By Mento 0 Comments
I'm Raiden high on cyberpunk ninja espionage hijinks this week, as we put on our titanium high heels and pull out our vibrator sword for another surprisingly kinky episode of Mento Gear Rising. If you're just joining us, this is part two of my playthrough of PlatinumGames's 2013 hit Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, delivered to you in the format of my many prior blind-run Metal Gear Solid journals from the past few years. The reason why I frame these playthroughs this way is because I figure these games are so well known and beloved that a traditional review years post-release would be fruitless, so instead I'm giving people what they want - those hot incredulous reactions to this franchise's frequent flights of fancy (i.e. ridiculous bullshit) - and packaging them together in a conveniently bite-sized format.
Naturally, you'll need to have completed this game yourself to get the most of out these very spoilerish reactions, but I'm sure everyone who wanted to play this has done so by now (or watched Drew and Dan have at it in their Metal Gear Scanlon video feature). If you haven't yet though, consider this your warning.
Be sure to catch up with Part One here if you haven't seen it before, or need a refresher. Part One also contains links to all the other times I've taken on a Metal Gear game just in case you wanted to binge on confused schadenfreude this week.
Part R-4: Die Hard, But in a Skyscraper
- OK, it's been a couple of weeks, might need to jog my memory a bit on how combos and parries work. In retrospect I probably should've played the whole game in one go and then spaced out these updates after the fact. I'm sure it'll all come back to me quickly and I won't complain about the difficulty all the time.
- Why is this game so fricking hard? Why is it so much of a pain to sever these left arm collectibles? Why is it my parries never seem to stun enemies long enough to unleash Blade Mode on them? These are the kind of statement I won't be making today. All killer, no filler.
- Just strolling in through the front door of World Marshal HQ, don't mind me. I like that they have a receptionist gynoid with no legs at the front desk. Bureaucrats be like robots, am I right?
- There's a turret sequence while I wait for Doktor to hack the lobby elevators. I find it's easier to survive if you just hide in a corner and bisect any cyborgs that get close enough and drink their delicious spine juices for sustenance. I took a quick glance at the lobby before running for the elevator and saw a dozen RPG guys and a few ape robots show up, so I didn't think to hang around.
- Ah, here we go, the requisite "you need to follow these normally invisible power lines to their terminal points" side bit. Every game with detective vision has to have one.
- Setting aside the part where World Marshal destroys an entire floor of their building trying to gun down Raiden, why the heck is there a Japanese garden up here on the 30th+ floor? I mean, besides it being a Metal Gear game. Actually, this is probably one of the more realistic surprises so far, given how much this feels like an affectation of the absurdly wealthy.
- Oh, I see. This was so they could have a Tenchu moment. Well, I can't begrudge that. You make a ninja game, you better put pagodas and shrine gates in there somewhere.
- By the way, Raiden hasn't stopped being "Jack the Ripper" since the Monsoon fight. It means he talks to everyone with more of a manic snarl. It reminds me of Adachi's "creepy rapist guy" voice. Not quite as intimidating as the voice actor thinks it is.
- Talking of requisite sequences, there's a big dumb elevator fight where you have to switch elevators halfway through after they badly damage the one you were on. This is kind of smart, because it side-steps the usual inquiry of "how damn tall is this building?" when everything's on a strict timer.
- Boy, the tropes don't stop, do they? Next up is a mini-boss-rush against Mistral and (sigh) Monsoon. At least I was able to prove my EM grenade theory right this time - knocked Mr. Wetty right out. Still, having to do the worst boss fight in the game twice isn't my idea of a good time.
- Here we go, some classic boss exposition in the big server room. Well, if by "server" you mean "the place where all the kid brains are hooked up to VR programs" - Dok explains that they renamed it that so no-one in the rank-and-file would be the wiser. Does that mean there's another server room somewhere else? Woe betide the new IT person who goes to the wrong room on their first day.
- Anyway, Sundowner and his employer has "something planned in three hours" that'll be as big an atrocity as 9/11, which isn't really the classiest thing to invoke in a game that can already draw from several larger fictional terrorist attacks. I'm sure the day that a giant mech rumbled into the Big Apple, destroyed most of the lower westside, and also included a former president getting his spine severed on top of the Federal Building is mentioned in equally solemn terms.
- Sundowner's boss fight was, perhaps predictably, just as much of an annoying downer as Monsoon's. Maybe it's because I'm powering through these bosses with a stock of healing items on Normal difficulty, thus never reaching that point Drew usually sees where you get stuck on a constant loop of game overs until you figure out how the boss ticks and are practiced enough with the controls to pull off what needs to be done to beat them. Sundowner's big deal is his explosive shield, which sends you flying every time you hit it; problem is, he'll drag that thing out in a middle of a combo and the momentum means I get caught by it every time. More so, you can only cut through the shield with an aimed attack in Blade Mode, and for some reason I just couldn't get it to aim vertically whenever that was required (I know what to do now, by the way, I was just having a moment of stupidity). In addition, sometimes you'd cut through the shield only for a small amount of it to still be left - it's six plates that Sundowner has on his flanks at all times that he combines together - so I still get whacked even after "successfully" batting it away. Beyond the choppers firing missiles at me in the background (thanks, guys; you did your job well), there was nothing else to this fight besides all the shield grabass. Dumb and forgettable, but at least I enjoyed slicing that big bald asshole to ribbons at the end of it.
- On a conference call to Mikael Haggar and Lucio, we determine the likely target for this atrocity will be the President's visit to Pakistan. "The War on Terror Part 2" Haggar soberly interjects. Wouldn't that imply that the first one ended at some point? Or could end, for that matter? Seems more likely we'd get "War with Pakistan Part 1" instead.
Part R-5: Things to Slice in Denver When You're Dead (Serious About Slicing Things)
- We start with a super dramatic helicopter escape where Raiden has to leap out and destroy two automated stealth plane drones on his tail. Would've liked to have played any of this, but then maybe letting the cinematic handle the QTEs is fine too.
- Either way, despite putting several miles between us and Marshal HQ before the drones show up, Raiden falls out of the escape chopper and lands at the end of the third stage of the game, just outside the HQ building.
- The idea is to play through this level in reverse, moving as quickly as possible because time is of the essence. There's a lot of fights to avoid or stealth-kill through if you're in a hurry, but I still need more building points for some final upgrades so let's check out more of Denver.
- Frankly, this is just a very short (and kinda dull) level set in a place I've already seen with a threat of a ticking clock hanging over my head that doesn't actually seem to affect anything. I appreciate a little downtime before the inevitable final boss medley, but this might be a little too low-key.
- On his way out of town, Raiden steals someone's motorbike and leaves a thank you note carved into the sidewalk. How considerate. Not to mention low profile. Oh jeez, is the next level going to be a Final Fantasy VII mini-game?
Part R-6: Cry Me a Jetstream
- Thankfully, no slicing at motorcycling cyborgs in a Raiden Rash sequence. Instead, we get our traditional sunset duel with Samuel Jetstream.
- This boss fight's more like it. A classic duel in which my items were unavailable and I had to parry almost everything to get a return hit in. This is the ideal "you'd better have learned how the game works by now, Sonny Jim" fight, the sort where my lack of healing items - there were very few after the Sundowner fight, which ate all of them thanks to his crappy TNT shield - fit the scenario of taking on an opponent on absolutely even ground. Sam has some strong attacks, growing no less powerful when you temporarily knock his sword out of his hands, and a lot of those become command grabs if you don't block or parry them in time.
- Eventually, the jetstream becomes an arterial spray as Raiden slices through Sam's abdomen and continues on his way. What was odd was all the "was this really necessary" melancholy that followed; the sort of story moment that normally results from killing an honorable foe in an avoidable fight. Did I miss the cutscene that explains that Sam wasn't a smarmy, condescending war profiteer who liked killing and had already dismembered Raiden at least once recently? Maybe it was DLC. Personally, I'm only sad I wasn't able to lop off that stupid ponytail and feed it to him.
- We also steal Sam's sword, because it's not like he's going to need it. It's a very state-of-the-art "VT7" vibrosword, which Sam apparently inherited from his father. Uh huh. I bet when Sam Sr. was swinging that thing in the 1980s he was damn near unstoppable.
- "Raiden! We have less than one hour! Hurry!" "Roger that," Raiden replies, taking off into a sprint towards the launch site for his one-way trip across the world. Hey genius, you parked your bike like 10 yards away in the other direction. You even made a big show of making sure it wouldn't be damaged by fighting Sam in an adjacent field.
Part R-7: Home Stretch Armstrong
- Oh boy. First few seconds of the final mission and we have a really badly animated guy eating a pizza and reading an ecchi manga. Did Otacon get this guy a job here after they met at his namesake event?
- Hey, speaking of Otacon's circle of associates, it's Sunny Emmerich! Last time I saw her she was feeding burned eggs to Drebin's smoking monkey, or something. She's still a kid in MGR, but I guess being a prodigy means building your own space rocket before you go to prom.
- Regardless, we take Sunny's super shuttlejet across the world in a blink of an eye, dropping its command module somewhere next to a Marshal-owned airbase in Pakistan. I really hope this three hour deadline doesn't become something to worry about; we must only have minutes of it left after all this horseplay.
- The "meat" of the stage is minimal: get past the airfield gate, pass through a hangar, and walk a few yards to where Blade Wolf lies crippled after some unseen devastating attack. When they kill the pupper, even a mechanical pupper, you know it just got real.
- After this, we get our big villain exposition: Armstrong's very much like Sundowner in that he's ecstatic about causing wars and making money off them. More about the money than the warfare perhaps with this one, but then there's gotta be a reason this guy's the final boss and not the bald guy.
- Unfortunately, to get to him, I have to defeat his giant mechanical spider (did John Peters write this chapter?) which I think is also a Metal Gear, but it doesn't really count if it's not bipedal. Also, it isn't called some three letter name starting with R, like REX or RAY. C'mon, there's a lot of options: ROB, ROY, RON, RIN (for a bit of Japanese flavor, since I know Marshal is into that), ROD, RIO...
- I would pay good money to see a Metal Gear RON. That's one stepdad you don't want to give your report card to.
- Metal Gear Excelsus (did Stan Lee write this chapter?) is kind of a typically rad fight in this game; one where the opponent is colossal and you're nonetheless able to eventually get the better of them by nicking away at their giant feet and swords before suddenly getting into gear and slicing off entire limbs and swinging them against it. I wonder when Raiden decides he's spent enough time chipping at the paintwork and gets serious?
- Mr. American Exceptionalism survived being inside a giant, exploding, shredded robot and decide to introduce us to the gun show. He Zandatsus the entire Metal Gear first, and I can only assume the magical green mass power siphon he pulled off was due to nanomachines. Either that or a wizard, I suppose.
- But first! He's going to beat the ever-living tar out of Raiden in what I can only describe as a cartoon brawl. Only thing it was missing was the giant dustcloud with limbs sticking out of it.
- OK, everything that happens after the annoying "you can't win, don't even try because you'll waste all your healing items" mini-fight is incredible. Armstrong's speech about using war to get elected, his brutal beatdown of Raiden (and breaking his sword - hey, just because it's high-frequency, doesn't mean they grow on trees), his plan to turn America into some twisted Darwinian survival of the fittest proving ground; it's all pure, weapons-grade Metal Gear argle-bargle.
- Another unwinnable fight ensues, wherein I discover that dropping to 0.1% health with no health packs is all part of it. Will this also affect the final score, I wonder? I say "I wonder", but I haven't really cared about the score once beyond earning more upgrade points. This is why I don't play PlatinumGames. Although...
- This part where I'm slamming dozens of blows into Armstrong's chest and his health ticks down by 0.1% each time is some really funny ludonarrative harmony (I invoked the opposite of the usual thing hacks say! A twisted linguist, that's me).
- Blade Wolf shows up with Sam's sword, providing Raiden one last chance to cut the wayward Senator down before he begins his dark work. This is it! The fina-
- Oh I died.
- Oh I died again.
- Oooh, I lasted twenty seconds this time instead of ten.
- Nope, died again. But maybe if I-
- Nope. Died. Maybe I should try guarding more?
- Died. I was doing all right this time until he elbow-dropped me.
- Died again. Music's pretty good here, at least?
- Died. At least I managed to get him down to... 162% health?! aaaaaaAAAAAUG-
- The trouble with this fight is that there's a lot of visual confusion between Armstrong's yellow, unavoidable attacks, his orange-red fireball/earthquake attacks, and all the yellow/orange/red flames in the wreckage that surrounds us. Might explain why I just died again.
- Died again. Haven't seen the videos yet, but I wonder how long this fight took Drew? After all, he seemed to take three times as long on every Metal Gear boss than I did.
- Dead. Can't evade most of his gigantic attacks, but if I create space I can't hit him. He'll also just charge at me instead.
- Dead. Every one of his attacks does something like 30% health, and I can't seem to guard or Just-Defend any of them. Meanwhile, I'm chipping away at his enormous health bar like a sucker, hoping not to get caught in the massive AoEs.
- Dead. My favorite thing he does? Create some giant fireball around himself that I can't see through, then flies out of it at incredible speed and just flattens me.
- This time I caused some kind of cutscene where Armstrong leaps away and chucks a giant piece of debris at me. Of course, the only divisible line was some weird askew diagonal and I had less than a second to figure out how to cut it there, so it hit me and I died again.
- Dead. Hypothetically, there is a limit to how much one person can tolerate a massive difficulty spike before they throw in the towel and consider quietly grinding somewhere until they have more stats and abilities unlocked. But hey, I've beaten all the Soulsborne games, so I'm used to this.
- This time I managed to get into some QTE where I lost my sword, but managed to land something like 40% damage on him by getting all the prompts right. I was so excited, I forgot about the flying debris and it smacked into me doing twice the damage back. After which, I barely had anything left and died again. Hopeful though!
- That time I immediately lost half my health bar and just restarted from the last checkpoint. I guess that counts as a death too, right?
- I cut the debris! I tried putting the stick in what I thought was the right angle before chopping and it worked! And then it immediately wanted me to do one in the opposite direction and I hesitated and it killed me! Little by little, I'm starting to get this fight. (I know it doesn't look like it, but...)
- Restarted again. The fight, not the game. I like that Armstrong starts every other fight with "Ready or not, Jack!" It's pretty clear it's the latter, sir.
- Dead from the second debris piece again. It feels like it's a miracle whenever I can line it up right the one time, frankly. The analogs weren't really made to be this precise. You might as well ask me to draw a perfect circle with one.
- Restarted. Sometimes it's just pointless if you lose too much health early. Ever see a boss attempt go so bad you are forced to immediately go to asleep?
- That time I got the slice for the second debris perfect, but the debris itself was several feet higher than normal? So it just cut through the bottom part of it at the same angle it was asking for. In case it wasn't clear, it then hit me and killed me.
- Restarted. Actually, I'm sorta glad the previous three chapters were so short, because it gives me plenty of room to elaborate on how often I've died to this one boss for what I hope comes off as comical effect. Pain's funny, right?
- I got too close to his fire ground punch thing and it did something like 100% damage instead of 30-40%. Of course, if I'm not close, I can't do damage and finish the fight. So...
- Dead. I wondered about causing that QTE scene again, since it does a lot of damage to him. Unfortunately, the attack animation is him turning yellow and charging at me, and that also leads to a different command grab combo attack where he does a flat 25% damage with no chance to QTE out of it. I've seen both types of charge bearing on me several times each now, and can't distinguish between them. Sort of a crapshoot if I'm being honest.
- I had more time with those slices than I thought, but I still can't reliably get one of them, let alone both. It's the only major obstacle now though; I've learned to avoid all the volcano attacks, even as impatient as I am, so it's all down to getting these slices in correctly (though I'll still get pounded and be forced to restart early on occasion - there's no telling what's going to follow the debris toss).
- Ooh, that time I knocked him out of one his ground-pound charge moves, stunning him for a precious few seconds. Of course, if I hadn't, it would've done an unbelievable amount of damage and likely caused another game over. Fortunately, it was the debris again that killed me this time, not being too late on a ground-pound interrupt. That's a relief, of sorts.
- I figure I've been at this an hour now. At least it only takes a few minutes before I'm dead again. No wait, that's a bad thing. (I restarted after getting hit three times in twenty seconds again, for whatever it's worth.)
- I checked with the Codecs - yeah, yeah, it was dumb of me to wait this long - to see if they had some tips for me. Mikael Haggar says "Cut 'im!". Lucio says "Cut 'im!". Save Lady says "You have to kill him!" and then offers to save. Doktor says "Use the sword!". Wolf literally can only say three words in his broken state: "Raiden, kill him!" I should've just called Gary Whitta...
- Oh, I can call Sunny now too! She's a super-genius, she's bound to have the advice I need! "Raiden, why do these things always have to happen to you?" I shrugged so hard I almost dislocated something.
- Dead. But I found out you can interrupt almost all his attacks if you just keep the pressure on, including the yellow charges. The exception is when he raises his arms up for a big AoE shockwave. That caught me a few times. I've yet to successfully cut the second debris piece - even when I'm dead on with the angle, it's never lined up right in terms of height. If I take the time to look up instead of slicing immediately, it hits me and I die anyway. I've taken to calling it "The Block of Inevitability".
- I found out what happened if you have enough health to get hit by the debris and live: he throws another one immediately. There has to be some kind of cutscene that follows, and - one can only hope - a checkpoint.
- "You know what? Fuck this war. I just want to see you dead." Ditto, Armstrong, except instead of "war" it's "game" and instead of "you" it's "myself".
- I did it! I destroyed the second debris piece! ...it has a third one?
- Uh... I killed him? After actually landing the last slice on that debris - it was horizontal, so I dunno why it was giving me trouble - he jumped at me and got hit for a serious amount of damage. And then four health kits appeared around the arena. Suddenly the fight went from unwinnable to babytown frolics. Besides a hateful move where he starts regenerating his health unless I cut a green whatsit on his back, the rest of the fight was incredibly easy. No real escalation - he tossed more Metal Gear parts at me, but I had the health kits to absorb them now - and no extra brutality or secret moves when he dropped to a desperate amount of health. That random piece of debris was the turning point. What a fucking bizarre boss fight.
- Anyway, I managed to jam a katana in those Senatorial innards and had at it. The Senate is now closed. And that's how a kill becomes a law, asshole.
- All right, so it was actually only about 20 minutes according to the in-game timer. Maybe it didn't count deaths? Or maybe it didn't count all the loading times between them? Feels like I've been here for an epoch. I looked outside and civilization had ended, which usually means I've been distracted for a while. Gee, I hope the internet still works so I can upload this.
- And then the game crashed during the ending cutscenes. I think we're done here.
- All right, fine. I had to do the real Armstrong fight again and managed it in one go this time. Didn't even need all that health either. Really goes to show how far the intimidation factor can go. I'm just glad I wasn't streaming all of this - it'd be embarrassing if it got out how many times I actually did die...
- It crashed at the same point during the ending again. Now we really are done here.
It's hard to say how much I would've enjoyed the ending to this game, because that last boss fight - as satisfying as it was to finally beat - almost defeated me utterly. In retrospect, I probably should've made more of an effort to beat those earlier bosses without relying on multiple health kits as a crutch. Once that safety net was gone, the boss fights in this game got considerably less cakewalky.
I'm sure the ending went something like this: Raiden was putting his feet up snarling something about pizza while a repaired Blade Wolf sat close by with the last slice in his metal gullet and everyone else on codec patrol was just there hanging out and laughing before it did the freeze-frame thing and faded to black. But wait, who's that outside the window? Is that Vamp?! How could this be?
And that's the end of Mento Gear Rising: Revenge Jests. This'll be it for this reactions series too - I'll continue to stay away from the shambling reanimated corpse that Konami has turned Metal Gear into with Kojima's absence, and playing the Game Boy Color game just seems like a really bad idea for content. I certainly won't be playing this again on the various harder difficulties and demanding S-ranks that the other trophies demand. Music was good though.
The end. No moral.