It’s not often that we see a complete spin-off to a famous game series, especially one with a plot as heavy and important as the Metal Gear one. This time, by the hands of Platinum Games (Bayonetta, Vanquish), we get Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, a very intense action game that puts us once again in control of Raiden after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4. This time, however, we get to see and play the game in an extremely different way leaning much towards fast-paced melee combat with swords instead of the heavy stealth mechanics of the usual title of the franchise.
To me, Rising was a very important experiment and a really brave one at that. Taking the world and characters of Metal Gear and putting them in a game that mostly resembles Ninja Gaiden, God of War or Devil May Cry than its own predecessors. It could have been an excellent game and one of the best of the generation because the potential is there; but sadly, a group of problems like an extremely short campaign, not very interesting plot and very few extras hinder the overall experience of the game in a negative way.
Metal Gear Rising looks great graphically and runs in a very good way too. I really liked the textures, animations, lighting effects and all the aspects that make graphics good in a game. But I honestly don’t think they were used in a correct way. Most of the areas look very similar; they’re just cities or military complexes that really look alike. So there are no memorable places to visit, sights to see or variety in the environments at all. This is something I just cannot overlook in a game of this genre and especially if it’s part of this specific franchise.
Fortunately, the cinematics are excellent and there are a lot of them, both outside gameplay in in it too (via QTE’s in boss battles). They don’t reach the level of awesomeness as the Hideo Kojima ones in the main franchise but trust me, they’re very good. The story is what hinders them a little. For a Metal Gear game, the plot is not very interesting, easy to predict and as I already mentioned, extremely short at only about four or five hours.
The game takes place after Metal Gear Solid 4 and tells the story of what happens to Raiden, the main character, who is now a cyborg with fantastic strength and who uses swords to fight instead of guns like in MGS2 (the game where he debuted back in 2001). Raiden is part of a military company that offers protection to an African president that gets attacked by some cyborg terrorists that eventually kill him and one of them, called Jetstream Sam badly wounds Raiden, forcing him to get a completely new mechanical body. After that, Raiden will investigate the terrorists’ motives and hunt them down one by one in an attempt to stop their schemes.
There’s nothing really special about the plot here. No plot holes, heavy terminology, twists or anything of the sort. It’s just a hero’s quest to stop the bad guys from doing evil things. I personally find this extremely negative in a Metal Gear game; the franchise has us used to melting our brains after every iteration and even if Rising is a spin-off, I just can’t forgive it. Now, it’s not exactly bad, in fact, there’s nothing really WRONG with it. It’s just that this is a Metal Gear game for Christ’s sake; it’s supposed to have an extremely heavy storyline and narrative.
In the sound department, the game is actually very good with excellent voice acting that fits with the narrative in a very positive way. The sound effects are very cool, realistic and also fit perfectly with what happens in the game and the soundtrack was a pleasant surprise. It uses a lot of metal tracks that remind me of Devil May Cry and they’re actually amazing; especially the ones used in boss battles.
Metal Gear Rising is actually a hack-and-slash game where Raiden will use swords and other melee weapons to dispose of his enemies instead of taking a stealthy approach like he did in Metal Gear Solid 2. The entire gameplay mechanics are mostly positive; the game is fast-paced and very intense with solid battles between Raiden and other cyborg enemies that include long combos, parries, blocking, quick-time-events and many other things. Still, there are some things that I think were not implemented as they should.
For starters, the game’s defensive mechanics are tricky to get used to. There’s no block button and defense focuses on parrying enemy attacks or sidestepping them (with a skill that has to be purchased). I had a very hard time understanding how defense works in the game even when I’m used to the genre. I actually blame the game’s lack of explanations on how to play at the beginning for this, I was already on the third mission by the time I learned how to parry correctly or even how to buy skill because the game simply doesn’t explain you anything.
Fortunately, you should get used to it rather quickly once you figure it out and battles will be very cool. Especially Bosses where quick-time-events are implemented in a good way and don’t really get in the way of the pace and gameplay like in other franchises (looking at you God of War). Besides, a new mechanic named Blade Mode makes its debut where by mixing the X and Y buttons with the right analog stick, Raiden can literally cut enemies in whichever way he prefers, dismembering them and even taking their energy electrolytes to replenish his own health. I truly loved Blade Mode and how it’s used in the game, it’s surprising how you can actually cut enemies however you want and in hundreds of different pieces, thumbs up for that to the game.
Outside the extremely short campaign, there are some VR missions you can unlock by finding some hidden terminals in the story. They’re actually nice and add variety and replayability to the game but not enough to extend the length of the game to at least 10 hours. These VR missions include objectives like reach a destination without being seen, defeat all enemies, perform a specific technique, etc.
In short, I’m actually very disappointed with Metal Gear Rising. I was expecting a lot more from the game when I got it. Being a Metal Gear game I thought I was going to get an excellent plot, narrative and gameplay and to be honest, none of it surprised me that much. It’s not a bad game by any means but even at 40$ I find it extremely expensive for what the game truly offers. The graphics are nice but the environments aren’t, it has an excellent soundtrack and the gameplay is innovative and very intense but a little tricky to get used to. I’d recommend the game only if you can find it very cheap or if you’re a diehard Metal Gear fan.
- Great graphics and cinematics.
- Blade Mode is amazing to use.
- Excellent soundtrack.
- Fast and intense boss battles.
- Extremely short story mode.
- The story is not very good.
- The game fails at explaining how to play.
- Not much to do once you finish it.
- Useless items and stealth mechanics.
- Most environments look the same.
Graphics and Visuals……...…7
Music and Sound Effects….....8