I’ve had my eye on Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance for a very long time now. Even before it was announced.
Back when I was 12 and still swinging sticks around and pretending to destroy entire armies with my sword-wielding prowess, I had a vision. A vision of a game where you could cut up robots with the analogue stick. I’m not kidding. My jaw literally dropped when I saw the first gameplay footage from E3 2010 when it was originally just called Metal Gear Rising. It was as if I had manifested my dream into reality. Needless to say, I was very excited to get my hands on it… whenever it came out.
After 3 years and going to development hell and back, which you can read about here, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance finally graced the shelves of U.S. retailers everywhere February 19th, 2013. The wait was definitely worth it.
From the very beginning you are shown just how much of a bad-ass Raiden (the main character) really is. Sure he’s got high-heels for feet, but that’s only because they help him to perform combos with his legs. And he/you just took down a giant robot that’s equipped with weapons anywhere the developers could fit them. Ah… the boss battles. Those are where MGR really shines- awesome background music, great choreography, fantastic boss designs that perfectly fit the gameplay’s… they are definitely the highlights. Well, except for the last boss. I won’t spoil anything, but the fight drags on just a bit too long and isn’t nearly has cool as some of the previous encounters. Jetstream Sam FTW.
For the most part, MGR isn’t really that hard. Sure, you’ll sometimes feel like your ass is being handed to you, but the game provides you with plenty of healing items that can heal you automatically. That said, there is a certain learning curve to it. The first real boss in the game will DESTROY you if you don’t know what you’re doing. And that’s the central problem with this game- not much is actually explained to you in-story. Things that really SHOULD be explained in-story, and not just left for the “controls” screen. Like for instance, how to lock-on to enemies. What the controls are for the next boss event so that you don’t die because you didn’t know that you could jump. Or how the hell to perform any of the skills you can buy, because for some reason, you’re not told how to actually perform them when you buy them- they’re left for the “how-to” screen. Sure, the information is at least in the game, but it certainly isn’t as user-friendly as it could be. It’s because of these issues that the game can feel a lot like trial and error. Thankfully, the game does teach you how to counter from the very beginning. To master the counter is to master the game.
Cutting things into pieces is very intuitive and can actually be a source of stress relief once you’ve finally defeated that really hard boss. You can slice and dice with the right analogue stick or use the X/Square button to slash horizontally and the Y/Triangle button to slash vertically. There’s even a part of the HUD devoted to telling you how many pieces you cut something into. While that is pretty neat, what’s more important is how you cut things (particularly cyborgs) into pieces. Extra BP (currency for buying upgrades) are rewarded for cutting off certain limbs, and certain cyborgs’ left hands are collectible. Something of note is the way you purchase and equip upgrades; whenever you want to upgrade something, you have to restart from the last checkpoint. This can be a little annoying, but you should quickly get into the flow of simply customizing yourself right after checkpoints so that you don’t lose any progress. And you’ll probably figure out how to exploit the way upgrading works for extra BP along the way.
The aiming is a little unconventional with sub-weapons- whatever camera controls you have set to control Raiden’s normal point of view will be the same controls for aiming sub-weapons. This matters to me because I play MGR with the “X” inverted, which makes first-person-shooting a bit of a hassle, but I got used to it. And that’s the real key to enjoying this game- getting used to the controls and game mechanics. Once you truly understand how all of it works and fits together, the game is a lot of fun, albeit with it’s aforementioned flaws. In the end, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance delivers more than what my original vision entailed and I’d recommend it to anyone with a love for action games like Ninja Gaiden or Bayonetta.
Oh yeah- the graphics are great, the facial expressions were particularly impressive, the sound effects are… effective, and the sound track is fast-paced, infused with adrenaline, and really clicks with the boss fights. I don’t really care to talk about graphics or sound effects unless they’re really bad or really good… sue me. Go watch some gameplay, then go rent this game and beat the 7 hour story. Yeah, it’s a short game. Thankfully there are a lot of collectibles, unlockables, and a “Revengeance” difficulty level to keep you playing and really put your skills to the test, if you dare.