Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance – Throwback 10

The Metal Gear series is one that will conjure certain strong images in people’s heads. The grizzled soldier Solid Snake, sneaking around in boxes, and lengthy cut-scenes that cover plots that are one part gritty deconstruction of war and the military industrial complex, and one part batshit crazy concepts. The games follow fairly similar themes and styles even when they evolve from entry to entry. But the spin-off game Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance throws most of that out of the window for fast-paced, high octane melee combat that often leaves the player amazed at what they’re witnessing. And it’s just turned ten years old.

Set four years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, the game leaves Solid Snake to one side, and instead puts players in control of Raiden (Quinton Flynn), a character who was first introduced in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty.

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In that game he was a stand-in for Snake, a young soldier that players were unaware they’d spend most of the game playing. As such, he became quite unpopular, and went through some changes following the game. Appearing in the fourth game, he’d been transformed into a cyborg ninja, similar to the original one in Metal Gear Solid. Able to run up walls, flip through the air, move at incredible speed, and slice through enemies like butter with his sword, he became a character not to mess with. And now players finally got to play as him, shifting the focus of the series away from stealth infiltration to all out balls to the wall action and spectacle.

Following the defeat of the titular Patriots in the fourth Metal Gear Solid game, the world’s private military companies (PMC’s) have shifted away from nanotechnology and have instead embraced cybernetics, leading to the creation of many more cyborg soldiers across the globe. When the game opens, Raiden is working for Maverick Security Consulting, and is tasked with protecting the prime minister of an unnamed African nation. When they come under attack by the rogue PMC group Desperado, Raiden is injured and the prime minister is killed. Weeks later, Raiden heads out into the world to track down the cyborg warriors of Desperado, and eliminate them, uncovering a conspiracy along the way.

© 2013 Konami.

Even in the first level of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance it’s clear that this game is not following the formula, as you speed your way through a city, fighting soldiers, destroying tanks, and even taking on a Metal Gear Ray in hand to hand combat that sees you grabbing the giant robot by one of its arms, throwing it across the city, and slicing it in half by running down its back. And that’s probably the most boring level in the game. The lengthy cut-scenes and long conversations that are a staple of the franchise are gone, with all of the cool stuff that you normally have to watch being the stuff that you get to do this time round.

The game goes a good job at leading you through the levels at a fast pace, rushing from one enemy combatant to another, slicing them apart as you dash to the next objective marker. You get rewarded with a boss fight every hour or so, which are usually some of the best moments in the game thanks to the ludicrous enemy design, the music playing, and the fluidity of the combat moves that you have to employ in order to win. All of Raiden’s attacks feel powerful, even the lighter ones, and the game manages to avoid the pitfalls that some hack and slash games fall into when new enemies come along and make you feel under-powered. New enemy types force you to employ new strategies, but you never once feel like the character has lost his deadly edge.

© 2013 Konami.

One of the more entertaining aspects of the game, and something that was promoted a lot at the time, is Blade Mode. Building up your energy allows Raiden to enter a state where time is slowed down around him, and he’s able to execute precision strikes with his sword. By lining up your attacks with your control sticks you’re able to choose where his sword hits, allowing you to cut off specific limbs, slice through weapons, or dispatch enemies by slicing the tops of their heads off, or bisecting them down the middle. And you don’t have to stick with just one strike. As long as the timer is still up you can keep going, dicing your foes into tiny pieces; Metallowing you to extract their cyborg power core to help heal yourself.

When the game was released it quickly received a lot of acclaim, mainly for daring to break away from the Metal Gear formula. Fans loved that they were finally able to take control of one of the much beloved cyborg ninjas, and the large scale fights, fast-paced electronic rock music, and the ability to play through combat that felt like it would be at home in an action movie, made players come away feeling like the badass warriors the character had been portrayed as. The fear that finally playing as the character would somehow lessen his coolness, or make him weaker proved to be a false one, and instead gamers got to experience a game that can only be described as an endorphin rush.

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It’s easy to overlook Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance if you’re not a fan of the series and the game-play style. It’s easy to forget it exists because it’s a spin-off title and some people never expect them to be any good. But the end product is a game that feels like it fits perfectly into that universe, yet does its own thing every step of the way. If you’ve ignored the Metal Gear franchise because long cut-scenes aren’t your thing, you may have missed out on one of the best action games in recent years. If you’re unsure of whether or not to try it out just head over to YouTube and check out some of the boss fights, because you’ll probably come away wanting to play it yourself.

Whether you’re a fan of the game, or it’s a title you might have missed, the tenth anniversary is the perfect time to play through one of the wildest entries in the Metal Gear franchise; an action game that will leave you with a smile on your face every time you pick it up. Now, where’s the sequel? Because this game absolutely needs a follow up!

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was released in the UK on the 9th of February 2013.

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