Any concerns that Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance might end up being a little bit dull will quickly have their fears put to rest when they load up the disc.
Within the first ten minutes of gameplay, you battle a modified Metal Gear Ray (!), run down the side of buildings (in an obvious nod to spiritual predecessor Bayonetta
), hop over rockets and slice colossal mechs right in half.
And that’s just the tutorial stage. Can you imagine how crazy the later levels are going to get? That’s the real fear that starts to grip you once you wrap your head around what’s going on.
There’s no doubt that Raiden makes you feel like a cool, techno-ninja badass right from the start. There’s also no arguing that, because of such aforementioned insanity, this has Platinum Games written all over it. While the gameplay mechanics and controls have a great amount of depth, the sublime learning curve and impressive presentation makes you feel like a bona fide gaming wizard before the shit really hits the fan.
Such shit involves an organisation known as Desperado Enforcement LLC and its association with a cyborg terrorist uprising led by a rather nasty chap called Dolzaev. At the beginning of the game, Desperado’s cyborg samurai attack a convoy that Raiden (and the “private security firm” that he is enlisted in, Maverick) is protecting and leaves our hero for dead. So there’s bad blood between the two parties, for sure.
Throughout the opening scene, you can sense a story that is underlined with traditional samurai philosophy and ethics, despite the futuristic setting. Raiden, and Desperado’s mysterious ‘Sam’ that attacks him (who looks a little inspired by 1950s Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune), both live by a code of honour, although they appear to have different perspectives as to the purpose of their swords.
Desperado Enforcement in general, however, just seems more concerned with watching the world burn. The convoy attack was a retaliation of Africa’s intention to keep the country free from international arms trade, and its relation with Dolzaev’s cyborg terrorist outfit initially seems to be related to providing weapons. Of course, that’s until Raiden investigates and digs a little deeper into the organisation’s real intentions...
For anyone who’s familiar with Bayonetta
, Metal Gear Rising’s
brand of gameplay pacing will not be such an obstacle. But there are many design and control traits that make Raiden’s game his very own, and it all comes down to his cybernetic abilities and swordplay. By holding L1 to run, you can automatically hop and slide through intricate areas of a stage, while it also allows you to deflect standard enemy bullets.
Beat bad guys up enough and their limbs start turning blue - this means that you can engage in the over-the-shoulder Blade Mode and slice and dice to your heart’s content. If you have enough Fuel Cells (displayed as a blue meter, obtained by fallen enemies) then you can dismember your foes limb by limb.
By hacking people apart, you have an opportunity to access a ‘cyber-heart’ which will allow you to regain your health and Fuel Cells to maximum. Handy if you want to keep a chain going or are running low on HP. It also helps improve your score - the art of grabbing these appendages and sucking their life force is known as Zandatsu, and this forms a big part of your ranking at the end of each battle sequence.
You also have a few defensive moves up your sleeve - but it requires a little bit of patience and timing. Parrying involves watching your enemy’s strike, and moving the left stick in the direction of the attack and pressing the Square button at the same time. If you get it right, you slow down your enemy and allow yourself to get several counters in. It’s key to survival in most boss battles, particularly ones that rely on melee damage.
But with so much going on around you though, it can be slightly difficult to figure out what you’re meant to be doing in a fight scene. I played through the game for a good long while before I realised that there was actually a dodge button - a life-saving inclusion for a game like this. Although you’d never find it unless you ventured into the Help menu.
There are many nods, winks and blatant references to the Metal Gear
franchise in Rising
. The Codec is still present and correct (and a bit easier to navigate this time too), and VR missions can be discovered throughout the game to tackle at your own pace. There’s a fair bit of Metal Gear
lore in there too, with references to Legionnaires to name but one spoiler-free example. Even a bizarre sense of humour, worthy of Kojima, is in there - Raiden in a sombrero? You better believe it.
Such franchise favourites are fused with Platinum’s unique presentation style to create something that’s shaping up to be the best of both worlds - a story-led Metal Gear
game with the flair and fast-paced action that Platinum is best known for.