The Metal Gear series has been known over the years for its deep stealth gameplay and outlandish, crazy, and fun storylines. Action in the series has been relatively absent and many times could get you spotted quickly. For this very reason the idea that a “hack and slash” style Metal Gear game exists is almost as insane as the game’s plot. That being said, I am extremely happy that Kojima Productions and Konami willed Metal Gear Rising Revengeance into existence with the help of Platinum Games.
Metal Gear Rising comes out at a time when action games are coming back around in the market. Darksiders 2 came last year, DmC just recently launched and God of War Ascension is set to debut in March. With multi-game franchises like that releasing games right now it was incredibly brave of Konami to put out Rising this week, but also incredibly smart. After finishing DmC I immediately wanted more of that style of game and I assume a lot of gamers feel the same. I went back for more Darksiders 2, pre-ordered God of War, and downloaded the Rising demo. Being a Metal Gear fan myself I was excited to see how Platinum would tell the tale of Raiden in a post-MGS4 era and how the game would make me feel being that it steps so far away from the traditional Metal Gear style. Platinum has a great pedigree (Vanquish is an amazing, under-appreciated game) so that initially sold me on the concept. My thoughts were solidified the first time I saw Raiden pick up and throw Metal Gear Ray. I was hooked.
The gameplay in Rising is a fantastic mix of the best in the genre. The controls are fluid, it has a fairly extensive move list, and you can purchase upgrades for your move-set and character that add more depth to the system. Unlike other recent action games in this style, Rising is more based on timing your blocks as opposed to dodging the enemy’s strike. Once you master the block it’s fairly easy to begin to feel like Raiden (a bad ass). The full game seems a bit easier than the demo, so take that into account. I only had a few deaths on normal difficulty. My only negative thought on the gameplay is that each combat area seems to end with you going to a door and pushing a button. This happens multiple times per level. This is not enough to hurt the experience though. Once you unlock ripper mode, and the other weapons (you get one from each boss) you can really start feeling the Platinum combat coming through, and it’s fantastic.
The story of the game centers around Raiden (4 years after MGS4) and his team at Maverick Enterprises as they attempt to stop an illegal operation run by Desperado Enterprises (a rival PMC) and a Colorado senator that has been harvesting organs for use in new super soldiers. It also showcases a bit of internal conflict within Raiden as he battles with his past and his “Jack the Ripper” persona. Overall the plot is solid, and has the Metal Gear style to it, even if it’s not incredibly deep. You don’t learn much about anyone other than Raiden, but Raiden’s inner battles were the most interesting part to me. Don’t let the top-level plot stop you though, it’s certainly not bad by any means. Just not up to the Metal Gear standard of character depth and story complexity.
Overall I’m very glad Rising exists. The gameplay is a ton of fun and the story is entertaining enough to keep moving you forward. I think the real depth comes from replaying levels for better scores and seeing how you stack up in VR missions. I hope this series continues under Platinum along-side the mainline Metal Gear games. If you’re a fan of Metal Gear or the action genre at all you owe it to yourself to play Metal Gear Rising.