If you think modern games have gotten too easy, and you’re ready to get your ass handed to you, then Metal Gear Rising Revengeance is the game for you. MGRR isn’t as accessible as the recently released DmC, but it’s another solid action game from Platinum and definitely worth your time if you’re a fan of the genre.
It’s also incredibly faithful to the Metal Gear Solid legacy, and successfully implement’s the series trademark stealth, wacky boss encounters, creative weapons, and over the top story. Best of all, if you haven’t played a MG game before you won’t be lost.
I like to think of MGRR as a polarizing game you’re either going to love it or hate it. Some parts of the game are exceptional while others need improvement.
For example, the game does a poor job of teaching you how to play. I didn’t even know I had health items, a dodge move, or that I could upgrade Raiden’s moves until I stumbled upon them by mistake. MGRR includes VR training missions and sometimes gives you tutorials to help you out, but often you’re expected just to figure things out on your own. It’s also odd that to access most of the training VR missions you need to find hidden computers to unlock them. A better idea would be to show them gradually like Deus Ex Human Revolution or have them all unlocked from the beginning.
The story is a bit disappointing too, and the final boss has to be seen to believe to comprehend the sheer ridiculous of it. The plot borrows from Raiden’s past wand has him rescuing children prisoners from suffering the same fate he did as a child when his code name was Jack the Ripper. Those expecting more revelations about MG’s backstory will be disappointed because MGRR doesn’t reference Solid Snake and Big Boss’s past and is instead an original story. On the plus side, this makes the game more welcoming to newcomers but you will appreciate the story more if you have played the older titles.
That said, the good far outweighs the bad, and once you get the hang of the combat the game is a joy to play and will give your hands quite the workout. You really do feel like a badass from the get-go instead of slowly becoming stronger like Metroid or other action games. The game can be frustrating, but once you figure out enemy attack patterns, you’ll get the hang of the controls in no time.
Combat is similar to most action games with Raiden utilizing two combat moves, a fast and strong attack. Raiden also has a dash button allowing you to circle around enemies and run away from attacks. As well as a sliding kick move and the ability to deflect bullets while running.
However, the most noteworthy gameplay mechanic is when you deal enough damage to enemies, and they start to grow blue allowing you to slice them up limb by limb.
It’s here where things get interesting. In Zandatsu, you have the opportunity to steal health from enemies by grabbing their blue energy or sometimes perform button prompt commands to deal massive damage. The special attack reminds me of Sega’s Shinobi for PlayStation 2 where you could do dramatic one hit kills to annihilate your enemies.
Enemies can be ruthless if you’re not on your guard. They will attack and sometimes leave you staggered and do their own super attacks. Often the best course of action is waiting for them to attack so you can counter with a well-placed parry move to do massive damage. You can tell whether enemies are vulnerable to parries by watching if they glow red before they attack
Still, often your greatest challenge is the horrendous camera that needs to be manually adjusted and can be a real pain in the heat of battle. It’s not game-breaking or as bad as Ninja Gaiden 2’s, but it’s something that definitely needs to be more polished.
Besides the standard lighting fast sword combat, you can use weapons like guns, grenades, and similar weapons from past MG games. Unfortunately, they aren’t as effective as your trusty sword against enemies, and I only used the rockets and chaff grenades periodically.
Stealth also plays a big role in MGRR, and I found it more effective in certain areas to take out enemies silently rather than attack them head-on relentlessly. Cameras look for you, and guards act suspicious when they catch a glimpse of you and the alarm phase plays just like it did past MG games. I also got a kick out of hiding from enemies in a cardboard box and silently sneaking upon them to perform a stealth kill.
Boss battles are intense and will leave you saying “holy shit did I just do that!”. Such as taking down giant MG Ray, running up buildings while dodging gunfire and explosions, and facing off against a certain secret nuclear weapon. Others will test your patience like Monsoon, a cyborg ninja who can separate his body into pieces to attack you and you’ll be in trouble if you’re low on health items.
I must have died a dozen times before I emerged victorious against some of these bosses, and I found that there are a short way and a long way to defeating them. For instance, bosses can be very frustrating if you attack head-on, but many drop healing items and have attack patterns you can exploit. Once you find the right rhythm of offensive and defensive actions to take against certain bosses the game stops feeling unfair.
One standout feature in MGSR is the vocal soundtrack which will give you an adrenaline rush in boss battles. Some of the songs are cheesy, but it’s still entertaining. I really enjoyed the music, and it helped ease the pain of dying against bosses dozens of times.
Many critics and players have complained about MGRR length(close to ten hours depending on what difficulty you play on), but I found it to be just right. There aren’t a lot of reasons to replay except for the challenge since you unlock all the stuff pretty earlier. The VR missions add some replayability, but I found them to be just okay.
In conclusion, MGRR is a solid action game for hardcore fans of the genre but for the mainstream gamer, it’s too frustrating and not as accessible or forgiving as DmC is. It’s still worth playing though, and the game ends with a possibility of a sequel.
Score: Four stars out of five
+ The Awesome soundtrack
+ Fast action-packed combat
+ Clever gameplay nods to past Metal Gear Games
– Dying dozens of times against the boss Monsoon
– Having to research how to play the game on your own
– Barely seeing any story references to Solid Snake