Review by TheOmegaShen
"Move over Solid Snake, its Raiden's turn to shine now."
Back in 2009, Hideo Kojima revealed the next entry in the Metal Gear franchise, one that was a major department from the stealth gameplay that the series was known for. This game would star Raiden, the cyborg ninja from Metal Gear Solid 2 and 4. Titled "Metal Gear Solid: Rising, it was developed around a unique cutting mechanic that would allow players to do some precise cutting. Some elements of stealth were supposed to be mixed in as well, but it was primarily an action game. However, Kojima couldn't get the game to flow properly and it just wasn't that fun to play. Adding to that, he was also very busy with Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, and couldn't find much time to offer his assistance to the game. The project was quietly canceled, but Kojima decided that he wasn't completely done with the game, and began looking for a team that he could hand over the project to. Cue PlatinumGames, the creators of titles such as Bayonetta, Vanquish, and Anarchy Reigns. Having revamped the game almost completely and removing almost all of the stealth elements, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was born. So, how did this game turn out exactly? Well, thats what this review right here is for, so lets find out.
The story takes place four years after Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, where cyborg life is now thriving. Raiden has joined Maverick, a private military company that specializes in personal security. While in the middle of a routine escort mission, his ward are murdered by Desperado, their rival company. Raiden meets up with a couple of their members and is severely injured. Having no other choice, he chooses another cyborg enhancement. With the thought of revenge fueling him, Raiden sets out to take out all of Desperado with his new power.
Obviously there is a bit more to it than that, but I'd rather not spoil it. Its not the best story in the world and it lacks a lot of the depth of the stories from Metal Gear Solid, but it gets the job done well. Voice acting is pretty good, although Raiden sounds rather odd sometimes. Bosses are interesting, but most of them don't have much screentime. The characters in this game, while nowhere near as memorable as the cast from Metal Gear Solid, are pretty likeable. However, character development isn't the best, as Raiden is probably the only character who has any.
The graphics in this game may not be the best we've seen on the PS3, but it is undeniable that this game can look gorgeous sometimes. Locations are varied and each one looks really unique. Some of the locations near the end of the game look almost breath-taking. The animations are also very well done, if a little too over the top. However, the over the top nature of the game can be a plus sometimes, as it leads to some very interesting and intense moments in the game. Overall, very nice graphics for this game, but nowhere near the best that the system has to offer.
The soundtrack for this game is incredible and it fits the game perfectly. It mostly consists of heavy metal and hard rock, but it almost always increases the epic feel of the game. Bosses also have their own themes, but with vocals. The vocals in this game were really well done, and they only start to play during the climax of a boss fight. This kind of dynamic music system is great and it makes the boss fights a lot more intense.
The gameplay in this game is very different from other Metal Gear titles. Gone is the stealth gameplay that made the series popular, and its replaced with action somewhat reminiscent of Bayonetta or Ninja Gaiden. Using two attack buttons, Raiden can perform a light and a strong attack. You can also chain light attacks into strong attacks and vice versa. Raiden can also utilize Blade Mode, a move where he can slow down time and slice his enemies into several pieces. If Raiden cuts his foes in the right places, he can absorb their electrolytes by collecting their spines and replenish his life and Blade Mode energy. Another mechanic is the parry system, a feature that is necessary if you want to proceed further into the game. By pressing toward on an enemy and using the light attack button, Raiden can parry their attacks and counter with one of his own. It is important to learn this skill early on, as it will be very useful as the game goes on. Later on, you can unlock the bosses weapons which are set to the Triangle button. Most of them aren't very useful and one of the weapons only has three-four moves, but they are fun to play around with. Combat in this game can be very addicting, and it was handled really well.
There are also a few elements of stealth left in this game. You can still hide in boxes/drum cans and try to get past enemies without being seen. If you're behind or above an enemy, you can perform a silent takedown and make as little noise as possible. Of course, this is easier said than done. The camera in this game makes it pretty hard to see where the enemies are, and it often messes up when you're next to a wall. Still, the stealth in this game was handled pretty well, and it doesn't really ever interrupt the flow.
The main campaign for Rising should take 7-8 hours on the first playthrough for most people, but later playthroughs could take less than 2 hours. If you fulfill certain conditions, you will gain a title, similar to the Metal Gear Solid games. Many different high frequency blades and costumes can be unlocked and you can also obtain VR Missions and set the high score in those. The codec system from Metal Gear Solid returns, and it can be very interesting to listen to sometimes. You can also collect several pieces of data which can unlock concept art. Missions reward you with ranks, and the goal of getting S-ranks on everything can be very challenging. The developers of this game also plan to support it with downloadable content(Some of which allow you to play as different characters), so this game could last quite awhile. If you're someone who doesn't like to play through a game several times, this game may not be for you. However, if you're looking to get the most out of this game, the replayability in this game will not let you down.
I honestly wasn't expecting much from this game when it was first announced, but I was extremely satisfied with how it turned out. Is it as good as the Metal Gear Solid series? Not quite, although its probably not fair to compare one game to a series. Still, this game is an absolute joy to play and extremely rewarding, provided you put in some time to hone your skills. If you're a Metal Gear fan or just an action game fan, this game should be a must-buy.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/04/13
Game Release: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (US, 02/19/13)
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