Similar to its protagonist Jack, otherwise known as Raiden, who was first introduced to fans in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of liberty, Rising is no stranger to controversy.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, originally announced at E3 in 2009 under the title Metal Gear Solid: Rising, was first in the hands of Kojima Productions who struggled to fully develop the game, only to have series creator Hideo Kojima make the decision to hand the production of the game over to Platinum Games developer of such titles as, Bayonetta and Vanquish. Rising's fast action, unabashed violence with reckless abandon dares to take on every action game before it and raises the bar, as well as cements the Metal Gear franchise to a place it's never been before.
At some point after Liquid Ocelot's insurrection, the now famous Cyborg Ninja reborn, Raiden, finds himself working full-time with Maverick Security Consulting, Inc., in efforts to help rebuild an African country that had undergone a bloody civil war. However, plans quickly change when cyborg soldiers belonging to the Desperado Enforcement LLC. PMC start attacking a convoy for the African country's prime minister, for whom, Raiden, himself, provides VIP protection.
Raiden quickly learns that Desperado wants the prime minister dead because of the new founded peace under his reign. This is just the beginning of a series of events that will take Raiden on a path that spans across three countries, and features some of the most epic boss battles in recent memory.
Rising's story which eventually covers disturbing subjects like child abduction and organ harvesting, begins to really show Kojima Productions influence on what, in the beginning, could have easily be seen played out in a regular series story, involving military themes and political satire alike. But unfortunately, towards the end, it takes itself much less seriously, at times losing its momentum. With that said, the genuine emotional moments, watching Raiden’s struggles with his past and inner demons, all under his mantra of protecting and saving lives, makes the story interesting enough to satisfy our pallets. The game only takes itself as serious as you want it to be, but will surely be met with some scrutiny towards the end.
Raiden isn't alone on this journey, though. With the help of his Maverick Security Consulting allies, Boris, Kevin. Courtney, Doktor and his new self-learning neuro-AI partner, Blade Wolf, who, further down the road, plays a pivotal role. We won't spoil everything, but you do encounter familiar characters and enemies from series past, who will aid or engage you along the way.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is best described as a heart-pounding hack-n-slash action experience. With the ability to play stealthy or through direct engagement, like Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, your objective is to move from point to point on a predetermined path, in order to trigger your next objective and advance the story through enemy engagements and boss battles that are peppered throughout the game.
Maps are of decent size, giving you the ability to opt into extra battles with PMC's and find secrets containers that may hold items, special upgrades, or collectables, but, for the most part is still very restrictive to the player's movement, particularly during active battle engagements, isolating you until the battle is won. This is also where Rising comes into its own.
Featuring an all-new style of frenetic action gameplay, our hero, Raiden, uses his High Frequency katana blade to literally cut through anything that stands in his path. The "ZanDatsu" cut mechanic is a way for players to cut-at-will in real time, anytime, anywhere, and we absolutely love it.
The number of combo's, fast paced parkour-like movement, and easy paray defense, empower the player to tackle anything that gets thrown at them, and trust us when we say, anything and everything will get thrown at you.
The controls and gameplay are enough for the average player to pick up and feel like they have destroyed enemies with confidence, but still have enough for the hardcore audience with special moves, combos, and a ranking system that constantly encourages you to do better. You truly get a sense of satisfaction when you have cleared an area of enemies, given the tools at hand, at the beautiful fast pace of 60 frames per second, which almost never suffers from frame drop nor lack of violence.
Rising offers an assortment of loaded cutscenes, gameplay, and incredibly insaneGodzilla-likeboss battles that will direct you on your path and drive you forward.
To aid you on your journey, you end up acquiring various weapons and items as you go along, including the signature oil drum, cardboard box and invaluable weapons from boss characters, not to mention the numerous amounts of skill and ability upgrades for yourself and your weapons gained with the collection of points rewarded to you the player, if special moves, combo's or other various accomplishments are met.
Becoming a master killing machine while certainly achievable over time, will not happen right off the bat, considering you're limited in skills and abilities until unlocked, but the game has a forgiving learning curve and couples this, with the fast pace action quite nicely.
Enemy AI is aggressively unforgiving, so simply running and hiding is usually not a viable option. Although enemy AI can become predictable over time, the various PMC enemies give enough variety to keep the action interesting, but never boring. The same can be said for the boss battles in Rising and, for the most part, posed an exciting, fun, and challenging experience that keeps the game flow at a very, enjoyable pace... that is... aside from a couple bossbattle encounters.
Notably Sundowner, and Metal Gear Excelsus had us wanting to throw our controller through the window, giving no real explanation nor clear patterns, but, once finally defeated, had our self-inflicted savage juices yearning for more.
Rising is definitely pleasing to the eye, but didn't have the wow factor that MGS4 did graphically. However, it's not like you'll be standing around looking at texture detail ...what will blow you away is how the game looks and feels at an alarmingly fast pace, all while running at 60 frames per second making the gameplay overall very, very satisfying.
Stylistically though, the game is second to none, with a cinematic direction reminiscent of an over the top action movie.
Rising's presentation, and holding-back-nothing attitude, with standout characters and design, coupled with a heavymetal rock soundtrack and excellent voice work, really shows the polish and attention-to-detail of Platinum Games.
The series has always, like-it-or-not, told its story through lengthy cutscenes. Rising is no different; but we are happy to say, it keeps them to a reasonable timeframe.
A lot of information in the game can be soaked through conversations in the Codec, but, thankfully, you can fast-forward through the codec chatter. Cutscenes can be put on pause, or be skipped completely, but we wouldn’t recommend doing so.
In addition, Rising has a number of in-joke Easter eggs and secrets to warrant multiple play throughs, not to mention the various amounts of DLC bonuses to make the gameplay that much more interesting.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance brings the Metal Gear franchise to an exciting new territory it's never been before. Granted, playing Metal Gear Solid is still about stealth, sneaking around, and gun play to complete your objective; but for many fans of the series, Rising fills the void of ever wishing you could play out scenes with the Cyborg Ninja, as seen in series past, even going so far back as the ability to play as Grey Fox during the Metal Gear Solid Integral VR Missions. Rising is worthy of its inclusion to the Metal Gear universe. As for Raiden... despite some reservations about the game and its direction with ties to the series... this Cyborg Ninja has won us over and we can't wait to see this arm of the Metal Gear franchise continue forward.
Version Tested: PS3