It’s certaily not a Metal Gear Solid game like many were expecting, but it’s not meant to be either. After nearly being cancelled by Kojima Productions, Bayonetta and Vanquish developers, Platinum Games decided to took it upon themselves to continue the work of Kojima’s team to bring us yet again another exciting Metal Gear title, though not quite one based in stealth.
Speaking of the story, it won’t hold a candle to past Metal Gears or Metal Gear Solid titles, but it does give players a great look into Raiden‘s past. It starts out with the assassination of a political leader in which Raiden and his private army were tasked to protect. After surviving a gruesome assault from one of the members of Desperado, Raiden vows vengeance against them after discovering that they have been kidnapping children to turn into cyborg killers, the exact procedure that happened to him as a child. This isn’t business—it’s personal.
It sounds like a good setup, but often times you’ll forget what the story is about with moments that just appear too over the top. That’s not saying it’s bad, just that the focus becomes lost from time to time. Some of the dialogue isn’t that great either as this is shown with the young boy that Raiden saves later on who appears to have a voice that doesn’t even match the character and the dialogue still could have been done better despite him not knowing English. For the most part though you’ll enjoy watching the cutscenes as they do offer entertaining and some important moments.
In total there are five main bosses, all of them extremely satisfying to fight against like many of the series’ previous bosses. Whether your fighting against a women with eight arms or a man who can separate his body into multiple pieces, every single boss in this game offers an intense challenge, leaving players to continuously change their techniques. One disappointing thing though is that besides Mistral, none of these baddies actually resemble any of the past villains, as Kojima typically does this to try and connect each franchise together. Another is a lack of character development for the villains. Aside from Sundowner, whom you meet early on and establishes his spot as the biggest jerk in gaming, and Samuel, one of the recurring antagonists, all the other villains are just there to fill a void. Even the last boss is probably one of the best over the top situations ever created—everything about this guy is lovable, and despite being the villain, the dialogue that went behind this character are truly a thing of making him very memorable. I would give him a vote if possible.
The gameplay is where this title stands tall. In games such as God of War, Devil May Cry, and other titles like them, the blood and disembodiment is what makes them so enjoyable. Revengeance brings this to a whole new level with Blade Mode, offering a brutal, precise way to cut through virtually anything. If you wish to slice someone’s head off followed by cutting each of their limbs off, it’s possible. Going around in levels and cutting random objects such as a tree or even an entire bridge is all to fun with Blade Mode. Just sitting there and watching as every piece you cut falls out of place, makes it very amusing despite it having some frame-rate issues here and there.
Of course there’s more than just Blade Mode as a mechanic and animation put into Raiden makes him feel like a total badass. He can deflect bullets, run with electricity trailing behind him, and even pick up objects that are thousands of times heavier than he is.
And you’d think that a title so rooted in action would forgo the long-lived stealth mechanic, right? Wrong. Let’s just say it’s there, but you’ll most likely ignore it since the controls aren’t exactly designed for slow-paced movements. You can sneak up behind enemies and infiltrate areas without being seen, but the game’s main focus like many already know is the advertised lightning bolt action.
Besides the cyborgs and enemies, everything else in this game doesn’t look too impressive in terms of graphics, even with the brand new Fox Engine for cross-platform development. They stated that they wanted to make it the best engine around, and while the physics are extremely impressive with some help from Havok, character models and other components leave something to be desired. The environments are heavily filled with content, with mostly city-based landscapes and a plethora of concrete, but you’ll notice some textures appear off compared to others upon closer look. With full human models, you’ll notice that they appear to have a plastic look, similar to that of the models produced using Unreal Engine 3, with cutscenes making this very noticeable.
Overall, if you’re expecting the very same style and story of Metal Gear titles before it, then you better realign your thinking. This is in no way a traditional Metal Gear title, but as a spin-off from the series, like Metal Gear Acid‘s strange card mechanics, Rising really does an excellent job at holding its own. While many don’t like the idea of a hack and slash in their stealth-heavy series, Revengeance is a promising first release, with more hopefully on the horizon.