Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
By Janus 32
The Metal Gear franchise has gone from strength to strength. There is no doubt that since the games of the NES days following Solid Snake, then the Metal Gear Solid PSOne game has it escalated. Though with Metal Gear Solid II: Sons of Liberty, was there some annoyance with the fans not wanting to control Raiden, the newbie. And then came Metal Gear Solid III: Snake Eater and then some spinoff games for the PSP and re-releases to other consoles. And then last of all Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots which looked to have tied up the story of Solid Snake rather well, although a rather sad ending.
What has made the formula for fans to come back and for Kojima’s games? Is it that he never makes his games too serious? Is it because of the cinematic direction? Or because it’s just different to the games that come out today?
It’s hard to single out a reason but what can be said is, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a completely different step from the Metal Gear series. Platinum Games comes in to lend a hand with this 3rd person beat-em up game while at the same time keeping the lore of the Metal Gear fresh and different, working closely with creator (and genius) Hideo Kojima. We follow MGS2’s unlikable (but now likable hero, since his ninja appearance in MGS4 making him looking like a complete badass) Raiden.
But with Raiden having starring in a new game for a second time, mainly fighting with his Katana, is it a game that fails on its mediocre idea of swords against guns? Or does Raiden make a ‘sharp’ impression?
4 years have passed since the Guns of the Patriots incident, in which a few legendary soldiers had taken part to thwart an international plot to take over the world.
One of those soldiers is code named “Raiden”.
With the world not stopping for anything, countries have continued to hire PMC’s to protect and do their bidding with total disregard of using the regular army. Money talks and PMC’s come jumping for work. PMC’s now are mainly cyborgs. Those that have a cybernetic brain, encased into a cyborg body. Humans who have lost limbs can be now cybernetically replaced
Raiden is now a soldier for hire, he works for a Private Military Company (PMC) called “Maverick”. Raiden has changed with the times as well and has since had some improvements to his suit and his overall demeanour.
War has inexplicably changed him and as the world seems to disintegrate day by day due to war and violence, Raiden has since used the weapons given to him for justice. Though this could be a misguided gesture as he and his team are currently in Africa on security detail for the Prime Minister…which is suddenly and unexpectedly attacked by unidentified forces wielding the same gear as Raiden.
Raiden must retrieve the Prime Minister at all costs…
Hideo Kojima, the man behind the Metal Gear franchise, teams up with Platinum Games to bring a canon game of ninjas, private military companies, wacky villains and some serious violence and gore to spice up his franchise. Though not made with the fox engine, Kojima has lent a hand as a creative producer and brought to the world another game by the character that fans love to hate or love, Raiden.
MGR:Revengeance is a 1 player affair in which players control Raiden, a cyborg ninja who is nicknamed ‘Lightning Bolt’, and moves like one as well. A third person game, like the MGS and the Devil May Cry franchise, players will be able to have the basics of rotating the camera during the action to check their surroundings. Players are simply charged with their movements of jumping and running and the like, but their button layouts are simply light attack and heavy attack. Light is very quick movements with light damage, and of course heavy is heavier damaged attacks but slower movement. Players will need to note of toggle buttons, Ninja running that enables you to run very fast and climb obstacles automatically. Great for escaping and evading enemies. Another toggle button is weapons. Though Raiden is a Cyborg-Ninja, he is able to handle weapons, mainly weapons that do a lot of damage such as surface-to-air missiles and rocket launchers.
But the main branch of fighting is hand-to-hand combat. Raiden will start off with his Katana. Dubbed as a ‘HF Blade’ meaning high frequency blade, it can literally cut through anything. Raiden first got this blade back at the end of Metal Gear Solid 2 when he had to face off against Solidus Snake. It helped him then, and now, it has been rehashed, revamped, remade and all sorts of deadly. Attacks to soften up opponents is the mix of the light and heavy attacks, when enemies have a blue hue to them, Raiden can perform ‘Zandatsu’. Zandatsu is when players can inflict devastating damage. Time slows down and Raiden can cut parts of their enemies or go completely nuts and literally can cut them into ribbons.
But of course Zandatsu cannot be achieved all the time. Players will be wary that Raiden has a life gauge, but underneath that gauge is his ‘fuel cells’ gauge. The fuel cells is what the blade mode runs off. To replenish the gauge, everytime you strike an enemy, your bladed weapon will absorb and replenish the fuel cell gauge. When you build up the fuel gauge to blue, you can cut your enemies with precision with Zandatsu and retrieve their power cells which is within their spines for instant replenishment of fuel cells but also your health.
Per level you will be letter graded on several different criteria’s such as enemies defeated, Zandatsu’s performed, no damage taken (flawless victory?) and hit combos. The points that you accumulate, of course the higher the better, you will earn battle points. Battle points can be used after per level to customize Raidens body, accessories and weapons. Increasing strength to a blade, its fuel absorption, different costumes, health bar and purchasing skills.
Through the course of the story mode, Raiden will face off against some mean bosses, though they are a ragtag team of misfits from different countries, they still pack a punch. When a boss is defeated, players will be able to acquire their weapons and use them for the later levels. Each weapon does have its pros and cons, where some are quite slow to swing but inflict heavy damage, others are moderately quick to wield. But it seems through our initial playthrough that Raiden’s Katana seems to be the more balanced and quicker to use and we started on hard mode because…that’s just the way we roll.
Now we’ve mentioned about the bosses and touched on the offensive actions that Raiden can do, but what about defense? The button layout has no block button, but instead players need to do two things simultaneously to ‘Parry’ their opponents. They will need to tilt the movement stick in the direction of the opponent and tap the light attack button at the moment the opponent is about to strike. Now this defensive skill is possibly the hardest move in the game to master. Especially when you’re being boxed in by multiple opponents. Parrying in that situation can be done even if an enemy is right behind you but it is still not easy. But the best thing about parrying is, when it is timed right and you can come up with a quick counter attack, it really is satisfying and looks even cooler when Raiden pulls it off.
The only few things that detract from the game starts off with the weapons that the bosses give. Aforementioned about balance, each weapon does have its pros and cons. But as you ramp up the difficulty, you will find that other than Raiden’s Katana and another sword that he will be able to earn, are the quickest weapons in the game. Enemies become plentiful and speed is key. If you are in mid combo for too long then expect to have your combo broken by an attack by another opponent. The other thing that is iffy (is that even a word?) is the weapons you can use such as the rocket launcher, surface to air missiles or grenades. When aiming with any of those weapons, Raiden is stationary. He cannot run and gun, and with a large weapon like the rocket launcher, reloading takes precious seconds to complete leaving you wide open to attack.
Aesthetically, MGR:Revengeance is a very very good looking game. The details are where they are supposed to be, and character models are quite detailed including foreground and background set pieces. Raiden himself looks so much more different than what he was back in the MGS2 and MGS4 days but Raiden looks so much more different, more mature in most ways. Platinum Games really have put their stamp of their work for this title, but more on that in a few paragraphs.
A few small things could get players a bit confused and maybe annoyed, I stress these are small things, but they do not detract the overall presentation of Revengeance. Players who go through the game at normal or easy will most likely finish the game within 5 hours and then think that the game is just way too short. In essence, it isn’t. With all the movies and the content packed into the game, it should actually be about 8 – 10 hours. For the harder difficulties, definitely more.
For newcomers to the Metal Gear franchise and this is their first game, definitely should take from it as a fun, hack n slash game. The story is abit hard to grasp with the military terminology and past events. But I assure that newcomers will be able to have fun with the game if the story does not make any sense to them. For the veteran players that have been with the MGS franchise, they should be able to fit into the story right away.
For the movies that are played out, there isn’t a consistency if you change Raiden’s outfit. Raiden has the ability to obtain new outfits provided you finish the game, download from the PSN/XBLA store or fulfil other unknown extras when you fight. Which is really cool, but in the movies they aren’t changed. It’s abit of a niggling issue, because it would be cool to see the new outfit rendered or carried over for that scene. To have that consistency.
Platinum Games, put their hallmark of detail and their brand for each game they play. I’m not saying the logo but you know it’s a platinum game when you play it. Their past games like Bayonetta, Vanquish and Anarchy Reigns all have a sense immense speed. The frame rate is very fast, though if there is too much on the screen especially explosions, frame rate drops and it can slow down. But again this is another trivial mention.
Hideo Kojima and Platinum Games should be proud of themselves. For a game that definitely suits the character in lightning action and with a sense of blood and gore, it really works out nicely. It may not be everyones cup of tea, especially if they are misguided in the play time of less than 5 hours (like I mentioned before this is definitely a misconception) then the game is a nonsensical game that you can get your action fix without having to think hard about. Literally its jump in and play. And as psychotic as this sounds, chopping up cyborgs has never been this fun.
Get it. For those that are new comers to the Metal Gear franchise, this is an easy and quick game to get into and its very fun to play. But I would think that this game caters mainly towards those that have kept up with the franchise all those years ago. It answers some questions but again poses other questions as to what has happened since Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. Raiden is so different, and though as unnatural with his swearing and his darker side making a vicious return, it just still seems right that this Cyborg Ninja/Samurai to be the leading protagonist.