This is an honest and objective review of the game listing positives and negatives if applicable only.
The graphics certainly push the ps3 to it's limits. It is running close to 60fps and without ugly graphics. Quite a feat. It reminds me a bit of DMC4's graphics, just better. Which is a great thing! The cutscenes seem to be pre-rendered and look a bit better than that actual in game graphics, but just slightly. The game will undergo slowdown now and then if you excessively cut up an enemy in zandatsu mode. However, if you cut less than 60-70 pieces then the game seems to run just fine. I'm amazed at this feat to be honest and the way in which soooo many things are cuttable.
Overall: Excellent graphics. Not to the level of uncharted or GoW or killzone but understandably so because of the free cutting.
In this game you go through quite a few varied environment and they all look unique and great. I won't spoil them but they are clearly researched and faithfully reproduced. For example, in one area they use signs native to the place Raiden is in. Another great great great thing is that there are no obnoxious glowy things that tell you where to go next! You have the MGS style map, yes, but things like chain fences do not stand glowing, doorways that must be cut do not glow and gratings that can be cut and traversed through are not highlighted. It makes you turn back into a curious gamer again. Love it!
The enemy design is interesting but there is not much variety. There are the peon soldiers and then stronger variations of them of which there are about 3 or so and they all look quite similar but with some changges. There are basically one or two flying enemies and then finally 4-5 miniboss type enemies. It's a decent number but not impressive. Certainly better variety than a game like DmC but less so than games like GoW, DMC or Onimusha.
The design of the bosses, Raiden, costumes and alternate weapons is allllll excellent. No complaints at all.
Overall: Great design. The only minor issue is that a bigger variety of peon enemies would have been nice to have.
Weapons and combos:
The game has a very flowing combo system. It is something in between batman arkham asylum and DMC. A great medium! Love the idea. You can infinitely hit the square button to do a continuous combo and also use the direction button to change the enemy you are attacking, ala batman arkham asylum. However, there are also strong attacks that are activated with triangle which are not infinite and are quite DMC/bayonettaesque. You also have special moves ala DMC (e.g. like a stinger type move).
There are a handful of unlockable weapons but their movesets are very very limited. A real shame as there was great potential there to expand on them. One weapon in particular is relegated to a niche role against certain enemies. But, saying that it still is really fun fighting with what you have.
In addition to the secondary weapons you can get, you can replace your primary sword in an aesthetic/power sense (i.e. your move set stays the same) with quite a variety of swords in the game.
The free cutting mode may seem repetitive to an onlooker but wow, I just CAN'T get bored of it. It is just so fun to use! Love it! The only awkward thing is that it is difficult to move while in this mode because of the controller layout but thankfully you rarely if EVER need to use that feature.
Overall: Free cutting is excellent, combo system is an excellent idea but the one caveat is the lack of moves for the secondary weapons you can pick up.
I already mentioned the design of enemies above. This section deals with what it is like fighting them. In my opinion, this is one of the best aspects of the game. Fighting the enemies in this game is just plain fun. You can approach every enemy in a different way and you can defeat every enemy in multiple ways. It really encourages creativity, a staple of MGS games. I won't spoil any of them to let you find out on your own. There is also the ninja kill aspect which further enhances this.
I played the game on hard mode and found it to be a decent challenge but not completely overwhelming, I suggest you start on that mode too. Normal is a bit too tame in my eyes. Hard mode encourages you to find simple strategies to beat enemies and really makes the game shine.
One minor issue I have is that some enemies can grab you and put you into a "wiggle the stick to break free!" state which is frustrating because wiggling the stick is such an unintuitive thing to do. I wish they would allow us to mash a button instead in a future patch.
Overall:Fighting the enemies in this game is extremely fun. A massive plus in any hack and slash game!
Bosses are some of the best I have ever fought in any game I have played. Even more so than many MGS bosses! I really don't want to spoil the fights but you essentially go through several phases and each boss fight is gripping and action packed. The cutscenes mid boss battle really give you the feeling of this being a fight between you and the boss rather than you, the player, just beating some random enemy in a game. It draws you in. I was happy with the final boss too. It was quite a challenging but epic fight, despite the person you fight being someone who is kind of thrown into the story haphazardly later in the game.
Overall: excellent boss battles!
The story is an interesting one. It starts off with the namesake angle of revenge, as you can imagine but quickly changes into the typical MGS style politically charged debate. This one is particularly interesting because of how anti american it comes across. I loved the story and I commend KojiPro for penning such a controversial story (don't think that controversy is it's only merit btw). Sure there are cheesy interactions and dialogue (not THAT much though) but that is just the style of MGS. I welcomed it. My only issue is that there is a point where the game suddenly throws these ulterior ideas at you together with new characters. I wished the story was a little more fleshed out....which leads me onto the next section nicely.
Overall: Great story, bit rushed towards the end but ultimately interesting and enjoyable.
Longevity of this game has been a bit controversial. Let me say categorically that the first time you play it, especially if it is on hard mode, you will not finish it before 7-8 hours of actual gaming and more like 10 if you actually play and enjoy the game, just like MGS4.
Saying that though, the game's last few chapters do feel rushed and quite short compared to the first 4-5 chapters. It is quite a stark contrast actually with the first few chapters being quite considerable in length. I wish Konami could have spent more time on development and fleshed that latter half of the game out a bit more. But saying that, what you get is still quite sizeable and very fun. perhaps kojipro even cut off the fat and made the game just a tour de force? Which it really is. There is never a dull moment.
There are a whole bunch of unlockables in this game including VR missions (DLC missions and bonus characters incoming!), costumes, special "cheat" items and weapons. There is a ton of replayability. An excellent sign of replayablitly is when you finish the game you instantly start a new game. I haven't done this for a game in quite a while, I did it for this game though!
Codec conversations are gold too. I love listening to them now and again.They are a great reason to come back and play again to hear them all.
Overall: great replayability but my only gripe is that the latter half of the game seems a bit rushed. Do note though that the length of the game is average at the very least, it's not ridiculously short or anything.
This is an excellent game. If you enjoy hack and slash games you will love this. It allows you to play in many different ways: cheating, combo maniac, ninja killer and tactician for example. The graphics and design are excellent, the replayability and enemies are also great. There are only a couple of niggles (mentioned above) in this otherwise AAA title.