Metal Gear Rising has traveled a rocky road on its way to store shelves, first being scrapped by Kojima Productions and then being resurrected by Platinum Games with the added subtitle, Revengeance. My distaste for unnecessarily made-up words aside, it was my hope that the game would eventually see the light of day as, even though it is a drastic departure from the series, a new Metal Gear game is something to be excited about. Can Jack and a sword really be the basis for a new Metal Gear game? Can Platinum Games pick up on what Kojima was trying to accomplish with Rising? Now is the time to find out.
If you’re looking for Metal Gear Solid 5, you’re not going to find it in Metal Gear Rising Revengeance. Instead of Solid Snake, sneaking through the jungle, you’ll be playing as our old friend Raiden, or Jack if you prefer, slicing his way through a ton of robots. If you aren’t familiar with him, Raiden is a cyborg and his favorite weapon is a sword. You’ll wind up facing a number of other sword wielding cyborgs, and other more familiar robot enemies, for those who are fans of the Metal Gear series.
Raiden’s story is a personal one, not touching on may elements of the overarching Metal Gear story aside from a couple of brief appearances from a minor character. Raiden works for one of many Private Military Organizations which have risen to power due to their ability to employ cyborg soldiers more readily than traditional armies. The story isn’t particularly gripping, and often strays into comic book or action movie levels in terms of plot, but it gets the job done and is told with some pretty crazy, high action, cut scenes.
Instead, Revengeance is all about the combat. Employing a simple system, using only two buttons for light and heavy attack respectively, Platinum Games have made it easy to pick up and play as Raiden. Depth, however, is achieved by basing things on timing and using combos to power up Blade Mode. By holding the left trigger you can slow down time, and aim you sword slashes manually, allowing you to dice your enemies into fine pieces. Each enemy will have a vulnerable point marked by a red square, and if you hit this you’ll expose their internal repair unit. A well-timed press of the B button will grab the repair unit out of mid air, refilling your health and energy gauge. If you have your timing down you can dispatch a number of enemies in a single combo, and if you’re good you can grab all of their repair units.
While combat can be a lot of fun, it is hindered by a couple of elements. First, a number of the fantastic boss fights that Revengeance has to offer descend into quick time events, instead of letting you battle it out. The second is the camera; you’ll be fighting it every step of the way. I mean you’ll find yourself wrenching back in place as it whips around, away from the enemies, faster than you can move it when you are controlling it. This is especially painful during boss fights, and when trying to block as you must flick the stick toward the enemy you’re trying to block.
The better you fare in combat, the more points you’ll earn to spend on upgrades to your body and weapons. This system is deep enough for one playthrough, but isn’t going to be the reason you play Revengeance a second time. This is too bad since the whole thing is over in under six hours. Even if you clear the handful of VR missions available you won’t be extending your play time by a whole lot. In this day and age, I have to fault Platinum for selling a six hour game for full retail price.
Metal Gear Rising Revengeance is surprisingly fun early on. Things start to slide though when you realize just how short the game is, and that you’ve been fighting the camera almost as much as you’ve been fighting your enemies. Revengeance is fun, and the cut scenes can be quite entertaining, but it comes up a little short in the end.