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Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review

Breaking out of the mold the Metal Gear Solid series had gotten accustomed to, it seemed that Hideo Kojima wanted to tell Raiden’s story in a different fashion.  Enlisting the help of well known “Hack n’ Slash” masterminds, Platinum Games, they embarked on a high action thrill which allows players to cut at will.
Never been a fan of the Metal Gear Sold series I was a bit skeptical, seeing that Revengeance was hack n’ slash made me give it another look, Platinum Games involvement allowed me to take a notable interest, and I was ready for the game to be in my hands after the amazing demo.  Now, finally having my hands on the game and completed it, I will give you my opinion and let you know if it is worth grabbing or nothing more than wasted effort on a different approach.

[Content Index]

Click on any of the links below in order to jump directly to that particular section of the review.  There is also a “Return to Content Area” link provided at the end of each particular section.

01Menu & Modes Overview.

02.  Getting Started.

03.  Story Synopsis & Impressions.

04.  Combat, Enemies, & Bosses.

05.  Unlocks & Miscellaneous Information.

06.  Known & Future Downloadable Content (DLC).

07.  The Verdict.

Title:  Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Developer:  Platinum Games.
Publisher: Konami.
Release Date:  February 19th, 2013.
System(s):  Microsoft Xbox 360, Sony Playstation 3.

[ Menu & Modes Overview ]

When coming to the main menu you will be approached by several different options each with a particular function.  They are outlined below.

Story – This is the main mode of the game that presents the story mode itself.  There are various difficulties, but only easy and normal available at the beginning followed by Hard Mode upon completion on Normal Difficulty.  Eventually you will unlock the hardest difficulty “Revengeance”, which is required to be S’d on all Missions in order to gain the “Becoming a Lightning God” achievement.  Also, an option called “Continue” will appear above story when you are in the middle of a mission and wish to pick up from your last checkpoint.

VR Missions – These are Virtual Reality missions that essentially take place by simulating various scenarios with specific conditions to win in Raiden’s brain.  You must unlock the individual missions by accessing various laptops in the Story Mode, then you can play through them from either the in-game menu during Story Mode or from the main menu.  The missions you are tasked with range from defeating all enemies, making it to the end of an obstacle course in under a specific time, and even some missions that require you to eliminate all opposition without being caught.

Collection – Collection is basically various unlocks given from beating the Story Mode in specific conditions, as well as displaying those unlocks (Such as various titles given, artwork, 3D models etc.).   This is pretty much self explanatory.

Options – Standard issue options mode.  With various settings in order to customize the game to your liking.  We have options like Controller type, Vibration, Camera, Sensitivity, Language, etc.  This is pretty much your go to for anything you want to change about the game.

Download – Opens up the Xbox Live Marketplace for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance in-game and shows all associated content that can be bought or downloaded for the game.  You can expect to see things like avatar clothing, DLC, and trailers.

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[Getting Started]

After playing through the demo of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (You can read my review for it here: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Demo Review ), I knew that it was a game that I had to pick up.  I did not really know much about the series since I only beat Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and only watched briefly some of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, but what I did know from these two encounters it that the story behind Metal Gear games seemed to be very deep.  So after heading to GameStop and picking up my copy, I headed home and attempted to beat DmC: Devil May Cry’s Bloody Palace mode a few times before popping the game into my Xbox 360’s disc tray.

There was no special introduction whatsoever, and it reminded me of DmC: Devil May Cry in a way that the demo intro was the exact same as the actual game, which was very disappointing (But at least Revengeance’s is cooler in the way that it actually looks compared to DmC’s).  Going into a new game, I decided to go ahead and start off on Normal Difficulty.

This game goes to a cut scene with Prime Minister N’Mani and and his adviser sitting in a limousine driven by Maverick (A Private Military Company or “PMC”) employee Courtney in the front seat with two unknown operatives sitting in the back with Raiden between both of them.  A discussion takes place where N’Mani talks about “How long they have come in just three short years”, letting me know that their country was either in ruins or disorderly or both before the arrival of Maverick.  He is expressing his thankfulness for PMC and his adviser before holding a conversation with Raiden… right before everything is thrown into chaos.

Someone is standing in front of the lead armored tank that is leading Raiden and N’Mani’s vehicle to its destination which causes them to stop and find what the problem is.  This guy soon enough draws his sword while ignoring the armored tank’s gunner warning of being authorized to use deadly force, slashing through bullets the guy with the sword chops him in half and grins back at everyone else before Courtney calls for a retreat.  Turning and driving they run into more opposition, disabling the tank at the rear with a rocket launcher and N’Mani’s adviser saying, “We are going to die”.  Eventually once they drive away from a barricaded exit they run into more troops, that of which is now unavoidable before Raiden is called into action.  “Guard the Prime Minister!” is his last order before stepping out of the car, throwing off his suit & tie to reveal his cyborg body, and cutting down the exit behind him so the troops cannot run past him to pursue the limousine, “Let’s get this over with” as he removes his sword from its case and sheath and takes a battle pose, this is where the game begins.

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[ Story Synopsis & Impressions ]

Sunny, Wolf, and Raiden

The main story of this game basically surrounds Raiden’s internal struggle with why he wields his blade and if he has truly recovered from the child soldier training he underwent in Liberia that turned him into “Jack the Ripper”, an infamous murderer.  This all comes to place when he finds out that World Marshal is collaborating with Desperado to traffic children with the intent of turning them into killers like he was through the use of the same VR (Virtual Reality) Training he underwent as a kid.  After finding out the two companies true motivation behind their action, Raiden makes a conscious decision to stop what is happening through use of his sword.  Eventually he finds out that it is a seedier plot behind everything and the true reasons behind the children’s kidnapping and being turned into merciless killers, and only he alone is stopping them.

As far as the main story goes, I was originally thinking that Raiden would be after revenge on Jetstream Sam for chopping off one of his arms and destroying his vision in his left eye (I mean, this is called “Revengeance” after all); however, this was not the case.  It was possible to tell this from how Raiden says, “Not again!” after Sam chops it off in the very first mission, it lead me to believe that it has already happened before (And from what I am hearing, in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots) and is not actually a big deal.  It progresses into something much bigger, not the fact that they are harboring child soldiers or the fact of how they are trying to effect countries through the state of war, but the internal struggle that Raiden himself is dealing with.

Raiden was trained to be a child killer and was never ever given a choice in the matter.  He does not want others to undergo the very same hell that he experienced, the feeling of having joy from slaughtering innocent people because that is the only thing you know, and you believe you are right in doing it.  The fact he thought he was doing the right thing was also questioned by how Jetstream Sam told him did he ever think the soldiers he was fighting really had a choice to do what they were doing, “Is your cause just? Or is that just what you tell yourself”?  The utter brilliance comes when Raiden excepts who he is and finding that his sword is meant to save, but by doing what he thinks is right innocents will be spread; killing other enemies so others do not have to and so that other lives may be spared, “One sword keeps another in the Sheath”.

I was also quite pleased with the hidden undertones that they presented, mainly about the philosophy between what is right and wrong and how we often alter our views to suit our own selfish needs.  It also speaks of brainwashing people and also having ourselves be effected by what is all around us and through the “memes” of others, consequently what we may hold as “Freedom” and “Choice” are not actually freedoms at all.  It also speaks of how humanity is doomed to follow through with this and creates an endless cycle of the very same.

Also, the humor is not bad either.  Throughout the game there are tid bits of humor in order to break the sometimes overbearing burden it feels like Raiden is carrying.  Doktor speaking as if your safety was also a consideration only after he realizes how eager he is for extra research data, George repeated calling of Raiden as “Ninja man”, and even Wolf’s breakdown of Raiden’s humor of ” Throwing Wolf a bone” because of his canine exoskeleton.

The campaign itself was enjoyable but it was very, very short (Around 4-6 hours on Normal Difficulty).  I felt like they could have did much more with the game in the way that they told the story in order to extend it, but I guess short and sweet is better than something that is dragged out.  However, I think they could have went further by just explaining in detail more about some things left up in the air, like why the Prime Minister called him “Mr. Lightning Bolt” (Also explaining in detail about the “Patriots” since some, like me, played Metal Gear Rising because it is a Hack n’ Slash and did not bother with the games in the Metal Gear Solid series).  I would have liked to know more about the cyborg initiative and how that was possible, flash backs to Raiden’s days as a child soldier in libera and what he had to do (Including a possible segment with him as a child undergoing VR Training similar to what the brains were given).  Not to mention the ending was quite up in the air, though it did make sense with what was happening it will throw you for a loop and is oddly nonsensical seeing how serious Raiden becomes by the end of the game.  The saving grace of this game in terms of length is that harder difficulties provide much more of a challenge in order to keep the game enjoyable (Especially if you want that achievement for S’ing every mission of game on Revengeance Difficulty).

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[ Combat, Enemies, & Bosses ]

As far as the combat goes, I will say that it is pretty polished overall.  You will be using X or Square for Light Attacks, Y or Triangle for Heavy Attacks (Or this button will serve as your secondary main weapon should you equip one), Left Bumper or L1 to bring out your sub weapon and Right Trigger or R2 to fire it.  You are able to “Ninja Run” by pushing and holding the Right Trigger or R2 button (This will automatically cause Raiden to run and lets him automatically deflect bullet fire and jump over/dodge obstacles).  Pushing Left Trigger or L1 will cause Raiden to enter “Blade Mode” where you can use the Right Stick or a mix of the Square/X or Triangle/Y buttons to perform vertical and horizontal slashes and cut your opponents into little pieces while aiming for the glowing square to try and “Zandatsu” (Grabbing your opponents recovery pack from their body to gain life and absorb their electrolytes).  Also, after the fight with Monsoon you will gain access to “Ripper Mode” by pushing in both sticks simultaneously while you have full Meter, allowing you to “Cut at will” without going into blade mode and slice through opponents and armor fairly quickly.

In my opinion, combat in itself is pretty fluent and poses a significant challenge on later difficulties with the need to parry everything rather than a traditional block function; this is because off screen opponents will still attack you and opponents in general attack relentlessly and you must parry in the direction they are coming from.  Fighting can prove to be frantic and exciting, but also feels very structured in how have to approach the enemies you are dealing with and prioritize exactly which ones you should kill first.  However, I do feel as though there is more of a priority in getting to certain ranges in order to parry and initialize a counterattack for a one hit kill rather than fighting against certain types of enemies; because of this I feel like there is a specific strategy that comes with killing every foe that needs to be abused if you want to make it through the game.  As far as stealth goes, it is not really a concern for most of this game on regular difficulties, however, once you begin in Hard and Revengeance difficulty you will find stealth kills to be invaluable and will prefer to wait it out instead of fighting for your life going “Gung-ho” every single time.

Enemies in this game are fun to fight against because you have different types, and even the most basic of your enemies becomes a challenge in groups upon clearing the game.  This is different than DmC: Devil May Cry for me because enemies are fearless and attack at you relentlessly and will do their best to avoid you when you enter Ripper or Blade Mode to avoid dying as much as possible.  Heavily Armored enemies and Fenrir’s provide the most difficult kills in my opinion, but with practice you can stand up to them and vanquish them pretty easily, but that will come with loads of deaths and practices.  No enemy is entirely too difficulty per say, but it is more of the waves in which you are given your enemies that make them a force, and the amount of damage they do at higher difficulties.  I think Platinum Games did a very good job in this department and should be applauded.

Now on to the bosses.  Bosses in my opinion are very disappointing when it comes to this game.  As far as fighting them goes and the difficulty of them in general; I thought we would be experiencing fights of epic proportions that would become more and more grand as time went on…. but it did not, it stayed pretty average and tame compared to what I expected would eventually erupt.  Your first fight in File R-00 against Metal Gear Ray was absolutely fantastic, it had several portions to the fight and experienced an amazing sequence where you are thrown into the side of a clock tower and are running down it while dodging missiles and Ray’s Plasma Beam in order to slash him in half vertically, amazing.  Even the first fight in File R-01 where you are against Mistral,  you fight her in several sections and finish her off by having her stab a liquid nitrogen tank and slashing her into a million pieces, magnificent.  However, the final fights between Monsoon, Sundowner, Jetstream Sam (Major disappointment here), and the final unknown boss are all entirely too easy and are not of dramatic proportions at all.  These should have been the highlight of the entire game but posses the most significant letdown of the entire thing.  Do not get me wrong, they are all good fights in their own right but are significantly less mind-blowing than you would expect them to be, especially from the first couple of boss fights you encounter.

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[ Unlocks & Miscellaneous Information ]

As far as the unlocks go for this game, you will have access to different Main, Secondary, Wigs, and other things dependent upon things done inside of the game.  Such as collecting 10 Officer Left Arms will unlock Infinite Wig A which grants unlimited ammo for sub weapons while 20 will give you Infinite Wig B allowing you to have infinite Blade Meter, Finding all Men In Boxes and earning the “Peekaboo” achievement grants you access to the High Frequency Wooden Blade, and defeating each of the bosses gives you their main weapon among other things.

I will say that the unlocks are well distributed in the game and rewards you for doing other activities which further enforces players to go back and experience everything the game has to offer.  Most of the time you have to undergo certain grueling tasks extra in order to unlock things that may or may not be usable, however, by doing things that are also counting towards earning achievements/trophies you are also unlocking things to make your life a lot easier (Such as using the HF Wooden Blade to earn the achievement which requires you going through 10 fights without killing anyone).

As far as a few of the extra things in the game, I am quite impressed by a few side choices they chose to include.  Such as one of the Sub weapons being a Cardboard box to give homage to Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.  Also, at one point you are able to slash a saved civilian and remove him of all clothes except his boxers and if you were to call any of your allies on Codec they will be disgusted with you, an example is Courtney saying, “You can save your own damn data!” among other things.  Not to mention a few obscure references to Solid Snake and the Ninja Turtles.  I even enjoyed the one guard that seemed to be an otaku who had posters of anime girls on the walls and was reading through an anime style magazine and gawking at pictures of 2-D cuties.

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[ Known & Future Downloadable Content (DLC) ]

Grey Fox Costume

As far as downloadable content, a few things have been known.  If you Pre-Ordered the game from GameStop you were given a code to unlock the FOX Blade and an outfit that made Raiden look like Grey Fox.  The FOX Blade itself has the ability to randomly slice through something cleanly, even armor, even better than when Ripper Mode is activated (Once you spend 200,000 to unlock the weapon and another 100,000 to level up its ability, I believe it is the strongest weapon in the game…but not very good for getting Zandatsu).

Also, set to release relatively soon for Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 is DLC which includes some back story chapters of Jetstream Sam and Wolf before they encounter Raiden, as well as 30 VR missions to conquer.  These will be good for achievements and also allow you to see what happened to motivate their events in the main game.  Also, there will be DLC for a Wooden Sword that talks like Solid Snake and the ability to play as LQ-84i.

From what I have heard, this Downloadable Content will be dropping in Japan fist and will next be coming to America and Europe shortly after.  Exclusivity on release will be given to Playstation 3 with Xbox 360’s release of the DLC coming sometime after.

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[ The Verdict ]

Raiden and his robotic canine companion, Wolf.

Platinum Games did their thing and again created a masterful game that truly brings to life the character of Raiden by showing off the high intensity action brought about by his line of work and the demons of his past as a child soldier that still haunt and drive him to this very day.  I feel his character was portrayed very well in a way that only Platinum Games could tell it (And I believe Hideo Kojima felt the same way, as if he said that if a second installment were to take place that Platinum Games would have to be the ones to do it0.

The battles were solid, even if they were not as over the top as I would have liked (Considering that Platinum Games made both Bayonetta and Vanquish, both very over the top in the way that they are played), but if one was not expecting that this game is simply excellent, and it still is regardless.  Unlockables are a good reason to continue to go through the game and earn achievements and meaningful DLC on its way is a reason to keep the game around and play more.  This is one of the best Hack n’ Slash games to come about in a very long time and the love is shown, even if it is a relatively short game.  I am hoping there will be a Metal Gear Rising part 2 because I feel like I am left on a cliff hanger as far as what Raiden will do about the threats that pose this world, forging his own path with his High Frequency blade in hand and Samurai Code leading his way.

Thank you for reading my review for Platinum Games and Kojima Productions Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.  Until next time, Arigatou & Sayonara!  ありがとう!

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About The Author

RoK the Reaper
A serious gamer & hardcore otaku who loves anything gaming, anime, or manga! I hope to bring you the best content for these subjects I love in the form of news, reviews, interviews, and in-depth editorials! さよなら!

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