Rob Dillman On April 2, 2013 at 10:39 am

MGR - Scan - 01Ninja Rap references and an entire game based on making as many cool action scenes as possible? Hideo Kojima is my kind of nerd.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance takes everything it does an order of magnitude farther than expected. It somehow marries the inherently conflicting gameplay designs of Devil May Cry and Metal Gear Solid, creating a fusion that, while perhaps not as refined as either series is separately, manages to entertain in sensational manner. It might not be a total surprise that Platinum Games and Hideo Kojima pulled this off: After all, two of Platinum Games’ founders were key creators of Devil May Cry, and Hideo Kojima is, well, Hideo Kojima, but it doesn’t take away from how well the two worlds were merged.

Revengeance is as much a spectacle as it is a game. The animation is silky-smooth and used to great effect. Raiden is back in full force in his MGS4 cyborg ninja form as the protagonist, and nothing is beyond his capability to fight. Giant robots, stealth fighters, and armies all fall at his hands by the end of the game. Raiden whips around huge mechanical behemoths as though they were made of styrofoam. Tanks are sliced into quite literally a thousand pieces regularly. The game plays like a sci-fi ninja anime come to life more often than not. Those without the stomach for visual excess and gore should stay far away from this game. Those who enjoy the idea of a ninja riding a jet and slicing another one in half should buy this game tomorrow. Revengeance not only indulges in its ability to throw any kind of realism out the window; it rejoices in it.

Speaking of joy, hack and slash fans will experience plenty of it here with Revengeance’s Devil May Cry/Bayonetta roots. Throughout the game, players can unlock new weapons and techniques to use as they see fit throughout the story. Combat flows well with very tight controls and provides quite a challenge even on normal mode. If that’s not good enough, there are three difficulties past normal for the masochists out there. Players who don’t enjoy brawlers will find the combat repetitive, however.

Unique to Revengeance’s combat is the Zandatsu mode, where players control Raiden’s blade directly with the right stick. This is used frequently to finish off a large enemy in slow motion or take out a specific part of an enemy’s body. Speaking of the sword, blocking is performed by pressing the attack button and the left analog stick in the direction of an attacking enemy to perform a parry. This is often imprecise and leads to a player parrying instead of attacking. It’s not a major issue on normal difficulty, as players would likely want to block any oncoming attacks anyway, but it’s always frustrating for players to be unable to perform their intended action.

Of course, why fight at all if you don’t have to? Surprisingly, Revengeance keeps most of the stealth elements of the Metal Gear Solid series. Enemies don’t have to necessarily be fought except for certain occasions. If a player chooses to, they can avoid the enemies altogether without a violent outcome or assassinate unaware enemies from behind without raising an alarm among the guards. Revengeance’s environments aren’t as large as the rest of the games in Metal Gear Solid, and stealth isn’t the focus of the game, so it’s tougher to play this way than in other Metal Gear games.

One area where Revengeance is absolutely a Metal Gear game, though, is the writing. Revengeance is a tale of political intrigue filled with plenty of typical Kojima themes of where science, greed, and humanity’s lust for power is taking the human race. While there isn’t any weirdness on the scale of Metal Gear Solid 2, it’s odd to hear different characters discussing the same philosophical concepts for seemingly no apparent reason. Based on their conversations, everyone in this game has read The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins.

This sounds a bit harsh – It all makes sense in context, and it’s certainly what you’ve come to expect from a Metal Gear game, but as always, it can feel a bit forced. Still, with that baggage comes what else we expect from Metal Gear: The dialogue, story, and cinematography are among the best in all of gaming. Even stranger for a video game, character development is present in droves. It’s hard to find a character that hasn’t grown significantly by the end. From the codec calls to the animated cutscenes, it’s always a pleasure to take in the world of Revengeance outside of the gameplay.

Unfortunately, that’s for good reason. Revengeance’s in-game camera is abysmal on occasion. It’s not uncommon to get stuck behind a transparent wall, leaving Raiden and his enemies off-screen as the player frantically rotates the right analog stick to get any kind of visibility. Enemy lock-on resolves this issue to an extent, but the camera needs massive improvement if this game receives a sequel.

If Revengeance does get a sequel, I’d hope it provides more content than its predecessor. My playthrough took five hours. To its credit, there are plenty of unlockables and extra VR mission challenges to play, but gamers only looking for a main story will feel shortchanged by the length of the campaign.

Revengeance has been one of my favorite gaming experiences in the last year. Well-polished games with superhuman characters have become something of a lost art in an industry that seems to demand greater realism every year, and it undoubtedly delivers on that front. It strives for more and more fantastic scenes and gameplay right up until the end. Though undoubtedly a Metal Gear game, Revengeance is a fresh take on the series that requires no prior knowledge to pick up and play. Kojima and Platinum Games have delivered a classic hack and slash game that anyone with any interest in the genre would be remiss to pass up.


The only things holding this game back are the camera and unrefined parrying system. Combat is fluid and wonderfully precise otherwise. Boss fights are a blast.


Everything looks great, but nothing really blew me away here. Settings can look bland on occasion.


The voice acting is superb. There’s nothing as catchy as the Metal Gear Solid theme, but the soundtrack sets the mood nicely.


Revengeance tells a great story and keeps players hooked with the visual extravaganza. Blink and you’ll miss Raiden taking down an enemy in yet another impressive way. Few games, if any, have captured the feeling of being a powerful ninja like Revengeance has.


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