Raiden Finds his Revengeance in Metal Gear Rising
As a long time fan of the Metal Gear Solid franchise, I was curious to see the new direction Platinum Games was taking the Metal Gear mythology. In the years since Kojima announced this game, it had gone through many changes. First it was announced as an Xbox exclusive. A short time later Kojima announced he was bringing the title to the Playstation console as well. Then it was announced the game wouldn't be released on Xbox in Japan. Then we heard the game was almost canceled. It has definitely been a wild ride for this game, but at last, it has finally arrived.
Metal Gear Rising Revengeance is more of a spin off than an actual sequel and takes place a few years after the events of the PS3 exclusive Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Unlike the past Metal Gear Solid games which followed the story of legendary hero Solid Snake, Metal Gear Rising is a story exclusively dealing with Solid Snake's on again, off again associate Raiden. With the destruction of the Patriots system, Government leaders have taken back control of all financial, political, economic and cultural decisions of the world. With the SOP (Sons of Patriots) system off line, privatized PMC (Private Military Corporations)groups have stepped up as the leading military and law enforcement agencies for every major country and city across the globe. When the story of Metal Gear Rising begins, we learn that in the last few years since the end of the Patriots, Raiden has gone to work as a consultant for a PMC organization known as Maverick Security, who is under contract doing VIP protection for a politician of an unknown African country. It is at this point that Raidens security convoy is attacked by a rival PMC group known as Desperado Enterprises. These events lead Raiden on a quest to discover what is the goal of the PMC cyborg uprising and who is responsible for it.
Metal Gear Rising Revengeance steps away from the stealth action genre that made Metal Gear Solid famous and instead focuses more on an action hack and slash system more similar to the Ninja Gaiden or Devil May Cry franchises. Contrary to the title, Metal Gear Rising is not a Metal Gear game. Metal Gear Rising does make references and pays homage to events of the Metal Gear mythology and even reintroduces us to another returning Metal Gear Solid 4 character, but that is pretty much where the connection ends. Everything else about the game feels like Ninja Gaiden in Metal Gear clothing.
Now, that isnt to say Rising Revengeance isn't a good game. The graphics are beautiful and the gameplay is impressive. Rising Revengeance uses a new "cutting system" where Raiden's blade can cut through almost any environment (including enemy soldiers). This feature is best used during Raiden's "blade mode" where he can slow down time and slice up objects or enemies with razor sharp precision. Throughout the game, you can use the experience points you gain as currency to upgrade Raiden's weapons and cybernetic enhancements. As fun as it was slicing my way through the game, there were some factors that I felt disappointed as well. The Metal Gear Solid franchises are also known for its deep plots and rich story telling. I felt the basic plot behind Rising Revengeance wasn't really all that interesting. The plot tried achieving that same level of deepness found in Metal Gear Solid games, but unfortunately fell short. Even the new enemy characters felt unimpressive compared to classic Metal Gear Solid villains of the past. The final boss battles in any Metal Gear Solid game has always been known for their sheer epic feel. Sadly, in Rising Revengeance...the final boss battle was fun to play, but completely ridiculous. My biggest complaint about the game however, was how incredibly short the campaign was. Most gamers will run through this game between 4 to 6 hours.
Kojima has said that if Rising Revengeance can catch on with gamers, he'll continue producing it as its own franchise separate from the Metal Gear Solid timeline or universe. Overall, I felt Rising Revengeance was a strong enough game to justify its own ongoing series. Like many Metal Gear Solid fans, I too was concerned about the idea of a Metal Gear game that didn't focus on stealth action or Solid Snake. Every Metal Gear Solid fan remembers the last time Raiden unsuccessfully headlined his own Metal Gear game back in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. However, the Raiden character has come a long way since that time and is better suited for the hack and slash cyborg slicing world of Rising Revengeance.