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Metal Gear Rising: a flash flood of insanity

Tuesday, 19th February 2013 08:02 GMT By Dave Cook

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is out today in the States. Does it live up to Kojima Productions’ legacy? Dave Cook slashes his way through it to find out.

I finished Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance at the weekend. It took me just four hours, 52 minutes and 23 seconds to complete on normal mode, minus cut-scenes and deaths. The proof is above.

That’s a photo of my end-game report. I died 21 times during the campaign and still managed to cross the finish line in under five hours. I should be highly critical right now, but I’m not complaining in the slightest.

In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed this game. You will too.

Just like Platinum’s insane shooter Vanquish, I felt that the Revengeance campaign came in at the perfect length. However, I should point out that Brenna’s play-through was around the six-hour mark.

The game starts off with a bang and keeps pinging along at a steady beat, spiking occasionally thanks to mind-boggling set pieces and well-crafted boss battles. It’s hard to get bored with a title that’s this bat-shit mental and fun for the duration.

Nothing feels like filler and no moment is wasted as Raiden battles the Desperado group – a band of cyborg mercenaries trying to kick-start the war economy after the fall of The Patriots in Metal Gear Solid 4.

Although its not as tactical as Platinum’s impeccable brawler Bayonetta, the whole elevator pitch of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was to make anyone feel as badass as Raiden looked in this infamous Metal Gear Solid 4 cut-scene:


Thanks to BigBoss712 for the clip.

Platinum Games and Kojima Productions wants you to play this, not just watch it. If that was the goal, then both parties have exceeded expectation. What that means however, is that tactical fighting has been whittled down to spammy show-boating on lower difficulty tiers.

The core of Revengeance is its combat mechanic, and it’s shallow when compared to Bayonetta. Here, you can unleash Raiden’s high-frequency blade by hammering the light attack button, and use a secondary weapon by inputting heavy attack commands.

Secondary weapons are picked up after defeating bosses, such as Monsoon’s tactial Sai blades and Mistral’s L’Etranger polearm – which is my personal favourite due to its superb crowd-control range. The problem is that you can only switch heavy weapons in the mid-stage menu, not during combat.

Those looking for an experience closer to Bayonetta should start on hard mode, because this is where capable parrying and smart strikes become crucial. The parry system is simple, requiring you to press towards an incoming blow and light attack at the same time.

Simple, yes, but it’s brilliantly executed, just like Street Fighter III’s parry system, which requires players to press forward into an attack. The risk-reward mechanic underneath delivers a huge, gratifying pay-off. Fuck up and you get hurt hard, but succeed and you feel accomplished.

Parrying can also open ‘Blade Mode’ windows. Once Raiden’s battery gauge hits a certain level, triggering this mode will see the action slow to a crawl, giving him a chance to slice foes to pieces. Line up a swipe carefully and you can hack open enemies, exposing their electrolyte core.

Raiden can grab these cores and smash them, which tops up his health and battery power in an instant. It’s what the game refers to as ‘Zandatsu’ or, ‘Cut-and-take.’ Swipe wildly and you’ll destroy the core, losing your health boost in the process.

It’s a neat mechanic, however it’s only forced in a few instances. During a battle with hulking boss Sundowner, you have to swipe specific lines through his explosive shield to avoid taking damage. It’s a neat example of Blade Mode put to crucial use, but these moments are fleeting.

I can’t complain about any of the above, because when you take any ten minute section of gameplay, chances are you’ve hurled Metal Gear Gekkos around like toys, ran across a salvo of rockets like a makeshift walkway and carved many men into tiny, bloody chunks. It’s chaos from start to finish.

Play it again, Jack

Does Revengeance feel like a Metal Gear game? Yes, but obviously the pacing is entirely different. The weird thing is, you can play this game using stealth if you want, as Raiden’s Soliton radar maps foes, making it easy to sneak up for a stealth kill using cardboard boxes or oil drums.

There are Codec discussions, hidden posters of Japanese supermodels, alert phases and the classic “!” noise whenever Raiden is exposed. If you’re a fan of the series then you will appreciate Platinum’s nods to Metal Gear Solid 4, but I’m thankful they didn’t shoe-horn too many references in there. It would have felt cheap.

Instead, Revengeance feels like its own game, and tees off what could be a new story arc in its own right. Despite my rapid play-through, the game is full of hidden secrets, and your levelling carries over into subsequent campaigns, meaning you can replay until you’ve unlocked everything. You will feel compelled to do so.

It may not have the tactical combat of Bayonetta or even the Devil May Cry series, but depth was never this game’s objective. Raiden’s combat is all about style and empowerment, and that’s a double-sentiment that come across tangibly throughout.

Anyone who has grinned while slam-dunking missiles onto 50-foot tall mechas in Vanquish will know what I mean within the first ten minutes of playing Revengeance. You’ll be glad to know that the campaign is that one moment, looped over and over for five hours.

If that’s wrong, I don’t know what’s right.

Disclosure: To assist in writing this article, Konami sent Dave a copy of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance on Xbox 360.

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26 Comments

  1. ps4some

    Is this a deliberate Enter Shikari nod Mr Cook ? If so – Good work :)

    Talking of ES, anyone else notice their Captain Price sample in sssnakepit ?

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Dave Cook

    @1 It wasn’t at first but I did realise after I wrote it :P It’s more a comment on how quickly the campaign is over.

    I need to listen to Sssnakepit again, clearly :D

    #2 2 years ago
  3. ps4some

    I’m pretty sure the ‘a nuclear submarine’ before the first chorus is a CoD sample of Price

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Telepathic.Geometry

    Fuck yeah, as an ardent fan of Vanquish, this game can’t come in through my letterbox fast enough! ^-^ Cheers for the review Dave…

    #4 2 years ago
  5. Dave Cook

    @4 It is short, but as soon as you finish it you’ll restart with all your weapons on a harder tier. I guarantee it.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. OmegaSlayer

    @Dave
    The game takes into account the best times, so the deaths don’t factor in the total playing time.
    It’s the same system offered by Bayonetta.
    Inaba twitted about it

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Dave Cook

    @6 yeah, but it’s still short. It’s not a criticism, as the pacing is perfect. It’s superb for the duration and you will definitely replay it.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Telepathic.Geometry

    List of short:

    Ico
    Rez
    Portal
    Journey
    My girlfriend
    Aeon Flux shorts
    Vanquish
    Limbo
    Braid

    List of fucking awesome:

    Ico
    Rez
    Portal
    Journey
    My girlfriend
    Aeon Flux shorts
    Vanquish
    Limbo
    Braid

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Ristas

    Something VERY important:

    Platinum’s games aren’t very long. However, they are designed to be played multiple times. For Bayonetta, Kamija stated that you didn’t play through the game as long as you didn’t finish Infinite Climax-Mode. In fact, EVEN THEN there are more extras, playable characters and weapons in there. The strongest enemy in the game, Rodin, doesn’t get unlocked until you played through the game on Infinite Climax. You simply couldn’t completley understand the complex fighting mechanics of Bayonetta in one playthrough, let a lone the normal/hard difficulty.

    I am very confident that the same goes for Metal Gear Rising.

    Still, i think it’s a little unfair to the game to take this time and say “This is how long i took minus this and that”. Including your deaths and cutscenes, it would probably be more along the lines of 6-8 hours. I know that you say this is a) not the full time and b) you did enjoy the game anyway, but all people are going to see is the “4 hours”-mark and make their judgement.

    Also, in your text you write “. I died 21 times during the campaign and still managed to cross the finish line in under five hours. ” which implies that this time includes your 21 deaths, which it doesn’t :/

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Dave Cook

    @9 Did you read the whole piece? I’m not complaining about the length. Read it all, then let me know what you think.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Hirmetrium

    @10: I think he was reiterating how Platinium design their games (i.e. with multiple difficulties and tiers in mind), rather than critiquing your review.

    Anyway, this pleases me greatly. Vanquish was utterly sublime, and I’ve been pumped for Rising for bringing together two of my great loves (Vanquish’s excellent design and the Metal Gear universe).

    Nice review Dave. Any tidbits about unlockables/extras?

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Ristas

    @Dave

    Yeah i did, I’m not criticising your review, it’s a great piece ;)

    All i’m saying is that you are doing the game a great misservice by putting that picture at the very beginning of it. Because i am 100% sure that it will only take a few hours until that picture will make it’s round in forums – without the text – and people will think “Oh, this game took 4 hours to complete”. They won’t care about the fact that it takes you longer because the time doesn’t show deaths or cutscenes. They will see the “4″ and that’s it. That isn’t really your fault though ;)

    That you imply that the deaths count TOWARDS that time doesn’t really help though :P

    Still, i greatly appreciate that you don’t hold the game’s length against it (you are doing the exact opposite) and i’m just happy that Platinum Games finally get’s the mainstream attention it deserves :)

    #12 2 years ago
  13. mathare92

    About the length, Dave. I know you’re not complaining but for those who might be too quick to judge from that one screenshot, you might want to include a small note about what it doesn’t count: cutscenes, etc.

    You can see Inaba’s entire Twitter clarification on Neogaf:

    http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=512855

    Edit: Ristas beat me to it. Agree 100% with his argument about the placement of the pic. But then again, if it’s not there, the whole intro changes.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Dave Cook

    @13 people should learn to read whole articles then ;)

    It’s the same as people skipping straight to review scores. It’s silly.

    But yes, stellar game. I loved it.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. mathare92

    Fair enough. I actually just read that part again, and noticed the phrase “minus cut-scenes and deaths”. Must have missed it for some reason on the first read through.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. frostquake

    Sadly the US economy has caused my life so many financial problems that I am forced into looking at game length. I am the few, that will not go back and play a game the second time. I loved Bayoneta, but once completed, I did not replay. Unless a game can offer me an entirely different story, then I won’t replay. Also, to replay a game again just because it will be tougher, makes no sense to me. I play the game to enjoy the story not the Challenge. In fact, a game that is too Challenging to me, ruins the story. So unless the story mode is different on different levels of how challenging it is, I will always play on easy.
    Now, before you attack me, I want you to know, I am not putting this game down, nor the way others play a game, I am just showing you that there are consumers out there like me, that take the length of a game, because of my style of playing, into consideration. So while I will buy this game, due to the shortness of the single player campaign, and due to the fact I only play through once for the story line, I will wait till it is much cheaper. I know I am in the minority, but that’s just who I am, and how you perceive game play and purchasing is also fine.
    Stay Frosty My Friends.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. mathare92

    ^ +1

    A valid counterpoint, and eloquently delivered. Something we could use more of around these parts.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. Dave Cook

    @16 no one can argue with that mate :) If they do, they’re an idiot.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. Telepathic.Geometry

    @frostquake: I completely agree with you, BUT, some games do lend themselves very well to repeated play-throughs.

    For example, playing Lumines to survive, and playing to get 210 blocks in 3 minutes is totally different.

    Going through Dark Souls as a mage or as a cleric might as well be 2 different games.

    Playing Dishonored as a stealth pacifist or as a bloodthirsty psychopath are completely different.

    I also think that a game like Vanquish – very similar to this game I suspect – plays radically differently on different difficulties. Easy, try to grab lots of trophies, play around with all of the different weapons, and see the story. Difficult, use your knowledge of the enemies’ weaknesses and your accumulated skill to annihilate everything you see quickly and efficiently.

    And challenge is always good. Difficulty – I would argue – is never good. I don’t want to be frustrated by cheapness and shitty detection and loose controls. But if the mistake was my fault AND the game gives me enough feedback on what I did wrong and how I can rectify it, I love it…

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Dave Cook

    @19 the increased challenge demands a different approach to battles too. Parrying becomes key.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. YoungZer0

    I knew the gameplay wouldn’t have much depth. I was able to defeat the Demo Boss even without parrying or blocking on Normal. To be honest though for a game that looks this insane, I don’t mind that at all. I’m in it for the experience. Never had much trouble in Vanquish either (which I didn’t like).

    I will probably rent it this weekend, then decide if it’s worth the real deal.

    Funny how the same people who complained about DmC’s combat rush to buy this game. The same people who called the new Dante ‘faggy’ and ‘emo’, can’t wait to play as a mascara abusing, high heels wearing Cyborg Ninja who has longer fingernails than someone named Lateesha.

    I saw some of the insane footage of the first level and although the action was solid, my initial problems have been confirmed. Confused color palette, PS2-like facial animation and bad, bad 3d models. At least the writing wasn’t as bad as I imagined, although the line “my sword is a tool of justice” is so embarrassingly bad, I nearly felt from my chair.

    Again, won’t hurt my playthrough, but the game really looks fucking terrible for an artistic standpoint. Never been Plantinum’s strongest suit, but I was hoping with some of the KojiPro team on board that would change.

    It didn’t. :/

    #21 2 years ago
  22. ActionGameKing

    Before I finish read this I gotta say Platinum’s first and probably only true mistake with this game was the way they handled the Total Play Time. The game only records your shortest playthrough of each mission, so if you play a section for 2 hours, but finally beat it in 15 mins. The game only records 15 mins to your “Total Play Time”, not the 2 hours. Now reviewers are taking points off and belittling the game’s play time because they’re surprised at the length, even though they KNOW they played it for longer than that.

    Smh, if only reviewers would do their job and research the game before knee-jerking that the game is short when it’s probably PG’s longest game at about 8 hours average.

    Rant over :)

    (EDIT) When I say reviewers I mean IGN and REV3Games

    #22 2 years ago
  23. ActionGameKing

    Just got back to reading this, nicely written Dave! So hyped to get my copy!

    #23 2 years ago
  24. SplatteredHouse

    “It may not have the tactical combat of Bayonetta or even the Devil May Cry series, but depth was never this game’s objective. Raiden’s combat is all about style and empowerment, and that’s a double-sentiment that come across tangibly throughout. ”

    Watching Giant Bomb play this, I just thought it looked one-note. I didn’t doubt that it was very good at playing that note (can’t get much of a tune from that note, though), but it looks fluffy as anything, and I’m not really looking for this/I wouldn’t buy a spectacle game like this, at this point. I don’t see it as having great value for money for my interest, and it’s a prime “wait ’til its on sale” prospect in that regard.

    @22: I can find nothing wrong with Rev3Games’ review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRGLIE8b6xI&list=UUQXR8pItAoKDAJSbphFxbrg&index=3 says the reviewer – “now, bear in mind that Revengeance is meant to be replayed” after which they detail the various tasks you can play to add further time to your total! One and done-ers, and achievement nuts especially may indeed find MGSR to be lacking in playtime.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. Dave Cook

    @23 thanks man, I appreciate that :)

    #25 2 years ago
  26. Hirmetrium

    I do need to point out that MGS games scream to be replayed. Over and over. I must of repeated MGS1 a million times and its still one of the best games I’ve ever played.

    #26 2 years ago

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