Metal Gear Rising Revengeance Review

The latest offering by Hideo Kojima made by Platinum Games goes by the name Metal Gear Rising Revengeance which from the title you can surmise is set in the Metal Gear universe with Kojima's favorite character Raiden acting as the game's protagonist using his cybernetic and one hell of an amazing sword to hack and slash his way through a world of private military companies(PMCs) and political intrigue. The hack and slash is very well done with a new mechanic that adds to the usual formula, but the reasons for the hack and slash fall flat.

The tone of the story changes wildly from goofy evil for the sake of evil to trying to talking about the problems with geopolitics. This is a game where you have the harvesting of brains of children which is so crazy it boarders on Saturday morning cartoon villainy that tries to become serious and talk about the abuse of the first world towards the third world and the evils of war. Unfortunately you can't have it both ways, if parts of your story are about silly over the top events, that will undermine the serious parts of your plot. Also the brain harvest event happens so early in the game that it makes the final twist in the plot at the end seem trivial in comparison. 40 dead soldiers, adult soldiers, is tragic, but nowhere near as horrific as the forced surgery and death of countless poor, third world children in the name of war. If Kojima wants that to be his main point then why wouldn't he make that the big twist at the end where everyone will remember it?

Cutscenes in Metal Gear Rising Revengeance are used to accomplish too things. The first is to have characters spout philosophy back forth and the second is to show off some completely over the top action sequences that the Metal Gear series is known for. The game fails with the philosophy. The dialogue that the characters speak sounds so unnatural it can't be taken seriously. It isn't the delivery that's bad, as always in the Metal Gear Solid series the voice acting is well executed, it's just the script that is awful. Instead of trying to make a point Kojima attempts to beat you over the head with it. Yes the world is harsh if you are poor and war is evil, we get it and we got it from the other Metal Gear Solid games. That said it does very well with the action sequences which while not as exciting as the cutscenes from Metal Gear Solid 3 are full of the completely impossible yet impossibly cool looking visuals that Kojima is known for. As always the cutscenes had me thinking there is no way this is possible but it is so damn cool and different that I don't care.

While the cutscenes are where you are suppose to think hard and the gameplay is so fast it leaves you little time to think there is a section where Kojima wants us to think about what we have been doing to the countless poor soles we have been cutting up to this point, the problem is he did it better in Metal Gear Solid 3. Remember that moment in Metal Gear Solid 3 when you are about to fight The Sorrow and you are forced to wade through the bodies of the men that you killed? It was a brilliant time in gaming that forced you to see the consequences of your actions. However, the thing is that you had a choice in Metal Gear Solid 3 of whether to knock out a foe or kill them. There is a similar point in Metal Gear Rising where Raiden can hear the thoughts of the police he is fighting. However in Metal Gear Rising we are not given a choice. In many sections of the game you are forced to fight enemies to proceed, there is no option to incapacitate them and there are walls erected to prevent you from bypassing the fight. If Kojima's intention was to make players feel sorry or regretful for their actions the fact that he forces your hand destroys any chance of these feelings.

The gameplay in Metal Gear Rising Revengeance involves mostly hack and slash combat with the occasional stealth section mixed in. The combat sections of the game are quite fun due to the fast fluid nature of Raiden's movements and the extremely interesting swordplay. If your familiar with Devil May Cry then you know the drill when it comes to combat. However the unique mechanic in Metal Gear Rising is something called blade mode. Once you go into blade mode Raiden stays rooted in place and is able to swing his sword in any direction by using the right thumbstick. If the fuel cell meter is full then time slows down to a crawl where Raiden can cut his enemy into a million pieces and if he preforms a special move called a zan datsu correctly then he will rip out an enemy's spine and crush it to regain health and energy for his fuel cells. This move along with the ability to cut trees, light posts, bridge supports and a host of other items in the environment makes for a very satisfying experience while using the blade and when you use blade mode to cut through that building that a boss just through at you, you feel like a total badass.

There are several bosses in the game and although in my perfect world no boss fights would exist each is interesting and unique. One will have you defending yourself from all angles as Monsoon comes after you in a cloud of smoke on the other hand trying to defeat Sundowner involves you taking his shields apart piece by piece because not only do they protect Sundowner striking the panels causes them to explode. Each of the bosses requires a different strategy to defeat them efficiently and the final boss fight is quite challenging and lengthy involving several different stages.

After playing Metal Gear Rising Revengeance I wouldn't play it again, but it is still a well made game overall and one that I would recommend to fans of hack and slash or those that relish boss fights.

 

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