Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance – A True Metal Gear Game?
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is brilliant.
It’s had an identity crisis, it’s gone through development hell and it’s now being propped up by two separate studios but none of this matters now. Because it’s brilliant.
Seeing the bold design of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and how fun it is to slice your way through the guards in front of you, it’s hard to believe this project was ever on crutches, threatening to collapse under the weight of its own ambition.
This isn’t just a game that’s been saved. This is a game that’s been retailored to destroy every other game around it. It is that good.
But before we clamber into the hyperbole cannon, strap on our hyperbole helmets and fire ourselves into Hyperboleland, we need to answer the most pressing question about this game.
Is Revengeance A Metal Gear game?
“LOL NowGamer you’re so dumb, of course it’s a Metal Gear game look at the title!”
You might be thinking that, give or take a few hundred exclamation marks, because it seems like a really obvious question. But hush. Hear us out.
The big concern with Revengeance, since the relaunch trailer stuffed with OTT action and revelation that Platinum was involved, is that it doesn’t play like a Metal Gear game.
It’s true. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance doesn’t play like a typical Metal Gear game.
Yet all the familiar touches are there. Revengeance has cutscenes full of eccentric characters like Jetstream Sam and Doktor the, erm, doctor (although the cutscenes are a brisk three or four minutes rather than hours). The story is also suitably loopy, demented sci-fi welded to clunky philosophy. It’s very, very Metal Gear.
Revengeance is also packed with sound effects that have clearly come from ‘MetalGearLibrary’ folder on Hideo Kojima’s desktop. The warning beep when your health is low, the ambient music during the moments of quiet, the classic alert noise – not a huge thing but again, all very Metal Gear.
If you’ve been following the development of this back when it was first announced, you may even smirk when the tutorial asks you to slice watermelons – a nod to the original Metal Gear Solid: Rising tech demo.
Hell, there’s even a token effort at stealth. Pressing up flips on a radar vision of sorts, and you can pick off patrolling guards with stealth kills.
But while the likes of Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Dishonored discourage an all-guns blazing approach in favour of stealth without truly taking away either option, Revengeance encourages you to ditch skulking around the shadows and get stuck in.
How? By having an incredible combat system that is almost criminal to ignore.
Platinum Games Rising
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is Platinum Games through and through. Having brought this project back to life, Revengeance now throbs with the Japanese studio’s blood, every bit of their action experience and know-how flowing through each attack, slice, combo, everything.
If you’ve played Bayonetta or Vanquish, you’ll recognise the hallmarks of those games. Fast action, fluid animation, satisfying feedback punctuating the combat and a simple control system that hides a surprising amount of depth.
In this case, the depth comes from the ‘cut anything’ mechanic. Officially called Blade Mode, it could also be known as the ‘make Revengeance fun’ mode. Holding L1 slows down time and means any swipe with the right analogue stick translates onscreen as a sword swipe.
And you can… cut anything. Hence the name. Cars, boxes, lamp-posts, guards, everything drifts apart in slow motion at the point where you’ve hacked it. It’s a brilliant system, mostly because slicing things up is really, really fun. Controlling the camera while slashing around with your katana does feel a little rubbing-your-stomach-while-patting-your-head but it’s the kind of chaotic control that’s enjoyable.
Soon you learn to combine Blade Mode with other moves. Jumping and pressing triangle sees Raiden do a fast, homing kickflip off his opponent. In the air, you can go into Blade Mode and slice your opponents to ribbons as you fall back down.
The perfect example of this is your first boss fight, against the snappily-named IF Prototype LQ-84i. A metallic wolf with a chainsaw for a tail, your final blow flips him into the air. Even though he’s defeated, you get the chance to carve the hapless adversary apart, for no reason other than your own enjoyment.
After struggling against the boss for however long it takes – even at this early stage, it puts up quite the fight – getting a free shot to slice it apart is immensely satisfying. It shows Platinum’s understanding of what makes action games so enjoyable.
So this isn’t a Metal Gear game in the usual sense. For us, Metal Gear is defined by its gameplay, which is about stealth, ambitious gameplay ideas and gadgets that would get Q hot under the collar.
There’s no mistaking Revengeance for anything other than a Platinum Games title and, dare we say it, this could be even better than Bayonetta if the ‘cut anything’ mechanic holds up throughout the entire game. It is stupidly, ridiculously, ludicrously fun.
It’s also as far away from shooting patrol guards in the thigh with a tranquilizer dart as it’s possible to get, short of a dubstep soundtrack and a WUBWUB accompanying each slash. But then again, Metal Gear is a series that encompasses cards (Acid), soldier collecting (Portable Ops) and third-person shooting (Touch). Why shouldn’t a Platinum Games slash-’em-up fit alongside them?
Metal Gear fans will enjoy the characters, the bosses, the plot and the little touches. Platinum Game fans will enjoy the speed, the combat and the ‘cut anything’ mechanic.
Above all though, everyone will enjoy what is already shaping up to be one of next year’s strongest titles.