Published on February 19th, 2013 | by Kiron Ramdewar0
Metal Gear Solid Rising: Revengeance – Devilishly devastating destruction
Raiden has never been adored by MGS fans. When he debuted in Sons of Liberty his key role was met with boos and jeers of fanboys who wanted Solid Snake back as their main character. A lot has changed since then and since Raiden’s first appeared on consoles he has matured, got some new cyber enhancements, a samurai sword and a whole load of attitude, but can he make MGS spin-off into the hack and slash market a rip-roaring success?
Rising (we refuse to reference to it as Revengeance) starts off with a bang as the president that you are protecting is captured by a mercenary group. Everything goes a bit MGS with the cutscenes, talk of the war economy and the Patriots. Raiden does some complaining about ‘the system’ and generally spends more time whining than the latest kid on My Sweet 16. Thankfully, until the latter part of the Rising the game never lets itself get bogged down by story. Pretty much you are Raiden – badass ninja cyborg – here to stop evil and cut through anyone in your path.
Within the first ten minutes of Rising you’ll have already sliced through a dozen soldiers and taken down a metal gear itself. It’s an action packed opening that sets the bar for the rest of the game. The rest of the 6-8 hour campaign does not disappoint either. Rising throws all sorts of obstacles at you, from exploding buildings to giant enemy crabs (on both 360 and PS3). Other enemies include flying mechanised soldiers, an array of different robots and gorilla like beasts. It never feels like you get bored with one enemy, because by time you do another type of foe squares up to you. Each one has their weaknesses and strengths, making you to think tactically before slicing away.
Combat is mapped to light and heavy attacks, delaying button presses or inputting different directions will cause Raiden to flip and spin around, dealing out death in a multitude of extravagant ways, laying waste to all before him. There’s an awesome set of weapons to mix-up your game too. During our initial playthrough of Rising we unlocked four different weapons and were left with more to still collect. Each one can completely alter how you play; the sai drags you towards enemies, allowing you to quickly move from one target to the next, while the polearm can deal out damage to multiple enemies with its devastating reach. Every time I unlocked a weapon I found myself instantly equipping it with devilish glee, wondering how I could inflict more pain on enemies while looking significantly more badass (if possible).
Rising has an odd amount of evasive moves. Platinum Games’ sadistic hive mind seems to believe that running head first into battles is the best way to win. Other than one unlockable evasive skill you only really have a parry to help defend yourself. By hitting the attack button and moving your analogue stick towards opponents you can quickly block attacks. By the end of the game you’ll be switching between enemies and parrying multiple attacks on the fly. This is extremely useful but will put off a lot of newcomers as it takes a little bit of practice.
One of the major selling points of Rising is the blade mode. By using some of Raiden’s special bar you can slow time and cut through your enemies in any direction. Want to cut your enemies into small cubes? How about triangles? Hell, why not chop off their limbs and leave them with one leg to hobble on? Done, done and done. Using one analogue stick you move the camera while the other pivots on an axis. It may sound complicated, but after a few cyborgs you’ll be chopping your enemies into sushi with ease.
The boss fights stand out as a highlight of the game with weird and wonderful enemies that force you from your combat comfort zone. Each one has something different that makes them unique and forces you to think tactically about how to approach the fight. Blade mode is used particularly well in these show downs and it can be heart-pounding getting that well placed slash in. Boss fights are tense and make you think on your feet rather than blindly swinging your sword.
By the end of Rising’s short running time I was left wanting more bodies to slice through and balmy bosses to face off with. Thankfully the amount of unlockable extras, weapons and the nice addition of VR missions has helped reel in my bloodlust.
I could keep going on about how great Rising is, but it is by no means perfect. The camera can jitter around with multiple enemies, save files can leave you at a boss with little or no health items and by the final act the story gets in the way of the action. The stealth elements of the game are a nice touch, but feel slightly out of place. I found myself stealth killing a few enemies and then purposefully attacking others, alerting guards and inviting in chaos rather than avoiding it.
All in all the problems with Rising are small drops in a vast ocean of awesome. I loved the game and was upset that it ended, as I just wanted more. An explosive new hack and slash game with samurai swords, over the top action and robot dogs, Rising slices through any we negative preconceptions we had for the game and crushes them into dust.
Summary: Raiden has been forgiven for all previous appearances in MGS games and has become a complete badass. An amazing hack and slash game, the master's of the genre have made Rising one of the best spin-offs in years.