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When Raiden first made his appearance in the Metal Gear Solid franchise he wasn’t your typical fan favorite by any means. The Solid Snake that everyone knew and loved had been replaced by a rookie soldier sent on his first real mission. His background was shady and it took a fair while to even discover his previous name of Jack the Ripper the dark and troubled past he had. It wasn’t until Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots that we saw Raiden in a guise vaguely resembling the man we see today.
Now Raiden was more cyborg than man, resembling the cyborg ninja Grey Fox more than any other character in the series. Seeing the difference in Raiden was like night becoming day. Suddenly all those naysaying fans begun to pine to play as Raiden once more. Therefore, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a big departure from the stealth formula that the Metal Gear series is known for. Now in a high-speed, heart-pounding action game, does Raiden have what it takes to slice through the competition, or does he fall short of being a “Solid” title?
Set three years after the fall of the Patriots, cyborg technology has become common throughout society. Peace was once upon the horizon and war had almost completely stopped. But as private military companies (PMC’s) that were controlled by the Patriots collapsed after the Patriot system shut down, Renegade PMC’s employed cyborg technology in an attempt to increase their power and bring back conflict. This is where Raiden steps in as a member of Maverick Security – a peace-keeping PMC outfit – in an attempt to protect the innocent and save lives by averting war. Naturally, he does this with a big sword.
It all plays like many other action games, in so much that it gives Raiden a light and heavy attack. By chaining together these together you can string crazy combos to truly punish your enemies. As you progress Raiden unlocks his “Ripper” ability, temporarily increasing Raiden’s attack, thus allowing you to destroy anything in your path. Combat may not be as in-depth as other actions games like Ninja Gaiden, DmC or Bayonetta, but Revengeance can still stand proudly beside them.
You also gain new items on your journey that can be used as sub-weapons. These new weapons are mapped to the strong attack button for easy access while keeping your primary weapon as the quick attack, thus allowing you to pull off some crazy moves with ease. You’ll also be able to use a second set of sub weapons for things like rocket launchers and electromagnetic grenades. In a little nod to what’s come before, you can also use everyone’s favorite: the cardboard box. But who uses that anyway?
There is one unique feature in Revengeance that sets it apart from other third-person action titles: blade mode. Allowing you to slow down time and slice through pretty-much anything in your way, this powerful free slicing device lets you carve up enemies with ease. While you won’t be able to run around in blade mode, you can change direction and slice freely with the right stick. Alternatively, with one press of a button slice horizontally or vertically, giving you a quick way to dice up anything. You can clearly tell that Platinum put a lot of effort into making this work as it’s incredibly satisfying to execute and it works flawlessly.
There is one minor complaint though, there’s no evade button. Instead you have to block incoming attacks with a somewhat intuitive counter system that requires you to pay attention and time your strikes with that of an enemy. However, this can be difficult on harder levels where you’re surrounded by a enemies at the same time. It’s also nice that if you time your block right, you’ll not only deflect an incoming attack but actually parry it, which automatically enters you into blade mode even if you energy level is low or empty. Still, being able to roll out of the way would be nice.
While each boss you go up against truly feels unique, I – sadly – can’t say the same about how you defeat them. Mistral, Monsoon, Sundowner, and Sam are all great characters and fit the story and Metal Gear universe well; sometimes I couldn’t wait to cut them down, while others I felt sorry for doing it. It’s just a shame that you generally just have to block and attack when an opening reveals itself. Far more could have been made of these moments, but at least the final fight is all-sorts of epic.
You can also customize Raiden by spending BP Points earned from killing enemies and completing chapters. The higher the rank is at the end of the chapter the more BP is given out. In the customize menu you’ll be able to change Raiden’s costume, make his main and unique weapons stronger, increase life, full cells and purchase new skills for more devastating ways to take out your opponents. You can unlock more things by going back and finishing on harder difficulties too, who couldn’t say no to some wigs!
There are also VR missions, that take on a similar guise to that of previous Metal Gear Solid titles, to test or temper your skills. You can unlock more VR missions by finding portable PMC computers throughout the campaign mode. These missions add quite a bulk to your initial playthrough, which may only take you around five or six hours. However, just with many other action games the pleasure comes from repeated visits on harder difficulties, discovering a whole raft of hidden collectables and fully kitting out Raiden.
Revengeance is also a beautiful game. From the areas you explore, to the objects you slice in half, everything looks amazing. Bosses, enemies and, of course, Raiden really couldn’t look much better. Isn’t just a good looker either as the combat system is tight and it boasts a pretty good soundtrack. There’s nothing quite like fighting against cyborg bosses with some heavy rock music playing in the background.
All in all, I loved my experience with Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and I can’t stop playing it. It’s a solid action game set within the Metal Gear universe, what more could you ask for? Fans of the series will love the Easter eggs throughout the game and newcomers will be blown away by the world. You don’t want to miss out on this.
Audio/Visual – 5/5: Looks amazing and runs great; it also has a really good soundtrack.
Gameplay – 4/5: Blade Mode is a riot to use and despite not providing combat depth on par with other titles, it’s undeniably fun to play.
Innovation – 5/5: Blade mode and being able to slice through almost anything definitely helps this stand out.
Value – 5/5: Don’t let the short story change your mind, there’s a lot to do and see in Revengeance.
Final Score 4.5/5
-Nate reviewed Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance on Playstation 3