The story of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance picks up a few years after the end of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and follows a new story of the cybernetic ninja known as Raiden. Two privately owned military companies, Maverick Enterprises and Desperado Enterprises, let their loyalties lie on different sides in an ongoing war in Africa. Raiden works for the Mavericks whose group works closely with the leader of the country at war to end the fighting, but Desperado attacks, killing the African leader and badly wounding Raiden in the battle. Raiden returns some time later with an enhanced black suit of armor that reflects his inner darkness that continues to grow following the attack. Throughout the game's campaign, this inner conflict is a key part of the stroryline, as Raiden's friends continue to remind him of the implications of his actions and try desperately to pull him back into the light. The game does reference the other games in the series numerous times speaking of the Guns of the Patriots and the like, but this is not Metal Gear Solid 5, and you shouldn't expect the storyline to progress much further during this spin-off title. There's still a good story here however, even if the action can get a bit too far over the top at times.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance features many similarities to other action titles including the obvious mixture of light and heavy attacks, upgradeable skills and the like. One of the biggest differences with this title occurs when you enter Blade Mode to slowly disect your enemies piece by piece. This is perfect for slicing through an enemy's back to rip out his spinal cord for a health boost or to carve out other organs for beneficial effects. You can even slice off enemy's legs and watch them harmlessly crawl around on the ground, quickly bleeding to death before you land a killing blow. It's all quite brutal and sounds good in theory, but a questionable control scheme makes things far more difficult to control than necessary. A steep learning curve will have you staring off into the sky slashing at nothing rather than the enemy directly in your face, and with few ways to easily dodge incoming attacks aside from running fast and using the clumsy dodge mechanic, you'll find yourself taking more hits than you should, even if you're a veteran of the genre. The game also features a form of free run much like the Assassin's Creed series, but it doesn't work nearly as smoothly, and the lack of genre standbys such as double jumps, wall jumps and the like will have you scratching your head and wondering why Raiden is capable of these incredibly acrobatic moves only in cutscenes. Almost as confusing is the level design that constantly discourages exploration and has you stealthily sneaking past enemies in some sections rather than fighting in this Action title.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a nice looking game whose visuals don't match that of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots but still look fairly impressive despite the fact. Some cutscenes look especially nice, and the brutality of slicing through your more human enemies is just as gory and enjoyable as it should be. During many of the epic boss encounters and cutscenes, rock music will be blared in your ears that may or may not be to your liking but definitely feels out of place in this game. The boss battles of the game are still easily the most enjoyable aspects of the game however from fighting a massive, agile Metal Gear Ray to the final climatic battleMetal Gear Rising: Revengeance isn't horrible, but unless you're a big fan of the hack and slash genre or a longtime fan of the Metal Gear series, this release may not be for you. Slicing enemies clean through is a joy the first few times you perform attacks in blade mode, but the feature quickly loses its luster, and you'll be left with a slightly above average action title with fan service for the Metal Gear fans among us. As with any Kojima Productions release, there are plenty of over the top moments in the game that are easily memorable and a fun storyline full of quirky characters is worth a few laughs as well. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance isn't a cut above the other games in the Metal Gear franchise, but it's still a unique title that is worth trying out if your a fan of the series.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is now available from all major retailers for the MSRP of $59.99 and can be purchased for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is rated M by the ESRB for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence & Strong Language. For more information on the game, check out the official Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance website.
Platforms: PlayStation 3 & Xbox 360 (reviewed)
Release Date: February 19, 2013