I absolutely adore the Metal Gear Solid franchise, and have done for as long as I can remember.
I absolutely adore the Metal Gear Solid franchise, and have done for as long as I can remember. One of the most vivid memories from my earliest gaming days was completing MGS for the PlayStation 1 for the first time and watching those end scenes play out, all the while shedding a tear at the amazing music choices and cinematic nature that only a franchise like this could possess.
Metal Gear Solid has always been primarily about stealth, characters and plot. However, while still technically ‘canon’ this is a spin off to the highly successful franchise, so the creators have been given more freedom in how the game is constructed. The end result is a product that is lacking in stealth, a decent storyline and character development. All the series loved characters (Raiden doesn’t count here) have disappeared, and been replaced by generic stereotypes. So far, from what I’ve seen, they are far less relatable and interesting. However, the game makes up for these losses with its copious amounts of violence and action. It is a title which feels all too similar to that of Devil May Cry or Bayonetta.
MG Rising Revengeance was originally announced back in 2009, and started its development life as an interquel between the story lines of Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 4. Kojima Productions were met with difficulties building a game around swordplay though, so the game was cancelled rather quickly. Then, in late 2011, Platinum Games assumed control of the development of the game, and it was renamed Metal Gear Solid Rising Revengeance. While the game play has changed significantly, Hideo Kojima, the director of Kojima Productions, has stated that he retained an element of control over the game, and urged fans to try it even though it didn’t focus on stealth.
The game is set in 2018, four years after the events of MGS 4. The main character of the game is Raiden, who has been one of the main protagonists in the series ever since MGS 2. At the start of the game he is working for the PMC Maverick Security to raise money for his family back in the United States. However, a legion of cyborgs known as Desperado Enterprises quickly turn one of Raiden’s earliest assignments on its head, and kills the man he is trying to protect. Raiden is almost wiped out as well, but he recovers and comes back in a black cyborg armor that is infinitely more powerful. The end of the prologue is very dramatic indeed, but I won’t talk about the plot anymore so that the review can remain spoiler free.
From the moment you boot up Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance you are greeted with an expansive list of options, from languages to control styles to captions. Hard-core fans of the franchise may be slightly confused with the four control schemes that are available here, and I found it easiest just to stay with the default settings. There are also three difficulties to choose from the start, Easy, Normal or Hard. Before you start, there is an extremely helpful tutorial. I found that a new skill for the series called Ninja Run was similar to that of the free running in Assassins Creed, as it makes traversing terrain much easier.
As soon as you assume control of Raiden, you are introduced with one of the newest features for the franchise, Blade Mode. It allows you to swing your HF Blade, a weapon that is more powerful than in MGS 2, in any direction to cut through almost any object in the game, including enemies of course. It can be confusing at first, but in time you’ll be cutting through trees like their made of butter. It’s incredibly satisfying. I believe this is what the creators intended to make though. They wanted to let you roam free in an open world, and shape it as you see fit. With Blade Mode you can do just that.
The player makes use of two gauges in the game, a vitality meter and a Blade Mode meter. The second meter can be replenished by attacking enemies, and the vitality meter is regenerated by an item called Nano paste, which looks incredibly similar to the invaluable ration from earlier games in the series. There is also a parry system which allows the player to block and counter-attack, but again this can be frustrating to get used to in the beginning.
The sound in the game is absolutely phenomenal. All the sound effects are of the highest quality, and the music in the game is top-notch. During the first main boss battle the theme is both intense and powerful, with a punk rock style. The voice acting is also fantastic throughout the game. Quinton Flynn returned to voice Raiden, and everyone else plays their part well, if not for a few delays and mistranslations, but this can be expected if the title was originally Japanese.
For a current generation title, the graphics on show, both during game play and cut scenes, are absolutely glorious. The action is fast, fluid and exceptionally gory, and the controls are seamless and ultra-responsive. There is some slight screen tearing here and there, but I think that comes down to the individual’s television more than anything else.
Even though the game is fairly linear in its style, there is potential here for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance to be a gamers’ dream title in terms of Replay Value. As well as all the usual achievements and trophies, there are unlock able skins and items for Raiden to obtain, as well as numerous challenges, battles and VR missions which die-hard gamers will surely want to S-Rank. If players are willing to put in the hours, they can get a lot out of the game in the long run.
Overall, a lot can be said about Metal Gear Solid Rising Revengeance. The amount of fan service and nostalgia in the game is staggering, from the use of a codec to a cardboard box, and even down to little subtle references such as a shape of a question mark on a mug. Images like this serve to remind players about how this game originated and where its roots lie, so they are all great additions. Of course, like with any modern title these days the game isn’t without flaws. The game features enemies with shields at certain points, and they can really take you out of the atmosphere of the game, as you have to wait for them to attack before you can knock them into next week. This sounds minor, but it slows everything down drastically. Also, why do bosses in games always feel the need to throw useless enemies in your path? They’re at least 2 times as powerful as you, so why would they do it?
In conclusion, if you can overcome the game’s minor faults I believe it could quickly become one of your favourite games of the year so far. With the PS4, Xbox 720 and Metal Gear Solid Ground Zeroes now firmly on its way, it is definitely interesting to think where the series could go in the near future. For now, we should just relax, activate Blade Mode and chop up some mindless cyborgs into little tiny pieces. That is what makes this title a worthy entry in the Metal Gear Solid Saga.
The Final Verdict
The Not so Great….
· Plot can become a bit wayward and confusing
· Familiar characters virtually non-existent
· Supporting cast are cardboard cut-outs of stereotypes
· Smooth and Responsive Controls
· Action is fast and fluid
· Graphics are spectacular
· Highly recommended if you adore the MGS franchise