Friday, February 22, 2013

Cut and Take this Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review

The Rise

Metal Gear Rising was first hinted after the release of Metal Gear Solid 4. It was originally meant to be a interquel that showed Raiden's transformation between MGS2 and MGS4. It was finally announced at the Xbox conference at E3 in 2010, but later was "quietly" cancelled because Kojima Productions could not successfully design this particularly new "cut at will" gameplay mechanic. They did however, fully develop the stories and in-game scenarios. Kojima later met up with a producer of Platinum Games and requested them to work on it. The new current version was then revealed with an actual trailer. After development began, they discarded stealth as a main element and included high speed hack and slash. They stating the original game as being very "dull",  much unlike the High Frequency Blade weapon. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance became the Lighting Bolt Action game we see now.

Enough of the history, Metal Gear Rising is not Metal Gear Solid, it's a spin off time. The gameplay, as we all know, is a huge leap away from the stealth Metal Gear is known for. No more emphasis on guns and silence, rather now it's sword play and slicing. Speed and reflex is key now, not slow and steady. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance may create a great spin off a successful different gameplay of the ninja we saw first as a kid that has been through the worst imaginable. It could also unfortunately be another stereotyped sub-par Japanese video game. Let me, take a slice at this reviewing thing.

Realistic vs Pretty

Many early gameplay demos of Revegeance showed the world as being very clear and colorful. The current game looks nice, but many of the levels at the beginning of the game have a very brown and grey tone to them, with little more vibrance as the game progresses. The environment does break into some neat looking scenery, but it's not gorgeous. It's more realistic than pretty, but is that bad thing? Standing from the slightly lower end Xbox 360 console perspective, the rendered characters and cut scenes look very nice, seeing as how they are at least half the game. Hey it's Metal Gear, it has it's large emphasis on story, which will be discussed soon. Most of the objects in this game are "slice-able" and when you deiced to just start slicing everything up like lettuce, you'll know how cool it looks. All of those sliced objects will disappear quite fast, but I can understand with this generation of consoles. You cut into an object enough, the game starts to lag a bit. Along with just cutting the world up, this game sure is violent! Not as much as Prototype, but even slicing up these red blooded cyborgs gets a little gruesome, but oh so satisfying. Lastly, all of the city environments seem to be magically empty except three hostages during the entire game. At two points in the game, the characters mention an evacuation, but the cities just seem too dead and not very modern. Overall, Metal Gear Rising visually appears alright, not as good as I wanted to think.

Metal Gear Solid always have some grand beautiful and hectic musical scores. Metal Gear Rising also takes a leap in terms of this, to more of making it sound like some bad copyrighted music that was made for a game. The music sounds exactly like the rising in popularity, metalcore music. I mean, I love metal, but I am not a fan of that kind of metal. Although the instrumentals are really decent, I really wish the vocals could be turned off. I feel that lyrical music fits best with driving games and shooting games or just at the credits. I will say, it is good for this game to have fast chaotic music, but oust with the vocals please.

Stories from Kabuki Theater

Now don't quote me on this, but I've read that Metal Gear-ish games had a large influence from Japanese Kabuki theater. That must be why the Metal Gear games have always felt a little odd with the characters. It could also just be influence from Japanese Anime. I do love this series, but I am not into the Anime stuff at all. Metal Gear Rising is no different in this aspect. Some of the actual American characters act, let's say more realistically American than others. An American senator acts like a Sumo, fat Yakuza boss. An American senator, from Colorado! Many of antagonistic characters like to do the point and then dramatically clench their fist action. To put it plainly, all the enemy characters act ridiculous and way over-the-top. I wont criticize that, but I will take into account the addition of a lot of profanity. I am in no way adverted to it, but it is just so out of place. If characters act ridiculous and start swearing, it makes their madness seem so fake. It only works for Raiden who has been through the worst in life and does not act so insane, until his "Jack the Ripper" persona emerges. Even in that act, the profanity is still feels more in place. Over the top characters, even more so than the Metal Gear other games.

As for the story line, it is sub-par at the least. The main concept is about Raiden trying to prevent this corporation that is taking 3rd world children's brains and training in advanced VR to become super genocidal cyborgs. These brains would be trained to kill and cause war to break out, reviving the dead war economy from the previous game. It's about cyborg bodies, there, see, it's a little out there. The one thing this story does do well, is it vividly keeps you interest even though the ridiculous characters are present. Metal Gear Rising even makes references to Raiden's past along with many tongue-in-check recalls of the main series. The game still contains the codec sequences that drag on a bit, but most of the characters do have something interesting to say both for the game and even our our reality, how interpreted is up to the player. Metal Gear Rising has decent writing, with over dramatic characters, but it manages to make you think about the real world. Metal Gear games have always been very aware and smart in philosophical ways. This game does another, okay job in terms of narrative.

Hard and Short... uh, the game...

The gameplay of Metal Gear Rising is not stealth, but more of a button mashy hack and slash. The general game feels like a mix of Devil May Cry and God Of War. For a Metal Gear game, it still contains very intense action sequences, but like times 10 more chaotic.  It also has... those... quick time events. Don't worry, they're present like any other hack and slash game, but not an overabundance. Unfortunately, there is still a sliver of stealth, and it just does not work at all. The game offers moments to be stealthy, but it asks for too much and when you fail, your punished. Also, there is no need for the alert counter either, it's unnecessary and detracting. There was no need to keep any amount of stealth you guys! Usually after the BRIING!, two larger enemies than the one you startled get called to kick your ass, which leads me to the difficultly. It's a hard game, it's really hard. It is almost impossible to not get hit during any fighting scene, not to mention boss battles. Okay, well to top that off, the game is about 8 hours in gameplay time, not counting the cut scenes. The challenge of the game is beatable, which is probably what the developers wanted to do to make the game's playablity last longer. It may sound bad, but for this game it works because it's just hard enough to want to get that 100% completion. For a short story, you will spend many hours on the full completion along with VR mission too. Timing and timing alone will keep you alive in this world. There is no forever blocking system like most games; rather a wait for the right parry to stirke. You cannot dodge, which is really bad seeing as not every enemy attack is blockable. It's hard, but oh so rewarding, especially to slice the enemies into a million pieces.

True Hack and Slash

That is correct! Even a Star Wars game has not been developed with the ability to cut almost anything down, apart, in the middle, and what have you. Now, to precisely cut anything, you need to go into what is called "Blade Mode", which is only available when your meter under the health is blue. You can then hold the mode down until the bar is empty. To coincide with the difficulty of this game, you can't just willy nilly hack every guy up you see. Most enemies take a number of hits in certain areas that will turn blue and allow the blade to cut through. When this mode is activated on a damaged or weak enemy, you can cut for a target that will allow Raiden to snatch the cyborg's energy source to regain full power. This is known as Zan-Datsu or "cut and take", as the game refer's to. Adding even more to this great risk and reward system are the challenging and blade wearying boss battles. One is based on speed, one can split off segments of his body to avoid your blade, and you just have to play it. The boss variety and challenge of your sword is really quite aggravating and, yet again so rewarding to beat. Here's another thing, you can save a whopping three different hostages, okay, yeah. They don't matter, you just get pitied for not saving them, WHOOPS! The game also has running system that is very much like in Mirrors Edge, called Ninja run. You can run with great speed and vault over any short object or obstacle, which adds to the intensity with exhilarating running sequences. The game also has a small upgrading system that will allow extension Raiden’s cyborg body and usage of boss weapons.  The overall gameplay is very fresh, very hard, and very rewarding. It is, by far, the strongest aspect of the game and saved it for me in so many ways... besides the length.


Yeah, yeah it's an Egoraptor reference when you can't think of an original caption. Metal Gear Rising Revengeance is only part of Metal Gear by name and story, with only a touch of useless stealth. By it's self, it's a God of War action game with amazingly fresh and fun gameplay. It also has a bountiful amount of references and undertones with bizarre characters. Set in bland and not so realistic settings, this game keeps the interest through and past the game's entire story to warrant a replay. It is a very challenging game, but if you enjoy it enough and develop the motivation for major risk and reward, you will have many hours of the game to earn a 100% completion. If you want to try it, just get a 2 night rental, you'll beat it on easy for sure. If you want to feel good about defeating such a hard game like every other Metal Gear, you should buy it. I do suggest waiting for a price drop though. Everything about this game, except the side story interest and the gameplay, are just okay. It's Short, difficult, dramatic, frustrating, reflex stimulating and; however you cut the cake, it's earns a 4 and a half out of 6 eggs.

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