmented bodily functions, all culminating in an end-boss fight that lives up to a pedigree of challenge and coolness that many modern games lack in this day and age. Platinum knows how to do a boss fight, and in MGR:R, they set a new benchmark for that neglected side of game development.

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So here’s the big question, that most of you have been asking: How short is Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance? I won’t lie to you, it is indeed short. Playing on normal, I clocked the game in at under six hours. But here’s the thing; I can’t think of any other game that has been more satisfying in those six hours. If you’re looking for a game that is all about the action, then you’ve come to the right place.

Forget the cheesy story, the occasional bad camera and the fact that MGR:R is about as stealthy as a snowflake in a coal mine. The game knows that it’s a winner on the action front, and it takes steps to make certain that that is what gamers come back for. Sure, it may be over quickly, but with VR missions, secrets, easter eggs and upgrades, it’s worth replaying a few times.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was reviewed by on the 28th of February , 2013 at 3:30 PM on Playstation 3

GAMEPLAY
8.5
Simple on the outside, deep on the inside. Metal Gear Rising is an unapologetic hack 'n slasher that never backs down from a fight, and has a few other smaller ideas tossed into the mix as well.
DESIGN
8.0
Forget stealth, and embrace the action. Platinum knows how to make an action game, and Hideo Kojima couldn't have chosen a better studio to craft that idea and pick up where he left off. Silky smooth with a touch of visceral violence.
VALUE
7.5
Short and sweet, yet replayable thanks to various secrets and easter eggs hidden throughout levels, and with extra VR missions to boot.
TOTAL
8.0
A few small issues aside, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a deeply satisfying experience with fantastic visuals, gameplay and love for the source material.

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Author:Darryn Bonthuys

Because he's the writer that Lazygamer deserves, but not the one it actually needs right now. So we'll hunt him. Because he can't take it. Because he's not a hero. He's a loud-mouthed journalist, a watchful procrastinator. A dork knight.
  • Deon Steyn

    Where do we sign a petition for a PC release?

    • Eric Viljoen

      Be a better South African. We don’t have to do petitions to get what we want. Lets do something new, out of the box instead? Lets organize a march to protest our dissatisfaction!

      • http://twitter.com/Technikyle TechniKyle

        How about buy a console?

        • mornelithe

          Yeah, but I think he wants it to look good trololol ;)

      • Admiral Chief Erwin

        In a few hours, it will be March

        • Wtf101

          And a few hours closer to Tomb Raider…

        • mornelithe

          Beware the Ides, good sir.

      • Tbone187

        I’ll bring the tyres and petrol…hehe…

  • Tarisma

    defiantly gonna grab it when the price drops or I see it second hand

    • http://twitter.com/Technikyle TechniKyle

      I’d love to see you scream and defy buying MGR:R: “NO I WILL NOT GRAB THIS GAME! NO I WILL NOT!” whilst grabbing the game second hand.

  • Lardus

    Just waiting to win my copy :)

  • OVG

    Does it slice DMC in half and blunt Ninja Gaidens sword? If so then thats a feat in its self.

    • Major Commodore 64 Darryn B

      You know what? As much as I love DmC…I love this game far, far more. Now if Platinum and Ninja Theory did a team-up on an action game, I’d be able to die happy.

  • http://twitter.com/Technikyle TechniKyle

    Raiden in Metal Gear Solid 4 and Rising: Revengeance, is gaming proof that men can kick ass in heels…

  • mornelithe

    It’s unfortunate that games that actually had a following, have to be completely altered in the tireless crusade to capture as much profit as possible. It’s sad when a console exclusive that moves 5.4 million units (MGS4), needs to be re-invented in it’s multi-platform debut. Makes you wonder who they think cares on other consoles given the astronomical numbers (550,000 according to VGChartz), across the 7 games that have appeared on the 360.

    I’m all for multi-platform titles, and it’s good to see that this game got above average marks. But, it’s a shame that they had to completely rework the formula, when the series was already doing well. I know, I sound very cynical, and closed to change…but exactly how many stealth games are out there? I feel like eventually, all games will be the same, and variety will just be gone.

    • OVG

      Even Kojima did not expect much from this game when he handed it off to Platinum. Well in the hope that they would add a bit of Bayonetta magic and a sprinkle of passion it gives the MGS universe justice. Its brilliant and boy was Kojima surprised.

      Ground Zeroes will be the proving point if the old formula can handle going multi-plat.

      • mornelithe

        I don’t honestly care whether Kojima liked it, and whether it does the series justice or not. It wasn’t the point I was making. The MGS series has pushed almost 17 million units altogether. It leads me to believe that there’s a profitable group of gamer’s who enjoyed it as a stealth game. If I wanted some Bayonetta or DmC magic, take a wild guess what I’d play. That’s my point.

        So basically what you’re saying is they ripped of Bayonetta and DmC’s combat (now THAT’s innovation), and injected it into a franchise that’s sold just a tad more than both of the aforementioned franchises combined. Makes absolutely perfect sense.

        PS. No offense meant here OVG, it’s got me miffed, and none of my angst is directed at you. Sorry if there was some edge in there.

        • OVG

          Just get an S Rank and enjoy the boner Cuase this shit is dope :)

          • mornelithe

            Nah, I’m watching Band of Brother’s right now (it’s a yearly thing), then I’ll probably play Borderlands 2, have 21 golden keys to burn.

          • OVG

            Reminds me, Im on level 48, nearly part of the 19% of people who got to 50 club :)

            WEEKEND BABY!!!!! GAME TIME :)

          • mornelithe

            I’m lev 43, and just barely got to sanctuary the 2nd time (I did every quest through all DLC’s on my first play through so I could fast track to playthrough 2.5 and then go back and do all the quests/DLC). Things got much much easier though after using up some keys. I replaced every single piece of gear I had lol.

          • Sir Captain Rincethis

            Hurry up you. I’ve been on lv 50 way too long, and you have used plenty keys! Can’t believe I have 36 at one stage…

          • mornelithe

            From this day to the ending of the world. We in it, shall be remembered, we lucky few, we Band of Brothers. For he who today sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.

      • http://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX umar bastra

        • OVG

          ZANDATSU!!!!!!! MEOW ZANDATSU!!!!!!! MEOW…Super cat :)

          This game reeks of WIN :)

          • http://twitter.com/SaveTheQueenIX umar bastra

            BULLSEYE! totally better than DmC *flameshield up*

    • GTO

      It’s not like we are not getting more of the stealth games, I believe we have two of the stealth games in the next 3 years. Relax MGS is to popular to stop. This was MGR not MGS.

    • Tbone187

      Hitman Absolution had some awesome stealth but u’re quite right. There aren’t many out there…Most favouring an action approach instead…And now, the holy grail of stealth games has sold out perhaps…Apparently there’s a new Splinter cell on the horizon tho…

      • mornelithe

        It’s exclusive, and I’m not buying Microsoft hardware just for one game. It would be a massive massive waste of money. But, hopefully the stealth genre lives on there, regardless of my choices.

        • Tbone187

          Nope…Splinter Cell will be a multi-platform release…

          • mornelithe

            Well that’s cool, this would be the first multi-plat, right?

          • Tbone187

            Not sure. Played all previous renditions on PC…

          • http://www.twitter.com/WobblyOnion Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

            Naw; the only one that skipped Sony consoles was Conviction – which was available on PC as well.

  • Rus74

    Never enjoyed the stealth aspect of previous MGS titles but Platinum Games definitely got my attention with this “conversion” after trying out their previous excellent titles (Bayonetta & Vanquish). Sure its over the top but just like the DMC reboot this is once heck of an enjoyable slash fest.

  • Tbone187

    Not a fan of the whole hack n slash environment but from what I’ve seen in the making of this title, it certainly introduces a new perspective with a lot of attention to detail in the slicing physics and mechanics…Will be keen to have a go but it’ll certainly be a rental if anything…

  • Jon

    Nice review. Just a couple of things…

    You downplay the stealth aspect of the game quite a bit, but it really is fully functional and very useful (especially on the harder difficulties). It does affect the score in that if you stealth your way through a section completely guarantees a No Hit bonus and No Kill bonus.

    You didn’t mention that you get decoys to distract enemies with. Also, If you can 1 hit stealth kill all enemies in a location, you can avoid the reinforcements. On Very Hard mode you’ll want to do this often because the armies of hell are sent after you for raising an alert.

    Even in unavoidable battles, stealthing your way in initially can let you take out at least 1 or 2 enemies and make the rest of the fight simpler.

    • Major Commodore 64 Darryn B

      Quite true, I didn’t mention those facts at all. But I still feel that the game clumsily implements the stealth function, and chances are, the average gamer is going to buy this game for the cutting action, not the stealth.

      • Jon

        For sure. Myself included. If there is a sequel, they need to improve the camera while in a box or barrel and provide hiding places for you for when you are spotted.

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  • Cpt.Obvious

    Lets face it guys, Metal Gear Solid was brilliant … on the ps1 and ps2 times. the new one’s I got bored after 1 hour in. Then Metal Gear Rising came out .. I played all the metal gear’s games so I had to get it and boy am I impressed, don’t judge it if you haven’t played it I saw someone say its a Devil may cry copy well I wish DmC can be as good as this finished it twice easy and medium and going for the Hard optional next I don’t know it just offers something new that I was looking for

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