Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance (PC) Review
Posted by Marc Morrison on 01.16.2014
411mania’s Marc Morrison looks at the PC port of this Platinum-driven action game. See how many Metal Gear’s he cuts in half inside!
Title: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Developer: Platinum Games
Rated: M for Mature
The Metal Gear series finally returns to the PC market after a fairly long hiatus (Metal Gear Solid 2 hitting PC’s in 2003. Metal Gear Rising, the Platinum-developed game from a year, is well made for what it is, but is extremely short, even against Platinum standards. That’s arguably the biggest knock against the game, but also a bit of an asset as well. Metal Gear Rising (I’m ignoring the stupid subtitle) is a good game, but has one or two issues that hold it back from being an amazing one.
In the game you play as Raiden (introduced in MGS2), where it is a few years after the events of MGS4. During MGS 4, Raiden was fairly cyborg-modified in MGS 4 and he is like that in this game as well. PMC (Private Military Companies) are the law of the land, and Raiden works for one doing a job. He gets critically injured in the opening mission and is upgraded to a new cyborg form. From here, he seeks revenge (some might say “revengeance”….sigh) on those responsible, and figuring out what is going on.
MGR is a third person action game that involves you roaming around various levels, cutting everything apart with your sword, or using your various special weapons/sub weapons on enemies, as you make your way deeper and deeper into the game. You’ll occasionally find hidden bonuses (VR missions, items, men in boxes), but for the most part, the game is a linear 4 to 6 hour adventure as you cut your way across the levels.
The game’s action is handled by three systems, primarily. The first is just the usual running around cutting guys with the X button, occasionally using “Ninja Run” to make quicker slashes, and occasionally sneaking behind enemies and one-hit killing them with a button press. The second part is parrying attacks, which is critical to actually figuring this game out. You’ll see an enemy attack you, whose sword will flash red for a second. You need to press the analog stick in that direction and press the X button (on a 360 controller), and this will parry the attack, keeping you safe, and stunning the attacker for a second. This also gives you chance to perform the “Zandatsu” move.
The last part of this game is the Blade Mode, and using the Zandatsu move against your enemies. You use Blade Mode by holding the left trigger. This plants Raiden’s feet to the ground (left stick is used for moving the blade in a vertical motion), while you use the buttons to do a horizontal and vertical slash, or else use the right stick to do a free-aim slice of the sword, for diagonals and such. The Zandatsu is triggered when you parry an attack. You can activate Blade Mode and the game slows down massively, with a red hit-box on the enemy. If you slash in the hit-box, you’ll be prompted to press the B button. This will make Raiden cut out the electro-spine of the enemy, crush it, and regain health and fuel (for the blade mode) back. You do have recovery items, but the Zandatsu is the primary way you recover health/fuel in the game. You can also use it with certain bosses to cut away their defenses and trigger a quick time event to knock off a large amount of health.
As said above though, the biggest criticism with the game is the length. I put in about 6 hours total (my game time was like 4:45), through the story, dying in a few spots, or not saving in others. The game is slightly paradoxical about its length though. The game mechanics wouldn’t support a 10 or 15 hour game in the slightest, so having it be 4-7 hours is probably a good choice. However once you’re done playing it, there is a feeling of “Huh….that’s it?” that can pop up. Even by the end of the main story, I was already kind of done with the gameplay, and how slightly repetitive it got. It’s not bad in the slightest, but it is a little shallow, and arduous. Some of the boss fights, especially the one against “Sundowner” are very time consuming and can feel cheap as you die over and over on him.
One other thing I’ll mention about the core game, it does kind of a not-good job of introducing gameplay mechanics to the player. After you get the cyborg upgrade, the “Doktor” tells you “Oh, I collect left arms, so that’s something you can do”, but the game doesn’t explain how to actually do this. I was about three hours already in the game before it dawned on me on how to do this (enter Blade Mode of the special enemy, see his glowing green arm, cut it off there, it’ll drop, etc.), and for it to work well. The game has a V. R. Mission mode set up that includes training missions, but certain game systems like the arm thing or how to use the special weapons efficiently are just glossed over or ignored entirely.
Graphically, the game looks great to me, with nice textures, and some good special effects. Cutting apart guys in Blade Mode is a particular treat, especially when they fall apart into 40 or so different pieces. There are some uber-nerds who are complaining about the games maxed out resolution of only 1920 by 1080, but those people are delusional. The game is silky smooth, with no slowdown at all, and all of the different tricks they do work well for the game. Considering how gnarly some other recent PC port jobs have been, Deadly Premonition to name one, I’m very impressed with the transition this game has made.
The audio is a slight mixed bag, but not a bad one. The sound effects are fine, and fit into the usual Metal Gear landscape well. The music is actually really good, particularly some of the vocal tracks (track down “Rules of Nature” on Youtube to get an idea). The music is a good mix of usual instrumental affairs mixed with a 90’s industrial song, which works surprisingly well. The voice acting is also good, except for one bit of it. Raiden’s voice is fine except when he goes into the “Jack the Ripper” persona. The voice actor affects a Christian Bale-esque Batman voice, with it being very gravely. The first time this happened I laughed out loud over it. He tones it down a tad later on, but it is funny whenever he does this.
Replayability is always going to be the problem area of this game, but to this package’s credit, they do try and pad it out a little. There are dozens of V. R. missions to find in the game and complete. A lot of them are variations on what you’re doing in the main game, but can still be enjoyable. There are the left arms to collect, the men in boxes to find (not kidding), new difficulty modes, weapons to power up from the BP (Battle Point) system which can make you stronger, new moves, new costumes, and so on. This game includes two bits of the console DLC, letting you play as Blade Wolf (a robot dog), and Jetstream Sam (a reoccurring villain) in their own short stories. Blade Wolf largely plays like Raiden, only with slightly different attacks, but Sam is a bit different. He doesn’t have some of the cyborg enhancements of Raiden, so he has no AR vision mode, and he can’t do stealth kills. He can double jump and do a taunt move which causes enemies to go into a rage mode. This makes their attacks stronger but also makes them not defend as much and causes them to take more damage. It’s slightly subtle gameplay tweaks but it does let Sam feel different in combat.
Side note: There is kind of a LOT of the usual Metal Gear series weirdness in this game. Characters have stupid names, there is some overt sexualization with a character, the story that goes completely crazy, in other words, the usual Kojima ticks are in full force in this game. Some of the events in the game are so dumb as to possibly be a subtle dig as the Metal Gear/Kojima fandom that many people have going on. Consider this a fair warning once you play through the story.
The action is exciting and blade mode is a neat trick
No slowdown in the graphics and the game keeps up well
Unlockables, DLC and V. R. Missions can keep you occupied
The main story is incredibly short and very silly
Some game concepts aren’t explained well, or at all
Raiden’s “Jack the Ripper” voice is comical
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a very good action game that is slightly marred by a few things. Still, the attractive price tag, currently $30, does make up for a lot of the game’s shortcomings. It’s a fun game that can be played in about a day, if you really put your mind to it, but there is enough content in the overall package to keep you busy for a week or two. It’s nice to see the Metal Gear franchise back on the PC, now if only they can get to work on porting MGS 4 and Vanquish over, I’d be very happy indeed.
Resolution idiots aside, this game is beautiful to look at, and superb to witness in motion. No slowdown at all, despite all the action and insanity that is going on screen.
Blade Mode is fun but the game doesn’t outstay it’s welcome. It’s a short but concentrated experience full of cutting everything apart in the game.
There is some fantastic and interesting music throughout this game. Good voice acting all around, save for Jack the Ripper.
Left Arms, Men in Boxes, new difficulties, V. R. Missions, and DLC all can extend the life of this game out. A lot depends on how good you are, though.
Despite some frustrating parts of the game, there is a lot of fun to be found in the game, and cutting apart all of enemies is always satisfying. Always.