Metal Gear Rising is a well crafted, short, and somewhat disappointing entry into the Metal Gear mythos.
Metal Gear Rising finally makes it's way to home consoles after some development hell, but thankfully, it isn't quite the letdown as Aliens: Colonial Marines was. The new game set in the Metal Gear universe has you playing as Raiden, and is a straight up action game. Think of more in the vein of Ninja Gaiden then Devil May Cry. You'll hack n' slash your way through eight different levels, all of which include boss battles to some degree. The final boss battle is extremely epic, not quite the level of Bayonetta, but definitely memorable. Problem is, Metal Gear Rising is also the shortest game I remember playing this console generation.
My initial playthrough of Metal Gear Rising clocked in at just three in a half hours. That includes watching all of the cutscenes, and listening to all of the codec speech. Cutting those out, you are looking at probably about three hours of an actual game. Normally, I'd be pretty burned about something like this, and I'd be a fool to not admit that I still kind of am a bit burned about it. But Metal Gear Rising, like any good hack n' slash game, is all about replayability, and the game is full of it.
With numerous customization options, upgrades, and things to unlock, you're definitely looking at a good four to five playthroughs if you want to see just about everything. The difficulty can definitely ramp up, especially once you remove the auto-assist on blocking, one of the concepts that this game really has issues with. Putting that aside, I enjoyed my time with Metal Gear Rising, but it isn't without problems.
For starters, it's extremely noticeable that Kojima had little to no involvement with the plot of this game. The plot is a mess of politics and power greed, but none of it is even half as interesting as anything the core Metal Gear Solid franchise has offered. I mean, hell, the two main bad guys start this “war” at the beginning simply because they are bored that there is no war. Plot holes also abound in the game. For example, you aquire this dog like cyborg named “Wolf”, but I can only assume it is the same cyborg you fight in the first level of the game. However, there is no cutscene or explanation to that. Then I have to raise the question of the fact that at the beginning of this game, Raiden isn't in the suit he wears in Metal Gear Solid 4, yet this takes place after that game. He then gets messed up, and rebuilt within three weeks, but there again is no cutscene explanation or montage of him getting rebuilt, which was also a bit disappointing.
The cutting aspect of the game works extremely well. Cutting up your enemies to get their electrolytes to rejuvenate yourself is fun, and you'll want to run around and cut just about anything and everything that the environment allows you to. It isn't quite as intuitive as originally shown four years ago, back when the game was an in-house Konami title, but it works for what is presented. There are some really “Platinum Games” moments in this game though, invoking some of the best moments of Bayonetta, but at the end of the day, that game was just a bit better.
There are also about 20 VR missions to unlock and accomplish, adding some more length to the game. Overall, Metal Gear Rising is a decent entry into this year's end of this console generation. It invokes some very addictive gameplay elements, and a decent, if at times questionable story. But I can't help but feel that this game would have been a bit more acceptable if priced more appropriately, say $40?