I get that people were disappointed that they weren't playing as Snake, but I still think Raiden was awesome in MGS2.
Pretty much this. I remember people were so butt hurt about Snake, Raiden got hit with all the shrapnel. I think the more you played it your confidence in him grew especially after he took down that fighter jet. I think he's redeemed and far as I'm concerned his badassery is on the level of a Predator.