Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review

Written by Rick Lane

January 15, 2014 | 10:11

Tags: #metal-gear-solid

Companies: #konami #platinum-games

It's also worth noting that it isn't just fellow cyborgs you cut into bite-sized chunks. Almost anything you encounter be subjected to a bit of Zandatsu; mechs, robot dogs, helicopters, and even bosses. Revengeance excels at keeping the experience fresh, constantly throwing new enemies and scenarios at you. It doesn't wait around to get interesting either. The prologue mission sees Raiden battling a Metal Gear Ray; a huge, bird-like mech he originally encountered in Metal Gear Solid 2. Platinum Games have earned a reputation for crafting excellent action-sequences that involve the player rather than forcing them to watch, and that hallmark runs through the game like a vein of the same precious metal the studio takes its name after.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review

Even the boss fights are excellent as far as boss-fights go: varied, inventive and testing your skills to their limits. The only encounter which frustrates for reasons beyond being difficult is the first one, as it involves waves of squat-three legged creatures which swarm you, interrupting your attacks but not doing much else. On the "Morrowind Cliff-Racer" scale of nuisance enemy they easily rate an 8, and ought to be purged from the game's code like the norovirus.

Unfortunately, they're not the only feature of Revengeance which irritates. While Revengeance is generally a strong port, running well and with a decent if not outstanding number of graphical customisation options, one issue that should have been rectified in the port and hasn't been is the rather undependable camera. At times it seems to be fighting against you as much as anything else in the game. It particularly struggles in some of the smaller environments, spinning so that your opponents are occluded from view, and consequently they manage to sneak in attacks that break your flow, or disengage your target lock which you then must reapply. It's an annoying oversight in a combat system that is otherwise brilliantly crafted.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review

Speaking of the environments, they're a bit drab compared to those seen in Platinum's previous game, the madcap Bayonetta. Admittedly, the Metal Gear series is usually set in locales that don't offer much opportunity for artistic expression, office complexes, military bases and so forth. But Revengeance's offices are particularly sparse, and its cityscapes particularly grey and uninviting. In a game whose action sequences offer so much imagination in the concept and flair in their execution, the disparity between those and the settings they take place in is quite striking.

But Revengeance's biggest problem stems from the "Metal Gear" side of its DNA. Konami's approach to writing has always been to throw the editor from the rooftop before penning a single word, and in this Revengeance is no different. It's not quite the forty-minute cut-scene levels of absurdity witnessed in Metal Gear Solid 4, but the streams of dialogue and exposition are still exhaustive by most games' standards. To be fair, they tend to be interesting streams of dialogue, as in the aforementioned discussions of its own violent nature. Still, brevity is the soul of wit and all that, and a little bit of script-trimming would go a long way.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review

To be honest though, the length of the exchanges isn't so much the issue as the regularity with which they interrupt the game. Almost every action sequence is followed by Raiden receiving a call on his Codec, in which he's forced to walk slowly down a corridor while a character takes five minutes to explain how urgent the current situation is, or why he's wearing green trousers rather than blue ones today. These constant disruptions to the game's flow are detrimental to the overall experience, especially considering that Revengeance is first and foremost an action game, where pacing is crucial.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review

Strangely, for a game that's so verbose, its overall length is well judged, having the good grace to end while it's still interesting. Yet while the main campaign is relatively brief, there are around thirty additional VR missions and two DLC campaigns included for anyone who hasn't quite had their fill. It's a substantial package, well worth the £20 Konami are charging for the PC version.

Revengeance might talk itself out of classic territory, but it remains one of the most entertaining and mechanically satisfying action games you'll find on the PC. There isn't anything else quite like it on the platform, and for PC gamers it's a great introduction to Platinum's work. Make them feel welcome, because they might decide to stay.
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