Review: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Posted: October 28, 2013 in Gaming
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I have been a proud fan of all things Metal Gear since Metal Gear Solid 1. I have since gone back and played the NES games, every PSP iteration and even the HD remakes for the PS3. At least once a year, I play through the ENTIRE Metal Gear series in chronological order. Needless to say, I was beyond excited for this game. Unfortunately, this excitement was repaid with the most overall disappointing gaming experience I have ever had.

 

GRAPHICS: 9/10

Above all else, this is an insanely good looking game. Every over the top explosion, every slice of the blade, every severed limb is well designed and animated. The environments are well detailed as well, but pretty forgettable. Even now, I cannot really describe anything outside of a street with some buildings, but they were solidly designed all the same.

 

STORY: 4/10

The story is one of the biggest downfalls of the game. In all honesty, if the name “Metal Gear” was not in the title, it would not have been so bad. Unfortunately, the name carries major expectations which were not met.

Four years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, PMCs (Private Military Corporation) are still running at full steam. They are now bolstered by cyborg technology instead of the Sons of the Patriots (SOP) system. Though escaping the war economy of the past made things relatively peaceful, there are always people who need the gears of war (HA) to keep moving and are willing to destroy the lives of millions to do it.

Again, this story is not particularly bad, but when you consider the depth and connection of the story amongst all the other titles, this game just does not fit. There are little to no solid references or links to any of the previous titles, which makes it very difficult to get as immersed into this game as you may have in the others.

To make matters worse, within the narrative of just this title, there is little to no character development. In a universe that has produced notable characters and backstories like those of Otacon, Vamp, Solidus and Liquid Snake, Grey Fox, etc., to not know or understand the motives of any of your enemies is honestly unacceptable. The story does not even attempt to exist anywhere near Kojima standards until almost halfway through the game. This might be fine for someone outside of the Metal Gear universe, but for the fans, Kojima owes us more than this.

 

GAMEPLAY: 6/10

Metal Gear Rising: Revengence is an action/adventure game. Combat is primarily melee based. Anyone who has played the demo or watched any of the trailers knew this going in. I knew this going in; however, I expected a much tighter execution. There are a couple of gameplay elements the developers I am sure hoped would work, but not one of these elements really hit.

First, because Raiden is a cyborg, he must stay fueled up. In lieu of rations, Raiden needs either nanomachine packs (essentially this game’s version of rations) or the electrolytes of enemy soldiers. The most entertaining part of this setup is having to slice your opponents in half to snatch out the intact spine or brain casing, which holds the needed energy. This “zan-datsu” (cut and take) dissection is accomplished through Blade Mode.

The Blade Mode was meant to be a way to provide players with the ability to execute precision cuts with the blade in bullet time. While in Blade Mode, you use the right analog to slice and dice your target. This would be fine if the controls were as precise as I was made to believe. In the heat of battle, it is far easier to jam on the square (light attack/horizontal slice) and triangle (heavy attack/vertical slice) buttons to hack up your target. Truth be told, this mechanic was better used and more efficient in Afro Samurai.

Ninja Run is another element which heavily relies on gameplay mechanics. As a way to prevent any loss in pace from missteps in platforming (like in Ninja Gaiden), the Ninja Run is used as an easy and fast paced way to get through obstacles. Regardless of how exactly the obstacle is situated, Raiden will attempt the most logical and efficient jump or slide to get you through whatever may be in your way. Ninja Run is probably one of my favorite gameplay devices. It also comes in very handy in combat since there is no dodge or block button.

This leads me to the Parry system. As oppose to having a dodge (God of War, Batman: Arkham Asylum) or block (Ninja Gaiden, DMC), your only defense (other than running for your life) is parrying enemy attacks. This is done by pressing the left analog towards the oncoming attacker and hitting the square button. It is true the better you get at this maneuver the more accomplished you feel; however, there is no reason this is the only line of defense against attacks. Even Kratos has the good sense to roll out of the way when something 50 times his size starts swinging at him. To make matters worse, “towards the oncoming attacker” is relative to the camera. This would not be so bad if the camera was not possessed, moving frantically trying to keep up with the action of the game, usually to no avail.

It is 100% possible to get used to all the flaws in the gameplay here, but that does not excuse them, nor does it make them non-existent.

 

SOUND: 7/10

The voice acting in this game is solid. Everything from random baddie banter to cut scene conversations is well done and helps to try to salvage some of the emotion lost in the poor story execution. Every swing of the blade, every spurt of blood and every unnecessary explosion sounds as good as it would in any American action flick. The music, however, is where I take issue. Though it is true this is not your traditional tactical espionage Metal Gear, there is no excuse for completely jacking the entire Devil May Cry soundtrack. I am not trying to say there should be ballads playing throughout the game or any such ridiculousness. What I expected was to be moved by the music of this game like every other Metal Gear. I expected to want to make the opening theme my new ringtone, but I cannot even remember it well enough to hum it. For a series which has such iconic music, this game really missed the mark.

 

FINAL WORD: 6.5/10

As I stand on this mountain top, I see I am alone. I have read the reviews and seen the ratings from several other gaming sites and publications who all seem to think pretty highly of this game. I do not. Platinum Games proved to me it cannot take itself out of worlds like DMC and Bayonetta and work more within the lines of something more realistic. As far as an action game goes, MGR: Revengence was OK, but when I see the Fox logo in the opening credits and the name “Metal Gear”, this game has to be more than OK. Apparently, I stand alone in this belief and understanding. So be it.

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