Well, we donâ€™t think it’s possible for somebody to buy Metal Gear Rising expecting it to be another intense stealth experience. If the â€˜Risingâ€™ part of the title doesnâ€™t suggest that this is a spin-off, then the fact that the back of the box proudly proclaims it to be a â€œnew kind of Metal Gear gameâ€ drives home the â€˜different directionâ€™ message loud and clear.
Itâ€™s a brave thing for Konami to do seeing that very few people â€“ gamers or not â€“ are open to changes of any kind. I’m sure we all remember the fuss that was made when Capcom changed Dante’s hair for DmC. His hair, for pity’s sake.
A hack and slasher Revengeance may be, but thereâ€™s still a degree of stealth present. As cyborg Raiden traverses city streets, office blocks, sewer systems and army bases thereâ€™s often the chance to try and sneak past the enemy â€“ using MGSâ€™s celebrated cardboard boxes, no less â€“ or engage them. It speaks volumes about how brilliant the combat system is that sometimes we purposely went stirring up trouble just to rough-up a few more cybernetically enhanced soldiers and mechs.
It’s the unusually rare combination of being both flashy and substantial – fast, frantic and full of flair with Raiden able to cut the opposition into chunks via some precise manipulation of the analogue stick. Extra points are awarded for removing vital body-parts; if the enemyâ€™s cybernetic spine is exposed then thereâ€™s the chance for Raiden to reach out and crush it to gain a health boost. It’s the very epitome of cool. Each battle is rated after conflict and used against an overall grade for the end of each area.
We did find the fact that thereâ€™s no evade button a little odd at first. We quickly came to realise though that it isn’t actually needed. Raiden is a nippy character to control, entirely fluid in movement. Even jumping is handled automatically by performing a dash move – a little touch that helps to keep Raiden’s pace at breakneck speed throughout. Learning how to parry does set you back a bit at first, but once mastered it feels like a second nature.
Raiden himself is a very likeable character – a cyborg with a conscience, able to measure up the morality of each life taken by his high frequency sword. His understanding is that the soldiers that lay ahead on his path deserve to die because they signed up to become just that â€“ hired muscle. As the story progresses though, Raiden starts to take on board what other cyborgs with their forced AI programming routines have to say about the few choices they had before signing up to be cybernetically enhanced. Towards the end of the game Raiden becomes very a deep and thought provoking persona, struggling to comprehend what’s right. As a treat for Metal Gear fans, his past also comes back to haunt.
As Metal Gear games go, Revengeanceâ€™s plot is pretty easy to comprehend. Alarmingly straightforward, even. There are Codec sequences throughout but rarely do they feel like a nuisance as they usually take place when travelling from one area to the next. Raiden can also pull out his trusty black book of Codec numbers and call for additional advice if need be. The CGI cut-scenes arenâ€™t quite as sharp or detailed as we anticipated â€“ and theyâ€™re the only sign of Revengeanceâ€™s prolonged development â€“ but they are entertaining to watch with some humorous touches. There are less needlessly humorous moments than Platinum Gamesâ€™ own Bayonetta, we’re pleased to report.
By far the boss battles impress the most. Each and every one, from the opening battle to the epic finale, has clearly been lavished with attention. Theyâ€™re the type of battles thatâ€™ll stick in your mind for a long time to come, just like Metal Gear Solidâ€™s own Psycho Mantis. The QTE events are often enthralling too, involving Raiden running along missiles, up the side of buildings and using blade mode to cut away highlighted parts of an enemyâ€™s body. At the end of most of the boss battles a new side-weapon is added to the inventory, allowing for a greater range of attacks. These can be upgraded, as can Raidenâ€™s health and power bars.
When the ending credits rolled after the final battle we were a little startled to find that weâ€™d beaten the game in just over four hours. The fact that we restarted again instantly after is the biggest compliment we can give. This is the first game we’ve played in ages that’s ‘all thriller and no filler’ – every level stands out as much as the last and there’s no padding to speak of, bar the recycling of a couple of boss battles. It simply begs for multiple playthroughs due to being full of secrets and challenges to find and unlock. We didnâ€™t even discover all the VR mission terminals on the first play, let alone try them out. Being a Metal Gear game there are plenty of â€˜Easter Eggsâ€™ to find also, not to mention a wealth of collectables â€“ hidden memory cards, cowering soldiers stashed in cardboard boxes and plenty more.
Metal Gear Rising is proof that games stuck in development for obscene amounts of time donâ€™t all end up being horribly dated affairs. Then again, no other game has had Platinum called in to try and turn the project around. There are notable signs throughout that Platinum respect the license theyâ€™ve been asked to handle, resulting in one of their finest works yet â€“ a combination of Hideo Kojimaâ€™s â€˜out of the box thinkingâ€™ and Platinum Games’ deep knowledge and understanding of how a hack â€˜nâ€™ slasher should both look and feel.
Donâ€™t fear change. Embrace it.
Oi, when did scores come back? I liked it when there were no scores.
It shouldn’t really change the review or the writing, but we felt sticking a number on the end may appease some of the people who think a review’s not a review unless there’s a score (plus we missed the metacritic traffic).
A very high amount of readers simply skim-read to the end of our reviews we’ve discovered, so we’ve added a score to cater for all the lazy web surfers out there
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