Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is and off-shoot of the historical Metal Gear franchises. Set after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriot Once, Metal Gear Rising takes on the role of Metal Gear Solid 2‘s leading man Raiden, as you wage war between the Private Security Providers (PSP’s) and Private Military Companies (PMC’s). Raiden is still a cyborg ninja, and as such you would expect stealth to be your main weapon against enemies. However, unlike previous games Metal Gear Rising is not a Kojima stealth based game, but instead a Platinum Games Action based hack and slash Adventure.
The game takes place in Africa, and Raiden is assisting the Prime Minister with making Africa a more peaceful continent. As a member of PSP Raiden is training their security to prevent wars and invasions by PMC’s and potentially other countries. During travels the convoy is attacked and the Prime Minister is abducted, and so begins the tale of revenge known as Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Overall the story is highly melodramatic and what you’d expect to find in a Metal Gear game, although not quite as thought out as Snake’s and Big Boss adventures. The dialog and acting are acceptable, but overall MGR is lacking when compared to the standard set by the Metal Gear franchise.
The game is absolutely over the top as you would expect from Platinum Games (creators of Bayonetta, MadWorld, and more), but the combat is top notch as always. As former employees of Capcom and having worked on games such as Devil may Cry and Viewtiful Joe, it’s with complete confidence that I can say Platinum Games are the best combat developers for the hack and slash genre. Metal Gear Rising, may not have the same degree of depth as Bayonetta, but it’s easily among the top in the genre for pure entertaining combat. The controls are your traditional options. Square for light attacks, and triangle for heavy attacks. You can also push the analog stick in different directions to perform different combo attacks. However, Platinum games has once again developed a unique gameplay mechanic for the genre. Instead of traditional blocking, in Metal Gear Rising you must perry enemy moves by using a light attack to knock foes back and leave them momentarily open for a counter assault. Mastering perry can take some time getting use to, but it’s a skill you must master in order to progress through the game at all (especially on harder difficulties). However, for such an important mechanic Platinum games completely failed in preparing you or teaching you that you will need to perry the entire game, and after getting to the first boss, and not realizing that it can make the game seem much harder than it is.
Blade Mode is the second most important tool of combat, as it allows you to quickly finish off your enemies and replenish your Blade Mode meter or cut off the enemies left hand for upgrades. With Blade Mode activated the game zooms in and everything slows down allowing you better precision of where to slice. Blade Mode has been significantly toned down from the original demonstrations by Kojima when the game was just Metal Gear Rising (no Revengeance), but it’s still fun to see things get chopped up into little pieces. Getting back to upgrades there are many for Raiden to play around with ranging from enhanced durability and Blade Mode, new weapons, and skills. After getting enough upgrades the game’s combat and diversity truly shine, and let’s MGR shine as one of the best in the genre (again from Platinum).
But there is one significant problem with the game. I don’t know what it is about 3D hack and slash games, but the camera just doesn’t work for them, and MGR is another example of that. At times the camera can be PS2 levels of bad, where you can’t see any of the attacks coming your way and end up taking unnecessary damage in combat. Thankfully Raiden can take a good amount of damage before dying, but on harder difficulties it’s not a luxury that Raiden really wants to use. The camera can literally get stuck in corners or on walls, while the enemies try to pummel you, and all you can do is try to Ninja Run out of the situation or hope for a parry. It’s bad.
MGR is a great game to look at. MGR has solid texture work, solid lighting, and great character models. But the graphical star of the game is the deformation from cutting enemies and objects down to multiple parts, and the beauty of the game running at an amazing 60 frames per second (most of the time). Metal Gear Rising is only 8 chapters long, and can be beat in around 6 hours (on hard), so it’s a fairly short game. However, the game is still fun and no one does boss fights as consistently good as Platinum games in the genre (well maybe Sony Santa Monica, but Platinum games has a greater variety of games under their belt this gen). Ninja-Cyborg vs. Ninja-Cyborg battles are great as are Ninja-Cyborg vs. Metal Gears, and are the more memorable moments of the game.