- Publisher: Konami
- Developer: Platinum Games, Kojima Productions
- ESRB Rating: “M" for Mature
- Genre: Action
- Pros: Fun gameplay; slicing everything to ribbons; Wolf; nice presentation; good replay value
- Cons: Dumb story; combat isn't as deep as other action games; music isn't up to Metal Gear standards; seriously, the story is dumb
The story in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance takes place four years after Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and features Raiden in an even more advanced cyborg form than he had in MGS4. The story focuses on the decline of the war economy after the fall of the Patriots in MGS4, and the desperate attempts by certain entities around the world to try to kickstart the war economy again by inciting World War III.
That actually sounds interesting, right? But that is just the bare basics of the story. The specifics are much, much dumber. At this point, however, the Metal Gear Solid story is pretty much a nonsensical mess after MGS4, so Revengeance being silly and over the top and barely making sense is pretty much on par for the series. It continues the trend of MGS games introducing really smart and interesting points about the real world economy and focus on war, but the message gets muddled in the delivery. Revengeance does introduce a robot dog sidekick for Raiden with a chainsaw for a tail, though, which we happen to think is pretty awesome so it sort of evens things out.
Revengeance takes about 8 real time hours to beat, which translates into 5 or so hours on the in-game clock that seems to only count gameplay time, so it isn't too bad as far as action games go. It is also nicely replayable because, similar to last year's Lollipop Chainsaw, you unlock better moves and upgraded abilities as you play and you won't max out your stats until at least a couple of playthroughs. Repeat playthroughs are also more enjoyable than your first time through because you'll have a better grasp of the gameplay and how everything works, so instead of trying to figure out patterns and how to beat different enemies you can tear through the game as efficiently as possible, which is really surprisingly fun. There are hidden items in the levels, and even some optional hidden encounters you can miss entirely. To top it off, there are multiple difficulty levels to play through as well as VR missions you can play through after you unlock them in story mode. There is a lot to do here.
It makes the game a fun pattern of figuring out the best way to tackle each enemy type, then wearing them down until you can go into blade mode to slice them up and finish them off. Because you have 100% control over Raiden's strikes, you actually don't have to kill every enemy you come across. You can just as easily cut off only their arms so they aren't a threat anymore. You can also even sneak around in an oil drum or Metal Gear's trademark cardboard box and avoid combat entirely if you want. Combat is fun enough, though, that fighting your way through every encounter is definitely a solid tactic.
Defense is also interesting because it works essentially like a just impact in the Soul Calibur series where you actually press the stick toward the attacker along with the proper button to parry their attack and open them up for a counter. Enemies flash a different color depending on whether their attack is blockable or not - yellow means it is an unblockable grab, while red means you can counter it - and once you get into the rhythm of using it in battle it is a really great system. You can even parry and counter boss attacks - including huge towering mechs - with ease.
One thing that has to be said about the gameplay is that it isn't like Bayonetta or Devil May Cry or Ninja Gaiden where you're graded on how stylish and over the top your combos are. The combo system isn't nearly as deep and complex as that. In fact, you're graded more highly for efficiency - ending battles quickly, not taking any damage - than you are for slicing enemies up into a million pieces. Players expecting Revengeance to be the next crazy combo-driven action game will likely be disappointed. As I mentioned above, it has more in common with Lollipop Chainsaw (simple combos to wear down enemies before you rip out their spine / do Sparkle Hunting) in terms of gameplay than it does with Bayonetta. That isn't a bad thing, of course, if you loved Lollipop Chainsaw like I did.
Now, don't misunderstand the above and think that Revengeance isn't crazy and over the top like Platinum Games has become known for. It still definitely is. But most of the crazier stuff is handled either entirely in cutscenes or with simple QTEs. Raiden can jump from missile to missile to reach a helicopter high above ground. He can run up and down vertical faces of buildings. Heck, the boss in the very first level is a freaking Metal Gear Ray that Raiden destroys single-handedly with ease. The rest of the boss fights are similarly epic and crazy, and the game finishes up with an actual somewhat difficult oldschool-style final boss (ProTip: Make sure you have at least one healing item heading into the bosses final form ...).
Graphics & Sound
The sound is fairly good overall. The voice acting is fine, with Quinton Flynn reprising his role as Raiden (albeit an older, gruffer, more worn down Raiden), and is decent enough overall. The script wasn't great, but the actors did a fine job with what they had. The music, on the other hand, isn't nearly up to Metal Gear's normal high quality. It is edgier and more rock focused than the electro / symphonic music the series is known for. It isn't bad, just not what we expected.