Metal Gear Rising Revengeance Review
Metal Gear Rising Revengeance is a polarizing game. It does a lot of things right and just as many other things wrong. In many instances, the game gets in its own way as it tries to impress you with its fast paced hack and slash gameplay and wide scale story. However, while the game’s issues never go away and the game doesn’t allow you to forget them, the quality of the game mechanics and over the top centerpieces shines through the faults and makes Metal Gear Rising Revengeance well worth playing.
You play as Raiden from the Metal Gear Solid series but unlike that franchise, you are not sneaking around avoiding soldiers. This spin off title is a set piece laden action title with little to no regard for subtlety. Sneaking up behind your foes and taking them out with one attack is an option but these moments are few and far between. This game is about stupid, over the top and ridiculous displays of power with little to no regard to real life, like many of developer Platinum Games’ titles.
While the combat in Metal Gear Rising Revengeance at its core is simple and has been seen before, its visceral style is what sets it apart. Normal attacks are fluid and easy to execute but this game’s Blade mode, which allows you to control the angle of your slashes, allows Raiden to cut through enemies, take down giant robots, and slice through obstacles with ease. It’s a wonderful mechanic that gives you a real sense of power and is the defining aspect of the game. However, the analog sticks are not very precise and when the game asks for such precision, it can be annoying.
Speaking of annoying, this game has a serious issue with not allowing you to cut your attack animations short. This results in you getting hit as you try to turn your character around after missing a combo. The combos are at least interesting as there are many to execute and Raiden will wield two different weapons to diversify the combos. Also interesting is the ability to grab your enemy’s spine and use it to fully charge your health and blade mode meter. While this makes the game a little easier, it’s a practical incentive to use the Blade mode for reasons other than it looks cool. Cutting up enemies and collecting left hands also grants you points to use on upgrades, costumes and new moves. The changes this grants are fairly significant, especially the moves and helps with the combat’s diversity.
Still, there are nagging issues that many games like this suffer from. Special weapons are unintuitive during combat and you will rarely use them. Also, the in game menu to select these special weapons is way too slow and will usually result in you taking a hit while you try to access it. The level design is also pretty basic and plain and the enemies you fight don’t differentiate that much from level to level. The parry system in the game, which is crucial as it’s your only option of defense, is quite rudimentary. I really wished I had a block and/or dodge move I could use while playing this game.
However, the biggest failings in Metal Gear Rising Revengeance are the abundance of quick time events and the unwieldy camera. There are QTEs for almost every set piece you’re in and death of every enemy, boss or otherwise. Even Ninja mode is essentially a QTE as you just hold down that button to avoid obstacles. The camera meanwhile will sometimes just swing around and completely disorient you. At times, this will even deactivate the enemy lock on without your knowledge. Finally, although I beat the game in eight hours, I could’ve completed it sooner but I ran into several areas with difficulty spikes, including one area in the middle of the game that was beyond irritating. Also, the last boss goes on forever.
Part of the reason that fight goes on too long is there are cutscenes that interrupt the fight and drag on the drama of the situation. The Metal Gear franchise is known for its long winded and overly long cutscenes. While not as long as in other games in the series, they are still longer here than in most games. They all show off some over the top sequence that I wish I could’ve done myself or tell the story, which is also not as convoluted as other Metal Gear games but is still pretty ridiculous.
That is actually a great way to describe this game: ridiculous. Also frustrating. Some aspects about the game are pretty standard. For example, the graphics look good not great, though the frame rate suffers from time to time, and the music is your run of the mill metal soundtrack we’ve heard in dozens of action titles like this. But then you’re running down the side of a building and down a giant robot, slicing it in half. That’s just ridiculous. Then you’re fighting a boss that seems to be taking advantage of the game’s bad camera and is attacking you from an angle you can’t see him from. That is frustrating.
Still, the insanity of it all is what keeps Metal Gear Rising Revengeance afloat. For replay, you can try the separate VR missions you unlock throughout the story for a new challenge, or try to get better rankings in each of the eight story missions. Other than that, it’s a short game with no multiplayer and it’s fair share of problems so it’s hard to recommend this game at full price but if you like action games, you should definitely check this out. Others should wait for a price cut. Either way, I can still say I had fun with this game despite its flaws and if you can turn off your brain, you will too.