Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is the latest game to be released in the Metal Gear franchise by Hideo Kojima where you play as cyborg ninja Raiden who is out for some revenge or “revengeance” as the title states. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance’s gameplay takes an almost drastic turn from the rest of the games in the franchise due to its emphasis on swordplay over guns and adds a new game mechanic called Blade Mode that lets you cut anything in the game into pieces. This all sounds cool but can everyone’s least favorite Metal Gear hero, Raiden, deliver on Kojima’s promises?
A Game of My Very Own
It has been four years since the events of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and Jack, aka Raiden, aka Jack The Ripper is now working for the Private Military Company (PMC), Maverick Enterprises. While on an escort mission in some unknown country in Africa, Jack and the rest of the protective detail is attacked by members of a rival PMC known as Desperado Enforcement LLC who are there to start another arms race and boost the war economy. The foreign dignitary who Jack was protecting is abducted and it is up to Raiden to bring him back alive.
In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Raiden steps up and delivers on his first solo outing without the help of Solid Snake. He never comes off as whiny or indecisive like in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. His goals and motivations are clear from the very beginning, though he wavers and changes them. He was after revenge for what Desperado did to him, but his psyche slips and is split into two distinct personalities, Jack and Jack the Ripper during a particularly interesting boss battle. His goal changes from revenge to saving exploited children from being turned into cyborgs and stopping Desperado at all costs. Although both personalities seem in stark contrast to each other, they both want to do the right thing.
The Good, The Bad and The Metal Gear Rising
Your Codec companions this time around consist of Vyacheslavovich Popov (aka your Boss), military advisor Kevin Washington (aka Token Black Guy), data analyst Courtney Collins (aka save game), and maintenance expert Wilhelm “Doktor” Voigt (aka Frankenstein). And just like in every codec conversation, they all talk too much. Fortunately, you can speed up the conversations with the press of a button and Rose is not there to harass you every five minutes about your relationship. Raiden also gains a new companion LQ-84i, aka Bladewolf that is an AI dog. Bladewolf had the most potential for a sidekick but he is never by your side during any battles.
Desperado brings an army of cyborg mercenaries for you to cut through. They consist of the light model cyborgs that can be dispatched quickly with Blade Mode to the heavier and more armored units that you have wear down before you can kill them. The Metal Gear bosses have always been creative and difficult, and those of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance follow suit. Sundowner leads Desperado and wields two heavy swords glued together and an explosive shield for defense. Samuel Rodriguez is your chief rival and a master swordsman. He goes by the name “Jetstream” and is personally responsible for your defeat early in the game. His weapon is the “Crimson Red High Frequency Murasama Blade” which he inherited from his father. Mistral is a female cyborg and carries a flexible Bow Staff made of multiple arms from the Dwarf Gekko called “L’Etranger.” Each has a specific pattern that must be learned to defeat them. The most creative boss this time around is Monsoon, a cyborg ninja with segmented body parts. He opens up with a smoke grenade and attacks from all sides, followed by long distance attacks from his hands and then his legs. When you get close to attack, he splits his body into segments instead of dodging. Each enemy boss’ weapons can be used as a secondary weapon once that boss has been defeated.
What would a Metal Gear game be if you didn’t fight a larger than life giant Metal Gear? You face off against several Gekko and must also defeat a modified “Metal Gear Ray” and a new “Metal Gear Excelsus.”
Jack Be Nimble, Jack Be Quick
Ninjas are supposed to be light on their feet, but someone forgot to tell that to Raiden because he’s more cyborg than ninja. Raiden isn’t very nimble because he has no ability to dodge enemy attacks. He’s quick enough to parry them but his reaction time for counter attacks is slow enough that he gets hit by follow up attacks. This is where a dodge feature would come in handy. Even a simple block would be enough, but no. All you can do is parry attacks and hope none get through.
So that you don’t have to walk everywhere, Jack is outfitted with a ninja run ability. It’s helpful and used in one chase sequence and allows you to run up walls and get to ledges you can’t jump to. Without the ability to dodge and block, ninja run is your only option in order to get out of the way of an attack. It’s very helpful and can also be used to run circles around enemies and cut them.
Jack Will Cut You with His Razor Sharp Stick
This brings us to the main attraction of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, Zan-Datsu (Cut and Take) or Blade Mode. It is a bullet time style feature that allows you to cut anything in half. Once in Blade Mode, you use the left analogue stick to center a light blue targeting reticule and the right analogue stick to rotate and cut vertically, horizontally or diagonally in any direction. This is one of the coolest features in any video game and is one of the best reasons to get Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. There are no predetermined separation lines, you make them yourself. Doktor offers Raiden a reward for left cyborg hands for the data stored inside each one. Now you’re presented with an option to earn extra battle points by dismembering your foe. Raiden can cut cyborgs in half by slicing through a specific target area while in Blade Mode and pressing the Circle (on PS3) or B (on Xbox 360) button. This removes your target’s nano repair units which take the form of a blue glowing intestine. This act replenishes Raiden’s health and Blade Mode meter. If Raiden were a vampire, he would drink their blood too, but this works out just fine.
Your Words Cut Deep
Metal Gear has always been about something other than war. It’s about peace, saving the environment and protecting those who can’t protect themselves. The way Kojima conveys this is through violence as each villain wants to bring about the Boss’ plan of peace but they also want to kill everything in their way to do it. The long winded expositions by sociopaths on a power trip are still there and it wouldn’t be a Metal Gear game without them. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is produced by Kojima Productions and developed by Platinum Games for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC (release date TBA).
Chris finished the game in 13+ hours into the game and played it on Hard Mode.
Available on: PC, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Version Reviewed: PlayStation 3