Cyborgs are cool, in fact I have a soft spot for most games that featured cyborgs since it always brought me back to Deus Ex. Now I bet the reader is wondering just what the hell Deus Ex has to do with a game that ties into the Metal Gear universe? Well from my perspective, quite a lot actually, however there’s still other stuff to talk about. The game here is Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, I don’t know why they decided to spell it that way, and yes it bothers the hell out of me considering that I’m not a fan of words with too many unnecessary vowels in them, but whatever.
In fact the title was least problematic thing I was skeptical about before playing this game, but it sure was easy to point and laugh at it! First off let me be clear, and I know a lot of people are gonna want to torch my fine establishment after what I have to say, but I’m not the biggest Metal Gear Solid fan. Granted I only played 3, but I guess the reason I never continued to pursue this series was because it was ‘Cutscenes Galore the Videogame’! It definitely wasn’t terrible, it was just something not up my alley, which makes ‘Revengeance‘ that much more fascinating.
However before I spoil my feelings about the game, let me talk about the plot. The game centralizes itself 4 years after the events of MGS4 (which I just now realized after looking up leftover plot details in Wikipedia), and it focuses on Snake’s good ol chum named Raiden. You see Raiden was having a great day, guarding the prime minister and looking snazzy, until basically the bosses from Deus Ex: Human Revolution came in and kidnapped the prime minister! Oh noes, they be takin’ our prime minister!
Now it’s up to Raiden to rescue him and kick some ass, except he gets fucked up by some cyborg dude named Samuel, the head of a terrorist group called Desperado Enterprises. And in the process, the prime minister kind of gets killed, leaving Raiden with some pretty serious injuries and most importantly, the ‘worst day ever’. Cut back to several weeks later, Raiden comes back in slick black cyborg armor, and he wants ‘Revengeance‘!
Sounds like every typical cliché anime action movie, right? Well while it may not be the most developed plot, here’s the thing…I liked it. Yep, I’m gonna be flat-out honest and say that I had a lot of fun with this game. This surprised the hell out of me, considering that I really had no interest in the game from the beginning. Even after playing the demo I still did not have that same level of excitement that some of my friends had, but man this game got my blood pumping.
Back to the story though, aside from some clichéd moments, awkward lines of translated dialogue, and the fact that Raiden keeps using the word ‘memes’ – seriously, is Grumpy Cat sending him spam on his e-mail account?! What was going on with that?! Point is, this story embraces its insanity, but at the same time it does try to embed political messages and undertones. Even though it, well, it tries hard, so hard to maintain those deep philosophical moments, however ultimately it just comes off as kind of ‘cute’. I’m just saying when you’re trying to deliver a message about human trafficking, and in the background you hear cheesy metal music while fighting robot dogs with chainsaws, yeah it’s sort of silly.
Although, while those moments may not blend too well with the chaotic nature of the game, I do have to give them bonus points for integrating them into what could have been a very run-of-the-mill action game. In ways, it kind of moderates the flow, and also doesn’t linger too long or doesn’t get on my nerves. The game keeps injecting new energy into the game by not only with the setpiece and gameplay moments, but with also just how crazy the story gets as it moves along. There were barely any moments where my eyes were wandering off, in fact my eyes were glued to the screen because of how much was happening and how intense the combat gets.
Speaking of which, the combat in this game feels very rewarding. Sure it’s not as complex as something like Bayonetta where you have to learn a huge list of combos if you want to get a perfect rating, however what the game excels at is new ways to kills your opponents by introducing a new mechanic called blade mode. When your gauge meter is filled up and the enemy is thoroughly weakened, a blue screen prompt will show up that will allow you to enter blade mode once you hold the left trigger. Once that happens you can then turn your enemy into chopped onions, and it is a blast! By the end of the game, I was surprised that I never became bored with it, in fact they constantly do new things with it throughout the game.
While one portion of it is just basically hack & slash segments, the other parts are Metal Gear light stealth stages. I do like that they are branching off into different gameplay segments and that they are giving the player more options than to just slash enemies, however I do wish there was more to these segments. It just feels like it was trying to be Metal Gear Solid, but at the same time not doing anything too complex. As Raiden you can dish out smoke grenades, hide in boxes, and assassinate enemies from behind, however that’s about it. The game could have benefited more, personally, from inserting more interesting mechanics into those stealth segments, however instead they just decided to stick with what they knew.
Now that I brought up Metal Gear Solid, I feel like one of the biggest weaknesses here is when they try to bridge a connection between the games. A couple of the easter eggs were cool, but using a cardboard box as a stealth tool here feels a little unwarranted since this felt more like a standalone game. And this is where I bring up Deus Ex, because I feel like the reason I understood the universe of this game was because I was making connections between Rising and Human Revolution. In the way that both games bring up discussions about using machinery as a tool for war or violence, and well, the character physical reconstruction at the start felt similar with Adam Jensen in the beginning of Human Revolution as well. It’s just that with Deus Ex that felt more like a game involving investigations and reconnaissance, where as with Rising the game was more about bloodrage and revenge.
Rising definitely keeps the tenacity alive, and never puts the gameplay on brakes. And unlike Aliens: Colonial Marines where it had one of the worst boss fights I’ve encountered, this one had a challenging boss fight that required you to be on your feet within every second of it, otherwise you were screwed. Actually most of the boss fights were fairly decent, but the most difficult one had to be the third boss, and it was one of those fights where I died the most.
As for side content, there are VR missions and a customization menu. The VR missions are basically challenge maps that allow you to earn rankings and earn BP (upgrade points). Some of them range from stealth objectives to time attack modes, and are actually a neat edition. The customization menu here doesn’t exactly have the widest range of choices, however it does give the game some depth by allowing you to unlock weapons, skills, and skins.
While I can’t speak for diehard fans of Metal Gear Solid about if this is something that fits in line with the universe, I can definitely say that for nonfans this is still a pretty damn exhilarating game. It’s not perfect, but it constantly engages the player and ends on a very challenging, yet good note. If you want just something to easily entertain you while maintaining a challenge, this is definitely a game to check out.
All that’s left to do is to remake ‘Seven Samurai‘, but as cyborgs! C’mon, this is a trend waiting to happen!