When Metal Gear Rising first released on consoles, I decided to skip it. One of the big reasons was the fact that I really haven’t enjoyed many titles from PlatinumGames before. I know, that makes me a bad gamer, but I can’t help it. After spending some time with Raiden and company on the PC though, I can see I have missed out on a very fun, albeit insane experience.
After the events of Metal Gear Solid 4, Raiden creates his own special private military company that specializes in peace protection for the countries that were affected by the horrible reign of The Patriots. A new terrorist organization called Desperado begins their attack on one of Raiden’s clients and now he must figure out what they are after and how to stop them. That’s about as simplistic as I can describe it, and honestly, it really doesn’t matter what is going on in the grand scheme of things.
Unlike other titles in the Metal Gear series, Rising is a pure action game. Raiden uses his sword and other weapons to create massive combos as well as slicing up his enemies. Using light and heavy attacks players can string together stuns, juggles and many other devastating combos. It’s a rather simplistic system, but get very complex with practice and accuracy.
After whittling down an enemy’s health, Raiden can then finish them off with a special Zandatsu attack where the camera comes in close behind his shoulder and players can aim and pinpoint vertical and horizontal slashes that cut the enemy into pieces. It is brutal, gruesome, and very satisfying. Players can also manually aim their slashes as well, so they’re never stuck using one or two standard cuts. These come into play later on in “quick time events” where Raiden must successfully cut something a certain way. This can’t be spammed at will, though. Raiden has a limited amount of energy that will begin to drain while in the blade mode.
The Zandatsu attacks are not just for show either. When activated, time slows down and a target appears on the enemy’s body. Hitting this target will allow Raiden to grab and absorb fuel cells in the enemy’s body. When done correctly, these will fully heal Raiden as well as give him full battery charge.
Offense is not the only thing Raiden has up his robotic sleeve, blocking, and more importantly parrying, is something the player will have to learn and use if they want to survive. Simply enough, the only thing that needs to be done is tap the attack button and press towards the attacking enemy to engage a block. Timing is vital to parrying, though after using it numerous times, players will see how valuable it really is. After parrying, Raiden unleashes counter attacks that automatically set up a Zandatsu attack. There is the potential that Raiden can counter every attack sent his way and not even get hit once. It would be very difficult to do, but it could happen after some practice.
Along with his sword and secondary weapons gained from killing a boss, there are also sub weapons that can be equipped. These are rocket launchers, grenades, and other items. I found myself not using these much at all, mainly because I would have to aim my attack in a rather slow animation. The enemies don’t particularly move slow, and having to aim these attacks really took me out of the action. It was jarring at times, so I decided not to use them, and the game seemed totally fine with that.
Killing enemies and slicing up pretty much anything in the levels offers up battle points that can be used to purchase new moves, weapons, upgrades, and suits for Raiden. There’s a good amount to obtain here and even after completing the game once, I hadn’t earned enough to buy everything.
Later on the in the story, Raiden gains the ability to go into a berserk mode when his fuel cells are fully charged. This is called Ripper Mode. Here, while Raiden’s batteries drain, he is allowed to slice and dice enemies without going into blade mode and can ignore enemy armor and slice right through. This mode only lasts a few seconds, but it is a devastating trick that can turn the tide in a battle.
One of the biggest things where the game gets seriously ridiculous is in the boss fights. These can be epically large in scale or a one on one fight with another cyborg. Either way, they are intense and fun as hell. Here is where both blocking and parrying become top priority. While the core experience is not very difficult, the boss fights spike rather high and will not hesitate to kill the player if they are not careful. Each fight brings more variety to the experience and really made me cheer after seeing a major set piece. These really are a spectacle to see and play.
The presentation is well done, partially due to the original soundtrack. It’s full of heavy metal tracks that ramp up and add lyrics to them when the action heats up. When I heard these songs in the boss fights while Raiden and his enemy were at each other’s throats, it was energetic and full of pure awesomeness. It fit the entire game so well.
The voice talent is great even if there are some exaggerated characters, but when a game has a cybernetic ninja slicing through a giant robot with a samurai sword using only his feet, I can’t really judge it too much.
Visually, the game looks stunning. Still, I know many will be slightly disappointed to hear it is locked at 1080p, but even then, it runs smooth and never skips a beat and still manages to look pretty damn amazing.
There are a few hiccups I had with both the game play and mechanics. The camera is not the best in the world and many times it would end up spinning around to the point I was attacking and getting attacked by enemies that weren’t on the screen. The lock-on mechanic is a little off at times as well making the camera go into a few strange angles.
The parry and block take a good amount of time get used to, and the last few boss fights require some impeccable timing for blocks and parries, and if the player hasn’t gotten this down yet, they are in for a frustrating time.
Finally, the game is not very long. With only seven chapters in the main story, I completed the entire story in four hours and thirty minutes. Still, there are multiple difficulties and getting all the upgrades and weapons will take multiple plays. Not to forget there are a couple of extra DLC levels which add more to it as well.
It may be a somewhat short experience, but there’s no denying the fact that the entire time was full of high adrenaline action. The combat is simple and satisfying, and the presentation is top notch. It says something when I usually skip a developer’s games and end up really loving one of them after playing it through. With a full package including the game and all the DLC priced at $30, this is a steal. Even if you’re not a Metal Gear fan, if you enjoy lots of action and some fast-paced combat, you should really pick up Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. You’ll have a really fun time.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.