Slice and Dice (and Slice and Dice and Slice and Dice and…)

A review of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

If the “Rules of Nature” applied in real life as they did in this game, I think it’d look a lot like a Michael Bay movie. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (hereby shortened to Revengeance) was a game that had me on the edge of my seat for the entire time I played it, and I certainly deem it worthy of making up its own word for the title. This title is a real blast to play (sometimes literally), and makes up for its shortcomings with solid gameplay.

To begin I’d like to clarify that Revengeance is NOT a traditional Metal Gear Solid game (hence “Solid” is removed from the title entirely). Where Metal Gear Solid was a stealth-action game, Revengeance is a character action game with a heavy emphasis on its combat. A character action game is a genre derived from a traditional hack-and-slash or beat-em-up game, where fighting mechanics are more defined. The focus is shifted less from defeating hordes of enemies and more towards maintaining combos and parrying or dodging attacks (overall the idea is to make your character look like a total badass). Revengeance does this very well, and this shouldn’t come as a surprise seeing as it was produced by the developer Platinum Games, who are famous for their character action games.

In Revengeance you play as Raiden, a heavily modified cyborg-ninja with a high frequency blade that can cut through pretty much anything (don’t ask how he does this. He just does). Set in a future some time after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4, a private security job goes horribly wrong as cyborg mercenaries and giant robots attack the city and the president of an unnamed African country you were tasked to protect is assassinated. Thus begins Raiden’s quest for revenge and vengeance, as one of the mercenaries cut off his arm (he also kills the president but that sort of takes a back seat in the story). You may find that the story is rather cheesy, but there’s just enough cheese there to make it enjoyable. Honestly the story is just about as over-the-top as the gameplay itself.

The gameplay of Revengeance is really where this game shines, and it shines brightly. For most of the game you use a single weapon, the High Frequency Blade, but it never gets boring to use. For a single weapon there are so many different attacks you can use, and there are even more to unlock as the game progresses. Eventually you’ll be able to couple the blade with a variety of other side weapons, which further increases the variety of your attacks. Unlike most character action games in which dodging attacks is as important as landing combos, Revengeance emphasizes parrying and blocking attacks. Parrying attacks repeatedly will negate damage to Raiden and also has a chance to stagger your enemies, allowing you to get in some free hits.

But the best part of the combat is the ability to use “Blade Mode”, known as Zandatsu (斬奪, or literally “cut and take”) in the game. In Blade Mode time slows down around you and you can control the exact angle and direction of each and every cut, which is important in hitting critical weak spots on enemies. It is also used as a finisher in many cases, recharging Raiden’s energy and health in the process. As if this technique didn’t sound crazy enough, most enemies in the game can be cut up into literally hundreds of tiny little pieces, and just hacking away at your enemies after a hectic battle is just so satisfying (in a strangely crazy, Jack-The-Ripper kind of way). After each battle you are graded on your combat score, which is determined by several factors including (but not limited to) time, maximum combo, damage sustained, and style. Using Blade Mode can be essential in achieving a good combo score.

Finally from a technical standpoint Platinum Games have managed to create a game that looks fantastic and runs very well on consoles. The game plays at 60 fps (frames-per-second) while most console games average at 30 fps, so animations look smooth. Of course, the frame rate does drop occasionally, especially when there are a lot of objects and pieces on the screen, but does a solid job otherwise. The camera and viewpoint during gameplay is set at just the right distance to be able to see what is happening around you during combat, while also requiring you to have heightened awareness of your surroundings. As of writing this review a version of this game has already been released for PC on Steam, but here at Lyons we have the PS3 version for you to enjoy. If you’re ever in the games room and are looking for a fast-paced action game, I definitely recommend you give this one a try.

~ Alex, student employee

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