Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review - 'Swordplay has never been this much fun'

Review Score

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

PSU Review Score
9.5
Avg. user review score:
0.0

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Summary

Once again Platinum Games conjures up an action-packed masterpiece. Swordplay has never been this much fun.

We like

  • Captivating cut-scenes and cinematic sequences
  • Blade Mode adds an innovative new mechanic to the hack 'n slash combat
  • The frenetic pace and challenging enemy encounters can be exhilarating at times

We dislike

  • Generic level design
  • Shifting camera angles can leave you disorientated during combat

See PSU's review on Metacritic & GameRankings

A Metal Gear game launches and the PlayStation masses jump on it like the last human alive during a zombie apocalypse. Quality story-telling, high production values and absorbing gameplay have helped elevate the franchise to cult status, so the fact that it’s headed in a brand new direction with Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is definitely a concern for fans. Trading in lengthy cut-scenes and plodding stealth segments for short sharp bursts of cinematic violence and hard-hitting action was indeed a huge risk, but listen…there’s some good news? Platinum Games has nailed it.

The sword-clashing action in Metal Gear Rising takes place four years after events in Guns Of The Patriots and begins with a memorable, heart-racing opening sequence that flicks between cut-scenes and sword-slashing action as main protagonist Raiden, on VIP protection duty, shields an African president from attack. It’s an impressive start, delivered with the ferocity and showmanship of an all-action Hollywood flick, that sets the tone for the game’s mostly frantic pace and showcases with style the high production values that we’ve come to expect from the series.

In this Metal Gear spin-off, Raiden works as a cyborg for private military company (PMC) Maverick Enterprises. The enemy in this case is PMC rival Desperado Enterprises, who have been the force behind numerous terrorist attacks. The battle throughout the game largely sees Raiden tackling hordes of the bad guys alone on a relentless and violent hack ‘n’ slash-style journey, with guidance given to him from his team via Codec messages.

          

It makes for an adequate backdrop for the massive clash between violent cyborgs to take place, but despite a few twists and some enjoyable discoveries that flesh out the story and give it some legs, it’s a tale that plays second fiddle to the action. Indeed, the most memorable moments don’t come from clever dialogue or absorbing sub-plotlines. Instead, it’s the experience of seeing Raiden become increasingly affected by his conflicting Jack The Ripper persona, as well as some brilliantly produced cinematic sequences (none of which you’ll even think about skipping), that win the day.

The over-the-top, visual style of the combat as Raiden slices and dices enemies apart, and the heavy impact of some gloriously bloody cut-scenes, has had us shaking our heads in disbelief at the sheer skill of the Platinum Games team who have managed to create such a magnificent orgy of violence. Combat is blisteringly fast-paced, hypnotically so, as precision-based sword-slashes, combos, well-timed blocks and counters flow beautifully amidst a flash of sparks from metal against metal, while satisfying slow-mo sequences provide a stark and beautiful contrast as you cut your opponent into hundreds of pieces with your blade.

          

Being a Cyborg Ninja - especially Raiden with his aggressive and direct fighting style- is just super cool. He animates incredibly well and looks the part as he smoothly slices off limbs with the precision of a Grade A butcher. When he first calls out the words “Jack is back” we felt empowered by his heightened state of aggression, which is just the boost you need before taking on some of the challenging big boss battles. Raiden is a powerful fighter and Metal Gear Rising throws so many intense (and sometimes long) fights at you that we felt a real sense of achievement at the end of each chapter, as well as a surge of power that funnelled through our veins and motivated us into our next bout of combat.

Gameplay in Metal Gear Rising revolves around slicing the living daylights out of a variety of mechanically-powered enemies before tackling a big boss, and occasionally a number of smaller bosses along the way. Generally you move from ‘A’ to ‘B’ across a variety of fairly generic locations that we’ve seen many times before, such as a sewer, an old town, a refinery and the roof of a train. Though level design is far from spectacular or particularly detailed and the routes through each chapter are fairly linear, it’s really what happens in these areas that grasps your attention.

At its most basic, combat plays out like a typical hack ‘n’ slash with a combination of light and heavy attacks, defensive blocks and counters making up for the bulk of metal-on-metal action. But then you also have ... (continued on next page) ----

A gamer since the days of the ZX Spectrum, Steven Williamson now works as General Manager for PSU. He's supposed to be managing, but if you're reading this, it means he's dipped into editorial again.
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