Reveling in Revenge
Tactical Espionage Action? Bah. Baffle. Poppycock. Dumping yourself in cardboard boxes whilst chomping on cigarettes and rations may be somewhat effective when it comes to saving the world, but the more brutal, fatal and downright awesome looking processes you undertake in doing so, the better. Quarter man, majority robot Raiden gets the idea, rushing into battle armed with a forever cutting katana and emotional drive to level entire cities in one fell swoop. Raiden has returned and he getting bloody furious in Metal Gear Rising: Re…Revengie…Revengeance…a title I find hard to pronounce even through text.
After leagues of hatred from Snake lovers everywhere after the events of MGS2, Raiden entered the personal security business to earn a little bit more respect, a career move that regularly sees him detatching limbs from terrorists, tearing through robots that grace the clouds and performing endless forms of acrobatics from exploding vehicles. After one major cock-up at the hands of terrorist cell Desperado, Raiden ends up even less fleshy thanks to a few swift strikes of an enemy sword and the weight of a failed mission crushes his ego. Thanks to some quick cyborg boosters (and a new arm to boot), he’s fit to bring down the terrorist organisation at lightning pace with the help of a katana that slices through absolutely anything…including cardboard boxes.
Right from the get go, Reven…, screw it, Rising makes it bloody clear that its aim is to have a ton of fun at anyone’s expense, with or without approval, like a clown nonchalantly juggling acid soaked axes around a crowd of newborns. Cyborgs, robot wolves and gazillion foot war machines all crumble in the shadow of Raiden’s blade, and so many limbs fly off in the opening minutes of the game that you’d think it’s a public service announcement about leprosy. Waltz in without undergoing some extra-curricular VR training, and the combat system is a clunky mess of stilted attacks and random sword blitzes. Take the time to revel in blood in controlled environments however, and you soon see just how visually complex yet astonishingly easy wielding your blade is. Two attack buttons varying from light or heavy strikes is pretty textbook stuff, but it doesn’t stop each combo looking just as horrifyingly beautiful as the last. Each smack feels vital in emasculating enemy, and be they humanoid or metal beast, each swift slice feels satisfying. Beat down your opponents enough, and you’re able to add the pin laced cherry on top.
After smacking away at assailants, you can switch control from buttons to the joystick in a bid to dissect opponents through more accurate means…or simply slash away like a mad man and leave literally hundreds of pieces of daft henchman strewn across the floor. Weakening foes allows Raiden to unleash the ultimate finisher on his rather unfortunate foe, switching to 360 precision with the flick of a trigger and allowing him to control where he cuts in relaxing slow-mo. Take off an arm for data, take off everything for perversion or exploit a weak point so you can tear out their ‘spine’. The choice is yours, it all looks spectacular.
It’s weird, but the analogue stick suddenly becomes something more than a bobble on a controller throughout your massacre. It becomes, shall we say, a pivotal culling instrument. As the right hand frantically mashes, the left calmly conducts its way through the madness. Each movement and stride you make feels incredibly fluent and focused, even if you’re surrounded by enemies and hitting the controller with your forehead. Movement, precision slicing and parrying are all jammed onto that one stick, but at no point does any element get in the way of the other, instilling in your brain that you’re some kind of superman as you effortlessly flick between such states. Whilst it all remains as simple as anything the Arkham series has produced, it looks infinitely more complex…making you feel infinitely more powerful.
Possibly the greatest stress reliever I have ever come across There’s always a subtle nod to the series’ roots, just to remind you that this is a Metal Gear game. From time to time, a stealthy approach is dangled in front of you, but not without a sense of irony pervading your ears as side characters scoff through your Codec. Nevertheless, as enemy blades become tougher through harder difficulties, more subtle approaches are encouraged. Raiden can dabble through his inventory to find boxes and barrels to hide in or holographic Page 3 stunners to distract guards before stabbing them in the back. Such scenarios are never frowned upon, and can break up the action rather nicely should you grow tired of endless slashing. Of course, if you’re not tired of it, that’s cool as well. Carry on if you must.
As each level get decimated, battle points build up waiting to be fused into Raiden’s body. Tear off a vital appendage from a boss’s body, and you can utilise it yourself as a secondary weapon. There aren’t stacks of these available, but there doesn’t have to be. From level 1, you get this awesome sense of empowerment through gameplay, and each upgrade from the most basic strength boost to new weapons feels like a genuine achievement…simply because they’ll unleash more carnage.
It’s fast. It’s frantic, and it never let’s up…except for when the story decides to rear its head. Revengeance has a narrative perfectly merged with its over the top gameplay through gluing both together with melted cheese. Its’ ridiculously great action sequences are often handed to you on a silver platter, persuading you to mildly guide Raiden through them with lenient QTE’s. Whenever a narrative heavy cut scene comes along though, the pace immediately slows down to fit in some America bashing. You won’t need to stock up on a bevy of snacks in preparation to sit through 90 minutes of lovely cinematics, but each can occasionally meander.
There’s so much madness occurring on screen with each and every millisecond that sometimes even the cameraman can’t comprehend it. At the best of times, you’d think the camera has been hitched on an overly excited fly who’s found a rather juicy piece of manure. Like a cyborg fetishist, usually in the midst of the paced boss battles, the camera will whoosh around to examine Raiden’s cyberkinectic body in all its naked glory. With little practice, this becomes unbelievably infuriating, and even as you stare down the blade at the final boss, it can bug you when your view suddenly shifts to a dynamic piece of rubble.
It’s a shame, as it’s the only thing that mars the smoothness of combat. Whilst cinematic environments are so plain they’re begging for painting with the innards of your enemies, level locales are glorious in appearance, and characters glimmer as they pull off insane moves. As sparks fly and bodies ignite, the game never slows down in any way. A game of this technical prowess should theoretically make your console sweat blood, but Revengeance somehow manages to pull it off without sacrificing anything. Bundled aesthetically with an awesome soundtrack that times itself perfectly with each set piece you yourself pulls off, and you’ve got one hell of a badass simulator here.
Whilst things might slow down through cutscenes, you’ll still blitz through the campaign. The story took me 5 hours to dice through on normal, but the inevitable stacks of difficulties soon quiver your compulsiveness. It’s evident through the addictive combat and bevy of titles to collect that this was meant to be played over and over and over again, and it will be. Rising is possibly the greatest stress reliever I have ever come across, and whilst the story may feel cut short on a first playthrough, its quippy nature actually becomes a benefit later on. You can easily jump in for speed runs in a bid to attain higher grades, or simply dabble in attaining high scores in the collectable VR missions. Yes, the campaign doesn’t sound like much, and of course I’m going to want more levels and bosses to blitz through, but the gameplay is so enjoyably addictive that you will actively scout out for things to do.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a silly, obnoxious, goofy and unashamedly undignified action title, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Each Over- The -Top effect stands taller than the last and justifies itself with barrel loads of sheer fun, and has sapped away 75% of my homicidal thoughts on simply one playthrough. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a game that has installed the bar almost as high as the heavens for future hack ‘n’ slash games, and isn’t ashamed if it makes every other foray into the action genre look bad in a desperate attempt to reach it.
The Good: Fast and unbelieveably frantic combat that remains simple throughout, Astonishing graphics and framerates throughout, Great soundtrack, Satisfying gameplay that encourages multiple playthroughs, Great graphics that never interfere with framerate
The Bad: Terrible camera controls, Short campaign
Silver Y Award
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