A Rough But Fun Cut
Metal Gear Rising was announced to an eager and shocked crowd at E3 2009. Since then it briefly appeared at industry events with little to no information. Then it was announced that Platinum games the progenitors of such greats as Bayonetta and Vanquish took over the helm of the project. Among the history of games in development limbo that actually see the light of day the end results usually end up not being so rosy. Thankfully Platinum Games resurrection MGR into something that is well worth playing even if it is rough around the edges.
You play as Raiden previously the star of Metal Gear Solid 2 who now is a cyborg wielding an absolutely deadly sword. The game takes place around 5 years or so after we last saw Raiden in Metal Gear Solid 4. Raiden is now working with a PMSC (Private Military Security Contractor) doing security detail for the prime minister of Abkhazia. Metal Gear Solid games traditionally are very heavy with cinematic cut-scenes that are extremely long in length Good news here is while the game opens with a cinematic scene the majority of your time is spent cutting things into pieces. It wastes very little time setting the scene up before throwing you headlong into an absolutely ridiculous opening boss fight. Now I've got to admit I was very critical of the combat going into this.
In most combat action games in the vein of this such as DmC:Devil May Cry or Ninja Gaiden Black you either have a block or dodge button or in some cases both. While there technically is a dodge the keystone of the combat is centered around a parry mechanic. Most enemies give off a distinct tell when they are going to attack usually with a red flash to indicate parry-able attacks and yellow flash to indicate unblock-able attacks. The system is easy enough to understand. You push the light attack button and the left stick in the direction of the attack and after a little practice its easy to pick up on. The combat just feels very distinctly different however and for many people grasping and getting used to this could be an early hurdle to really clicking with the game.
Different however, is a good thing in this case. It makes a very distinct impression on you for better or worse. There is a depth to the combat but the depth comes more from knowing how to properly engage enemies rather than memorizing specific combos. And make no mistake that doesn't mean this game is a pushover. The game has five settings ranging from Easy to Revengence and the game scales very well. On easy new players who just want to experience the world and characters can easily mash their way through. Revengence will absolutely push even the most hardened players to the brink. Getting hit once in most cases will be enough in most cases to send Raiden to cyborg heaven. One of my major gripes about the combat is the camera. Now this isn't a deal breaker but it does get heavily annoying in specific segments of the game. Often the game will want you looking at a specific thing making trying to adjust the camera where you actually want it often a chore. One of the highlights of the game is without a doubt the bosses. In true Metal Gear fashion they are absurd and all very distinct in personality.
The sad part of all of this is the game is short like very short. After a specific spot in the game the tempo of the game starts to feel extremely rushed taking you to the climax and ending of the game way quicker than I ever expected it too. There are even "missions" that are simply just boss fights. When you include that two of the eight missions are centered around boss fights the actual amount of stages starts to feel very sparse. Which again is a shame because the levels are pretty varied taking you around Abkhazia to Mexico to even mile high Denver,Colorado. I don't think the blame can be shouldered specifically on Platinum games for this one they absolutely did the best with what they had but the push to get this project out the door most likely left a lot of potential amazing levels and moments on the cutting room floor. The silver lining to all of this is the game is extremely repayable being so short.
There are no leader-boards to speak of but the game does feature a mission ranking system for those who are in to wanting to get the most out of their $60 purchase. On top of that there are a flurry of collectibles from finding enemies who have specific left arms encrypted with data from The Patriots to absolutely one of the most absurd collectibles ever finding men hiding in cardboard boxes. There are also 20 VR missions to undertake with PS3 owners getting 30 more missions as DLC for free in the future. No matter if your a character action game fan looking to get another fix after DmC or just a Metal Gear fan looking to see the state of the world post MGS 4 this is a game well worth checking out.