Quick Look: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

There's lots of arm chopping to do, but first Jeff has to upgrade the firmware on his sword.

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Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review

4
  • PS3
  • X360

The points where the styles of Kojima Productions and PlatinumGames collide make playing Metal Gear Rising a short but enjoyable trip through a post-MGS4 world.

When you see that symbol appear on screen, it's time to cut.

Less talking, more cutting. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is an odd split, taking the concepts and a couple of characters from Kojima Productions' Metal Gear franchise and slamming them into a character action game developed by PlatinumGames, the studio that's increasingly known for being one of the best producers of this sort of hack-and-slash, combo-crazy action. The resulting mix is a game that tempers some of KojiPro's penchant for long-winded cutscenes by flooding it full of enemy cyborgs that are just begging for you to cut them into hundreds of tiny bits while also reigning in some of Platinum's wilder narrative tendencies. In short, it's a quick cut through the world of Metal Gear that mentions just enough about the Patriots and the War Economy to let you feel like you're keeping up on the state of post-MGS4 Metal Gear while also filling it full of ridiculous, entertaining combat sequences and, for whatever reason, a whole lot of cursing.

Set four years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4, Rising is all about Raiden, who had been turned into a cyborg ninja the last time we saw him. These days, Raiden and his robot body are working for Maverick, one of several private military companies that rent out their services to the highest bidder. At the opening of the game, Maverick is overseeing security for an African prime minister that is on the verge of bringing peace to the region. A rival PMC intervenes, Raiden is outmatched, and a personal revenge tale is set into motion. Over seven chapters you'll chase down said rival PMC, deal with Raiden's past as a child soldier, and get yourself caught up in the sort of world-ending, conspiratorial gaga that can only come from a game with Metal Gear written on its box. It's a fun story that practically opens with Raiden dismantling a Metal Gear with his sword, and it just keeps escalating from there, culminating in a final, over-the-top confrontation that manages to meld the sensibilities of both of its development studios almost perfectly.

The combat in Rising isn't the most complex combat that Platinum has produced, but it strikes a rewarding balance between mashing on the attack buttons like a crazy person and using proper skill to to take out your foes more selectively. As you set the difficulty higher and higher, it gets harder and harder to mash your way out of trouble. The fighting starts with a standard two-button, light/heavy system that expands as you unlock additional moves. This gives you access to launchers, leg sweeps, and the ability to parry attacks while you're in the air. Defense is a pretty active system in Rising. Instead of giving you a block button, the only way to deal with incoming attacks is to either get out of the way or parry them with your light attack button and a push in that enemy's direction.

Well-timed parries set enemies up for quick kills via "blade mode," a sort of slow-motion effect that allows you to flick the right analog stick around to cut wildly, slicing dying enemies into hundreds of pieces along the way. Done after a parry or to a weakened enemy, blade mode sets up "zandatsu" kills, which draws a box over a target area on an enemy. Slicing that area gives you access to an enemy's innards, and if you grab said innards before they hit the ground, it'll refill your health and battery reserves. It's... pretty cool. Gruesome, you say? Well, what if I told you that every enemy in the game is a cyborg and that you're technically just cutting apart a lot of robotic limbs and torsos? No? That doesn't make you feel any better? Hmm. Well... it's still pretty cool, even if the process itself gets repetitive over the course of the game. Off of a perfect counter, zandatsu kills are the same basic per-enemy animation every time, so the better you are at playing defense, the more often you'll see the same things over and over again.

As you play, you'll unlock the ability to equip additional weapons, which replace your heavy attack with a pole, magnetic sai, and others. This gives you a bit of extra flexibility. The game also has disposable sub-weapons, like rocket launchers and grenades, but those seem like they're for chumps. You're a ninja-cyborg-guy with an electric sword designed to slice anything and everything into bits. Rockets and grenades just feel cheap and useless by comparison.

Rising looks nice on both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, with a solid frame rate during gameplay that occasionally dips when codec sequences load up. The game's flashiest graphical feature is your ability to slice apart a lot of the objects in the environment, from fences that block your path to police cars that are just there for you to cut into tiny pieces. The slicing looks a little corny, especially when you're cutting humanoid enemies up into 200 pieces (the game helpfully keeps track of how many pieces you're creating), but it all comes together to benefit the game's over-the-top sensibilities. There's a batch of nice voice work throughout Rising, but I found Raiden, the main character himself, to sound worse as the game went on. As he runs himself more and more ragged over the course of the campaign, he starts to sound more and more gravelly, but it doesn't sound "tough." It sounds silly.

This guy? Not your friend.

Metal Gear Rising is a short game. My first time through on normal took an afternoon, and that includes watching all of the cutscenes and dying three or four times along the way. The game keeps a clock that tracks your best times through each area and removes cutscene time. So, if you subtract the time I spent seeing the story and replaying parts where I died, it took me a little over four hours of gameplay to get to the end. If you're the type of person who thrives on getting S-ranks in every single combat chapter and wants to play through on all four difficulty settings and unlock every VR mission, you'll find plenty to do. But if you're just here to see the story, it's a little thin. I didn't find it to be criminally short, though, and artificially lengthening the game would make the issue of seeing the same zandatsu kills over and over again far worse. It's about as long as it needs to be to wring everything out of its mechanics. It's enjoyable, with a story that goes in some really wild directions, but don't come to Rising expecting a game that rivals typical Metal Gear Solid games in length. Even if you go out of your way to listen to as many optional codec conversations as you can (you can call a few key members of your support team at any time for a check-in), it might not hold your attention for very long.

Even with that in mind, I found Metal Gear Rising to be a thrilling and engaging experience. The swordplay is fun, and it's really fascinating to see the different spots where either Kojima's or Platinum's signature styles shine through. It also has a wild final confrontation that shows elements of both, doling out some heavy-handed political preaching while also putting a man-sized ninja cyborg up against... well, something way crazier (and dirty-mouthed) than a man-sized ninja cyborg. If you're a value-minded individual that doesn't tend to replay games, Metal Gear Rising will only make you angry. But if seeing the state of the post-MGS4 world while slicing your way through everything that gets in your way sounds like a good time, well, that's because it is.

Jeff Gerstmann on Google+
211 Comments
Posted by Shaanyboi

I read "Raiden and his robot body" as "Raiden and his robot buddy". I am now sad there is no robot buddy.

*cough* I totally think there is *coughcough*

Edited by Humanity

I have to laugh at DmC getting a perfect 5 and this getting a 4.

I know, MGR sounds more like a 3 or 3.5 at best.

Posted by Enigma777

Demo was awesome. Cant wait till I get my hands on it tomorrow!

Edited by ch3burashka

@kishinfoulux said:

I really, REALLY hate how the video player is on the right and not centered. Who thought that was a good idea?

Was also hoping for a slightly longer Quick Look as well, but this game doesn't seem to be that long so I guess that's fair.

I know, right? My OCD is kicking into high gear. Also, my autism.

In case it wasn't clear, I was mocking you.

Posted by Enigma777

As far as the 4 hour length, it seems a bit disingenuous, since that's not counting cutscenes or codecs, which usually consists of at least 50% of my playtime in MGS games. Not trying to say that the game isn't short, but it's will probably be closer to 6-8 hours mark in total rather than the 4.

Posted by dropabombonit

Seems pretty cool. I will pick it up when I get back home next month after I finish my work experience in Hungary, should be down in price by then too

Edited by Waffley

Kind of funny how people somehow continue to derive that the game is 4 hours long when the completion time is your combined personal bests, not counting cut-scenes which make up at least 2+ hours of the game.

While that does leave the question of whether it's actually a $60 value, people need to consider the fact that Vanquish was also a 7-8 hour game the first time through and 4-5 on future playthroughs. Platinum games are not particularly known for their length (and by extent, most Metal Gear games are rather short as well), so people should have seen this coming from a mile away

Posted by CptBedlam

I have to laugh at DmC getting a perfect 5 and this getting a 4.

We all knew this would happen. The guys just don't know enough about this type of game and the flashy but shallow game would of course score higher than the game that offers depth and challenge. ;)

Edited by civid

While I'm glad to see this game isn't a total disaster, I don't think I'll be picking it up as I expected to. Especially after reading about its length. Perhaps the Bombcast can sway me the other way, but it looks like I'll be waiting for the price to go down before trying this. And honestly, the demo didn't really impress me. Oh well, there are plenty of promising titles coming in March!

I don't know if this sways from region to region, but Platinum games usually take a dive in price pretty quickly, so yeah, I would definetly wait. It looks awesome though, I really want to see another Vanquish (or as I like to call it: Starship Troopers The VideoGame) style game, but I'm glad to see this turned out well

Posted by Porkellain

"Wow a 4 star, I might be intersted in the game, let's read the review!"

My first time through on normal took an afternoon, and that includes watching all of the cutscenes and dying three or four times along the way.

Nope.

Edited by MachoFantastico

I'm all for this, enjoyed the demo a great deal.

Posted by kkotd

@eldredpe: Don't take Vanquish as a great example... They've learned quite a few lessons.

Posted by Humanoid

That short? No thanks.

Posted by Ravelle

I miss the cartoon bombcrew ratings already. :(

Online
Edited by mnzy

@cptbedlam said:

@randombattle said:

I have to laugh at DmC getting a perfect 5 and this getting a 4.

We all knew this would happen. The guys just don't know enough about this type of game and the flashy but shallow game would of course score higher than the game that offers depth and challenge. ;)

Big fan of Ninja Gaiden and Bayonetta here: DmC is fucking great, played it three times, totally deserves 5 stars.

I have to laugh at people who can't look past a name on a box and assume MGR deserves 5 by default. Ridiculous.

Edited by Sanj

Short game? That's actually perfect for me right now.

Edited by CollegeGuyMike

I'm glad this turned out ok. :D

Posted by CptBedlam

@mnzy said:

@cptbedlam said:

@randombattle said:

I have to laugh at DmC getting a perfect 5 and this getting a 4.

We all knew this would happen. The guys just don't know enough about this type of game and the flashy but shallow game would of course score higher than the game that offers depth and challenge. ;)

Big fan of Ninja Gaiden and Bayonetta here: DmC is fucking great, played it three times, totally deserves 5 stars.

I have to laugh at people who can't look past a name on a box and assume MGR deserves 5 by default. Ridiculous.

Did you read what I wrote? "Depth and challenge" .... I was talking about gameplay. Couldn't care less what license this game has. It doesn't even look that much like MGS.

Posted by Sorry_Bulbasaur

I am still glad i pre-ordered the game. I wasn't expecting it to be as good as Bayonetta or DmC in terms of gameplay but was happy enough with what i saw in the demo to go ahead and get it. The fact that it is short (4 hours) and that there are a few problems that have been mentioned in various reviews don't put me off. In fact 4 hours probably gives me a chance to actually finish a game for a change and if thats not enough i could go back and play it again on a higher difficulty.

Edited by Will_M

With more Metal Gear titles in development, I can't pass up the opportunity to play some of this spinoff action.

Posted by Winternet

@mnzy said:

@cptbedlam said:

@randombattle said:

I have to laugh at DmC getting a perfect 5 and this getting a 4.

We all knew this would happen. The guys just don't know enough about this type of game and the flashy but shallow game would of course score higher than the game that offers depth and challenge. ;)

Big fan of Ninja Gaiden and Bayonetta here: DmC is fucking great, played it three times, totally deserves 5 stars.

I have to laugh at people who can't look past a name on a box and assume MGR deserves 5 by default. Ridiculous.

Did you read what I wrote? "Depth and challenge" .... I was talking about gameplay. Couldn't care less what license this game has. It doesn't even look that much like MGS.

Holy jesus, you guys. Still whining and bitching? Danm, son!

Posted by GetEveryone

@randombattle said:

I have to laugh at DmC getting a perfect 5 and this getting a 4.

We all knew this would happen. The guys just don't know enough about this type of game and the flashy but shallow game would of course score higher than the game that offers depth and challenge. ;)

Knew what would happen? That they would have a different opinion and affix one less totally irrelevant star than you would have liked?

Check this out:

Aside from the decent juggling/string system, there are parries and cancels, too (though, less than I'd like). It most definitely has depth. The system may be changed from previous iterations, but you're confusing accessible with shallow.

This isn't high-school where you need to fight one for the other's affection. We've just seen two awesome action games released within a couple weeks of each other, and you're pissing all over DmC for no reason.

Have you played through MGR?

Posted by Sveppi

Definitely picking this up when I have time and the price has dropped a bit.

Edited by CptBedlam

@geteveryone said:

Knew what would happen? That they would have a different opinion and affix one less totally irrelevant star than you would have liked?

No, it was clear they would like both games (especially after Jeff's tumblr comments on MGR) but me and others called it that they would prefer DMC due to it's flashier style and more approachable gameplay.

Holy jesus, you guys. Still whining and bitching? Danm, son!

Erm, no? I just said I couldn't care less that it's supposed to be a MGS game (I'm fine with that though). I'm playing this game because of the incredibly fun gameplay. So satisfying!

Posted by L44

Unlockable Sunbrero!

Posted by Sooty

@cptbedlam said:

@randombattle said:

I have to laugh at DmC getting a perfect 5 and this getting a 4.

We all knew this would happen. The guys just don't know enough about this type of game and the flashy but shallow game would of course score higher than the game that offers depth and challenge. ;)

The system may be changed from previous iterations

Gotten worse*

Posted by ObsideonDarman

Yep. This review and Quick Look has totally sold me on this game. I'm gonna wait for a price drop though because I honestly can't justify £40 for a 4 hour game.

Posted by KittyVonDoom

Yep. This review and Quick Look has totally sold me on this game. I'm gonna wait for a price drop though because I honestly can't justify £40 for a 4 hour game.

What if those 4 hours were the better than the best 4 hours of a 20 hour game?

Posted by NekuSakuraba

Glad that this turned out well, so pissed off that there isn't a PC version though!

Posted by PHenry1991

So Glad this game this game turned out good. So glad. Like, you have no idea.

Posted by AssInAss

@geteveryone said:

Knew what would happen? That they would have a different opinion and affix one less totally irrelevant star than you would have liked?

No, it was clear they would like both games (especially after Jeff's tumblr comments on MGR) but me and others called it that they would prefer DMC due to it's flashier style and more approachable gameplay.

@winternet said:

Holy jesus, you guys. Still whining and bitching? Danm, son!

Erm, no? I just said I couldn't care less that it's supposed to be a MGS game (I'm fine with that though). I'm playing this game because of the incredibly fun gameplay. So satisfying!

I don't think it's a stretch to say Rising doesn't have as much to do in the combat compared to DmC. They're both approachable and flashy. Jeff says in the QL (21:18) that Rising is "potentially shallow" compared to previous Platinum games.

Posted by Gordo789

Glad to see this turned out alright. Was going to buy it anyway, but relieved to see it's not awful.

Edited by CptBedlam

@assinass said:

I don't think it's a stretch to say Rising doesn't have as much to do in the combat compared to DmC. They're both approachable and flashy. Jeff says in the QL (21:18) that Rising is "potentially shallow" compared to previous Platinum games.

I somehow doubt that Jeff discovered the whole depth of the combat system. Did he, for example, know that an exactly-timed parry will not propel the enemy back as a normal parry does, instead leaving him in front of you open to counter-attacks etc.? Stuff like that, which often becomes more important on higher difficulties. That's what these games are about.

Posted by Bourbon_Warrior

4 FUCKING HOURS!?!

Posted by beard_of_zeus

Sounds like a lot of fun! Probably wait for it to get a little cheaper though, I'm still sinking every free hour into Fire Emblem anyways ;)

@nottle said:

Really glad to hear that Jeff liked it. I was the type of guy that played through Vanquish and Bayonetta several times, so the games length probably won't bother me as long as it's consistently good.

Yup, I fall on that side of the fence as well. Jeff's point about it being just long enough to wring all the fun out of its mechanics means I probably wouldn't want it to be any longer of an experience anyways; I'll take a streamlined 4 hours over 10-12 hours of ups and downs any day. Just my personal preference, I suppose, I can see how others might prefer the opposite, just depends on your game playing habits.

Posted by pornstorestiffi

Pass!

Edited by Seppli

After spending 1000 hours on Guild Wars 2, and currently playing Ni No Kuni, which is another 50-100 hours long - the 5 hours campaign of Metal Gear Rising sounds refreshing. Just what the doctor ordered.

That's what stands out the most ot me about the game anyways. It seems incredibly fresh. Something I have never seen or played before. I'm totally down with that, and it will likely make the cut, later this month - after I'm done with Ni No Kuni.

Posted by KittyVonDoom

I have to laugh at DmC getting a perfect 5 and this getting a 4.

It says more about who's reviewing them:

If Brad likes a game, he'll "really like it a lot" and sensationalise the heck out of it for the purpose of his agenda.

If Jeff likes a game, he'll give it 5 stars and keep playing it after the review.

4 stars seems to be Jeff's secret "eh, this game is ok, but by the end of the year I'll either resent it or have forgotten about it". I think if Brad got this game and not DMC, it would be 5 stars ;)

Posted by GunstarRed

The review/QL have taught me something today... Not to preemptively sneer at one of Jeff's reviews where I fully expect him to hate the game. I haven't been this excited about the wait for a game in a very long time, I cannot wait til wednesday/thursday when the game arrives in the mail!

Edited by Sanious
@assinass said:

I don't think it's a stretch to say Rising doesn't have as much to do in the combat compared to DmC. They're both approachable and flashy. Jeff says in the QL (21:18) that Rising is "potentially shallow" compared to previous Platinum games.

The problem here is that Jeff is reviewing the game and he is only going to be playing the game for a brief amount of time. You're not going to discover a lot within the amount of time he plays it because he is most likely only playing it to review it. Of course this does not mean he is completely wrong in what he is saying, but finding out whether the combat is really depth or not is something that takes time and not playing through the game once.

Edited by Blimble

@kittyvondoom: He kinda said he is going to do another run through on hard in the QL. I think it is more this just generally isn't his type of game and some of the style (as in platinum-ness) isn't him as well

Edited by EarthBowl

Fantastic review, It's great knowing that this game is actually fun and lives up to the platinum standard of game design. I can't wait to pick it up!

Edited by GetEveryone

@sanious: I pointed this out earlier, but anyway...

People have already discovered some pretty fundamental cancels, which seem like they're definitely going form the backbone of how you play this thing.

Also, MGR is less DmC than it is something like Ninja Gaiden. The action is more grounded, but there are still a ton of tools to play around with. Hopefully we see more tech being discovered now that the game is officially out.

Edited by newmania

#cutforraiden

Posted by Lurkero

This game looks fun and I want to play it, but I cannot justify paying full price for that amount of time with a game. It's very unlikely that I will buy MGR before it is at least half off.

Edit: I obviously wrote this before I was properly awake. I know Jeff doesn't mention a lack of dodge...

Just to confirm, the game does have a dodge mechanic.

Pressing jump + light attack offers a 4-directional dodge (depending on which direction the stick is being held).

It can be used to cancel out of virtually any attack, and (for those interested in the depths of the system) the front dodge can be cancelled into blade mode, making for some potentially crazy strings.

Here's a video someone uploaded detailing all this:

Can't wait for the actual release and to see what else people come up with. The system has a lot more flexibility than Jeff gives it credit for (though, I understand in a work environment there probably isn't time to play around with the intricacies of the system).

The parry button also doubles as block. If you press it early Raiden will block the attack and repel the enemy some distance from you. It's fairly reliable, too; useful for those who may struggle to actually get a parry out.

Thanks, that's one thing I was waiting on someone to confirm. I saw something that looked like a dodge in trailers, but it wasn't in the demo.

Posted by Quarters

Awesome to hear! Excited to play it later today. Been looking forward to this one for a while.

Posted by natedawg_kz

So excited to play this. My first Metal Gear as well, kind of gutted that is only 4-5 hours long though.

Posted by Blimble

So excited to play this. My first Metal Gear as well, kind of gutted that is only 4-5 hours long though.

You probably should play all the others first just so you understand what is going on. Most of the stuff you need to know is from 4 but just playing that would probably leave you more confused. You could read it on the wiki as well but that isn't the same as it is to play the story

Posted by kennybaese

Ah, I quite like this new mobile site.

Also, I'm glad this game is good. I'll have to pick it and DmC up when I feel like some stylish action.