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I knew I’d be writing this as soon as I finished the game. I just didn’t think it would come so soon. Metal Gear Rising was featured on our January Upcoming Storm article. After seeing DmC and Aliens: Colonial Marines fail so badly, I really wanted this game to be great. In addition to having played Metal Gear Solid 1-4 and being remarkably moved by the conclusion of a grand saga, this game was to be a continuation in the action genre, a game type I do much better than stealth. I even wrote a First Impressions article after finishing the first two levels, excited by what I had seen. But by the end of my first playthrough, I had the feeling I had just been the groom at my own great, but could-have-been-better wedding. Yep, this review is a giant metaphor, but try to follow me on this. For those of you who can’t, I put a translation at the bottom of the paragraph, though it won’t be as fun!
VR Training is required for this one
I walked up to the Chapel of Metal Gear, and I was excited! It was a fine old building, complete with an ambitious and well-received history. I walked up the steps, taking in the grandeur and wonder of such a fine old building, reliving the memories I had growing up nearby, playing on the grounds and visiting the inside every once in a while for my spiritual well-being. I opened the door, took one more look at the scenery and smiled as I walked inside. Unsurprisingly, my memory was quite good. The place was gorgeous! Not nearly as pretty as my last visit, but man, there are few prettier chapels to be in! And the decorations were equally attractive, maybe even adding to the old interior’s beauty! (Metal Gear is a well-loved series. I played it as a kid. Rising brought up those happy feelings. The graphics are good. Not MGS4 good, but good.)
Then the band began to play. Sure, it wasn’t Pachelbel’s Canon like I hoped and asked for it to be, but Bach’s Air is just as good! And the pastor, with his dulcet tones, worthy of Sir Patrick Stewart, my own personal Captain, was perfect for the occasion! The ceremony began, with the love of my life marching down the aisle with a big smile on her face. This was going to go great! Pastor Stewart began the ceremony with a traditional opening. Unoriginal, but tried and true, we enjoyed the proper way to start things. And then it got interesting: instead of continuing the feel of the opening, the pastor sprung into action, becoming equal parts standup comedian, inspiring speaker and eye-grabbing pantomimer! This ceremony was gonna kick ass! (The music was also good, but wasn’t the epic soundtrack we’ve come to expect. The voice acting was fantastic. My love for the series emerged. The opening was predictable, but standard. The action started and blew my mind with its originality.)
Such a wasted opportunity for such diverse characters.
As time began to pass, the pastor fell back into routine. Sure, he was still very energetic and spoke with enthusiasm, but the words were the same as a hundred cliche weddings. In fact, aside from the excitement, it sounded like a pale imitation of the sermons I had seen growing up. The gist was the same, but he didn’t even go past the surface value of the words! And even worse, about halfway through the what should have been a full ceremony, we skipped right to the “I do”s! What happened to the rest of it? The vows were all ready to go, and took time to get just right. Why are we ignoring them? (The opening chapter was good. The rest fell into standard action game format, but the action is still fantastic. The story doesn’t measure up to the rest of the series. A lot of build up. Very little payoff.)
The metaphor has run its course. Ultimately it was an incredible experience in the short time it lasted, with cutscenes that make you feel immortal and controls that set a new standard for the genre. A stellar effort for Platinum Games. Most importantly, I was surprisingly impressed by the character of Raiden. From the badly received Metal Gear Solid 2 appearance to this game, the amount of development of the white haired ninja has made him one of my favorite people of the world, even more so in this game. Now for some complaints.
Such a great opportunity…
I’ve gotten more time out of an XBLA game at a much lower cost than this. Four hours for $60? And I really worked hard on learning all the moves. They can do better than THAT. The Metal Gear franchise has a long list of characters ripe for a cameo, even after all the deaths of MGS4, and somehow the only one they use is Sunny? And where the hell is Solid Snake? If he’s dead, tell us. If not, at least give the guy who played such a crucial role in destroying the Patriots you keep talking about some freaking credit, not just a mention in an optional codec conversation I had to read about later!And another thing, why would you not develop the characters more? Raiden’s support team are two dimensional and mostly useless except for Doktor. Any fan of the other games can name their contacts in the rest of the series because they mattered and played into the plot. This one will have you forgetting them. The enemies are equally worthless. Desperado Enterprises is a poor imitation of FOXHOUND or Dead Cell. All of them are cyborgs with only cosmetic and tactical differences, unlike the groups mentioned above, though I concede that Solid-style bosses are harder here than in other MG games. Most disappointing is Samuel Rodriguez, the guy that makes Raiden’s head bandage necessary. He looms as a threat throughout the game, and two missions before the end, you have a very simple battle with him where you kill him. Sure, it has some payoff, but there was more potential for the character.
The FIRST boss of the game… Fantastic
Concept: Take “Tactical” and “Espionage” out of the Metal Gear formula.
Story: Such a disappointment. The character philosophies and outlandish character motivations are back, but the depth, quality and complexity of the Metal Gear story are gone, with a streamlined, predictable Action game plot in its place. One development with Raiden stands out as remarkable, but the rest is a horrible departure from the norm.
Gameplay: Incredible action game controls. Basic controls, including the featured Zandatsu system, lets you slice opponents into super-thin steaks, while advanced controls can take down individual unit types with the greatest of ease. This may become the new standard for Action gameplay.
Graphics: These graphics are fantastic. Even though MGS4 is superior, this game looks fantastic, not even counting development issues.
Sound: The soundtrack is similar, but not as epic as the other entries in the series. The inclusion of Rock/Metal songs with lyrics worked for me, but its an issue of personal taste. Voice acting was high quality, as we expect from this series, but there is an intense increase in cursing, which is weird to notice considering I don’t remember it being so common in the other Metal Gear games.
Fun Factor: Cutting things into tiny pieces doesn’t really get old, a credit to the design. Getting S rank in missions can be frustrating, as one stray bullet can drop you an A rank, but in most cases you enjoy the feeling of power you have in every attack. And the quicktime event cutscenes are absolutely a blast to experience.
Replay: This game is so terribly short (First playthrough clocked in at just under four hours). There are VR Missions, collectibles and other reasons to play through again, but it’s disappointing how a $60 game can take so little time to finish.
The Coup de Grace
This is an interactive cutscene. If only the whole game were this awesome…
I don’t know how to conclude this. On the one hand, this continuation of a great series has let me down. The story is subpar, the game is short, and there was a lot to work with to make this a much better game. On the other hand, the game was incredibly fun, a great step into a new genre, and had incredible sound and graphic quality. Ultimately I have to recommend renting or borrowing it from someone who already has it, and purchasing it when the price drops. No matter how great the game may be, you simply don’t get enough time to enjoy it in for the price. Maybe if they had included a Gray Fox campaign in addition to Raiden’s, I would have referred it more highly. I suppose there’s always a chance for DLC though…
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is Rated M for Mature by the ESRB, for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence and Strong Language, all of which are strongly deserved. It is currently available on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles.
What did you think of this departure from the Metal Gear formula? Drop a comment to share your experience!