Launched in early 2013, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance gave action game fans the time of their life. PlatinumGames’ work on Metal Gear was intended to give fans something they never new they wanted. As groundbreaking as it is overly convoluted, and swimming in science-fiction schlock. After all, this is the Kojima Productions way.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is an out-and-out action videogame. Just as God of War modernised the scrolling beat-‘em-ups of yesteryear, so too have PlatinumGames made themselves a name with fast-paced hard-hitting balls-out action. And as such, it would have been remiss of the developer to deliver anything else in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance; a title that the studio reportedly saved from the reaper himself. It comes as little surprise then that Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is full of silky smooth combat mechanics and grandiose set-pieces positioned against some immaculately presented backdrops. Some of the finest minds in the business poured their all into this new arm of a treasured franchise, after all.

Representing this style in its truest form is the Ninja Run: a simple mechanic that makes getting from A-to-B the most stylish action that walking could ever possibly be. Clearly inspired by the Assassin’s Creed navigation system, the player simply moves the left analog stick in the direction they wish to run while holding down the R1 button (on PlayStation 3) and Raiden will leap over low walls and crates, duck under pipes and pounce through windows. Even wall running up short vertical inclines when presented with them. However, despite this all being automatic it doesn’t take the feeling of freedom away from the player. It is still your ability to locate and assess areas that Raiden can traverse that makes all of this possible. And as a misdirection will often see your sprint come to a sudden halt it’s obvious when your skills aren’t up to the challenge.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance screenshot

The combat system is also undeniably cool. Heavy hitting and swift attacks set the player up for time-slowed manoeuvres which let them slice enemies apart. Players can also line-up attacks manually by holding L1, with a line appearing on the screen to show where the blade will strike. Quickly wiggling the right analog stick launches into Free Blade Mode, where the player can command direct strikes of the sword which are met with a near 1:1 execution. This is simply a fantastic device designed to evoke a feeling of masterful gameplay. It’s almost irrelevant where the player hits, but the fact that the enemies get slashed-up visually in accordance to where the player strikes offers a remarkable sense of empowerment.

One of the key aspects of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance’s combat system is your defensive manoeuvres. If Chit Hot used subtitles as taglines for reviews, in the case of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ‘Parry is Your Friend’ would be it. Pressing towards your opponent in conjunction with the Square button will either simply block an enemy attack or – if your timing is perfect – knock them back and open them up for a retaliation. All enemies have different timing requirements and larger (or more powerful) foes will place different demands on the player for every unique attack they possess.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance screenshot

There are a number of additional touches which many players will simply take in their stride, but upon deeper examination they’re significant design decisions that make the game a boldly satisfying experience. Players can just slay foes with normal combos and watch as they fall lifelessly to the floor, but manually executing the Free Blade mechanic will reap greater rewards. Further to this, attacking a centralised point (highlighted by a secondary reticule on-screen) will offer either a very short QTE followed by a dazzlingly smooth animated finisher, or a tear manoeuvre on the Circle button which gifts the player a life bonus. These features coupled with the intelligent automatic targeting (a circle with ‘TGT’ in it appears on the enemy that the player will strike), automated stealth kills and the upgradeable skills list result in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance offering one of the most impressively comprehensive combat systems ever seen in a videogame.

Player can acquire Battle Points (BP) in-game as well as through bonuses at the end of combat sequences and levels. BP can be spent on upgrades in the customisation menu. Including additions to the body, weapons, health, fuel and skills accessible at any point (though the player must restart from the last checkpoint after a purchase). It’s a familiar system but as it’s never forced upon the player. It’s more than likely that upon reaching a tricky spot – of which there are many – the player will have accrued enough BP to purchase a new ability or health extension, thus offering them a new opportunity for successfully overcoming the fight they had previously been struggling with.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance screenshot

The Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 saw the action videogame love affair mature, thanks largely to the roots laid by the God of War series at the tail end of the previous generation. Through titles such as Bayonetta and Ninja Gaiden 2 the scrolling beat-‘em-up model has been pulled in many new directions. Despite a significantly smaller audience than first-person shooters or racing titles, the genre has found just as comfortable a resting point on modern hardware. In the decade since Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance launched it’s only grown in popularity.

Categories: Games