Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a violent, ridiculously over-the-top and fast-paced hack and slash action game that delivers everything it intends to with pizzazz and style.
Spin-offs are usually about exploring side-characters and doing something completely bonkers with them. That’s definitely the case with Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, an action game with hack and slash elements that focuses on Raiden, one of the most memorable characters of Metal Gear Solid. Forget pretty much everything you know about that series and its stealth action gameplay, this time around, you’ll do something fast-paced and ridiculous and you’re going to love it.
Set four years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Revengeance puts you in the shoes of cyborg Raiden as he confronts a private military organization called Desperado Enforcement. Raiden is in charge of training the army of a third-world country when they are attacked by a mysterious cyborg. The half-robot, half-human kidnaps and murders the prime minister, but his identity and reasons aren’t revealed right off the bat, so you need to hack and slash your way through enemy infested levels to figure it out. Nevertheless, the story is secondary here and what you should know as soon as the game starts is that you’re going to cut enemies and you’re going to do it in style.
At its core, this is a hack and slash action game where you have two types of attacks (light and hard,) a parrying ability and a cutting mechanic that allows you to cut enemies to a bloody pulp or, in most cases, to a pile of rust and metal. From time to time, (usually to finish off a fight) there are some button prompts in the form of quick time events. Sounds simple? Well, for the most part, it is and that’s what makes Revengeance so gripping and eminently satisfying to play: what you’re doing only involves a few button presses, but it always unfolds in the most bombastic and spectacular ways possible.
So what’s the big deal? After all, we’ve all played hack and slash games before and they start fine, but they eventually become unbearably repetitive. That’s certainly not the case with this game, thanks in part to a new mechanic that allows you to slow down time and perform dozens of horizontal and vertical slashes on specific sections of the enemies’ bodies. This looks stunning in motion since you see metal distort and come apart in real-time. As simple as its sounds, this is so refreshing that you won’t get bored even after dozens of times of using it or in my case, abusing it.
By now, you’ve probably noticed that the words ridiculous, bonkers and stupid came up at different parts of this article, what makes the game that way? Like other games in the Metal Gear series, Revengeance relies on anime cliches, non-sequiturs and nonsensical moments. For instance, Raiden goes to Mexico to explore the sewers and in order to look inconspicuous (it’s worth mentioning that Raiden is a cyborg who has a robot dog as a pet,) he wears a poncho and a sombrero. Yep, that’s his idea of blending in. It only gets sillier and sillier as you keep playing, but this is definitely part of its charm.
Despite its highs, some flaws overshadow an otherwise fantastic experience. Understanding how parrying works and being able to pull it off consistently is paramount if you want to progress. Unfortunately, the game explains this poorly in a tutorial that’s so trivial that you can skip it. Eventually, though, you’ll reach a point where using parrying is so integral to the experience that if you got to that part and you don’t know how to use it, you’ll die again and again. So I had to go online and reach how to do it properly which was frustrating, time-consuming and woefully inconvenient.
But that’s not all. In small places, the camera struggles to frame the action which usually results in unexpected (not to mention infuriating) deaths. Also, fans of the Metal Gear Solid series in need of a convoluted storyline that makes references to obscure moments in history or a dizzying number of characters from other games won’t be satisfied with Revengeance, since the story is much more linear, straightforward and even lighthearted this time around.
Finishing the game should take you around eight hours but once you finish the story mode, you have access to some VR missions. If you’ve played any of the Metal Gear Solid games, you know what to expect from these bite-sized side-quests. Personally, I’ve never been a fan of them since they require stealth, patience and precise timing, so naturally, VR missions are not for everyone.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance takes some of the best parts of Metal Gear Solid and uses them in a ridiculously over-the-top action game. The result is a title that’s fast-paced, visually impressive, ridiculous and always entertaining. It isn’t without some missteps, but no fan of Metal Gear Solid, Platinum Games or games that don’t take themselves too seriously should miss.