Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review

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Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has sliced me in half. On one side it’s a solid action game with a unique and satisfying slicing mechanic. On the other, it fails almost unanimously the moment Raiden sheathes his blood soaked blade. Characters, plot, dialogue and even the game world are a joke. Just like porn and kung fu, you’ll see this game through for one reason alone: to satisfy a fetish for dismembered limbs and possibly blow your load doing so. But this time, you can’t skip to the juicy parts. You have to endure every minute of repetitive foreplay and mindless contextualisation.

Let’s start with the good stuff first, shall we. The game’s unique selling point is its 1:1 swordplay, also known as Zandatsu. With a charged metre and a flick of the right control stick, Raiden’s blade is sent soaring in that exact direction. Want to slice a soldier’s legs off then watch him struggle as he attempts to move around the arena? Or perhaps you’d prefer he resort to dropkicks after losing both arms? Not just a superficial addition, the mechanic digs deep into the title’s DNA, providing a strategic combat system and some incredibly inspired boss fights. One such instance had me competing against a giant scissor wielding Sundowner. His explosive shields forced the use of blade mode in a way traditional controls would not suffice. Another had me splitting giant objects in two as they hurtled towards me, a pleasant break from the occasional quick time event (QTE). It all renders Zandatsu as one of the best mechanical innovations in the genre’s history and something we will no doubt see more of in the future.

mgr screenshot1 Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review

It’s like playing out a Quentin Tarantino movie.

Another pleasant element is that the game sticks to its conventions. Too many times I have picked up a fighting/action game, only to discover its final boss breaks every rule you have trained yourself for, in light of providing a challenge. Virtually all enemies can be juggled (including the final boss), you’re rarely subjected to unfair combos and when foes do charge up ‘unparry-able’ attacks they’re flagged early enough to GTFO. Three sub-weapons accompany Raiden’s trademark katana, though their fairly limited move lists cower in the face of Dante’s extensive skill sets.

So what about that other little slice? Remember telling yourself Kojima couldn’t possibly let Platinum Games defame Metal Gear’s fabulous universe, even though Bayonetta made absolutely no sense whatsover? Well, they did and this time it’s worse. Throughout the campaign the narrative explores issues of 9/11, the War on Terror, WMD’s, Iraq, Pakistan and finally ends with Martin Luther King’s ‘I have a dream.’ It wouldn’t be such a problem if the themes hadn’t been explored a million times before and the game actually had something new to say, but it doesn’t. Even worse is the script, which I swear was written by a foreign immigrant imitating an American redneck. It’s not so much that the narrative is that over-the-top B-grade drivel action games are known for as it is just plain, eye-rollingly awful.

But still, a terrible story can be redeemed by a cast of charming, lovable characters, right? Definitely, but in Revengeance there is not one. Even the ass-whooping ninja cyborg, Raiden fails to impress. His only motive is to ‘protect the weak,’ the purpose of almost all his dialogue is to prompt mission objectives (rather than reveal character) and his growth from a mute pussy to a mindless bloodthirsty killer is given no explanation other than ‘it’s in his nature.’

The supporting cast only gets worst, symbolised perfectly in the young teenage boy, George. The intention of this kid is to provide a personal connection between Raiden and a bunch of other children getting kidnapped. But I hated George so much that I wanted to switch on Zandatsu, slice both his arms and legs off, video his slow, painful death and then send it to whoever voice acted the little shit. Don’t believe me? Then here, meet boy George; “A ninja. Cowabunga! Go ninja!” Before you refute, claiming elements like story and character don’t matter ‘cos this is an action game’, stop! Narrative and character interaction inhabits a large section of game time and when executed properly, provides most of the thrust for completing a game’s story. Raiden’s competition is making great use of interesting plots to accompany their combat, so yes, it does matter.

mgr screenshot2 Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review

Come at me, bro!

There’s also a collection of minor issues that plague the game from start to finish. The tedious codec conversations that go nowhere, environments that make a nuns sex life seem fruitful and the endless array of graphical glitches as objects float in mid-air or disappear before your eyes. They’re not game breaking but they mar an already problematic experience.

So is it worth your hard-earned cash? Short answer: yes. Despite an abundance of atrocities, it still delivers on its core offering of blood soaked, katana wielding chaos. Just don’t expect anything more, because you’ll be sorely disappointed.

  • PS3

The Verdict

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a highly flawed though ultimately enjoyable ride with gaming’s most androgynous cyborg ninja. It lacks the polish of its major competitors, DmC and God of War, but still offers a worthwhile experience. If you’re a fan of the genre it’s worth a look.
7.5
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