Review

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review

  • Game release: February 19, 2013
  • Reviewed:
  • PC

In an impressive show of style and technical brilliance, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance takes a turn for the brutal and rarely looks back.

by

Editor's note: The text below has been edited to add information regarding the PC version of Metal Gear Solid: Revengeance. - PB, 1/14/2014, 16:00 PST

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance sees the cybernetically enhanced Raiden severing his ties to the stealthy gameplay of old, charging headlong behind enemy lines with a fresh pack of batteries and a thirsty blade by his side. His newfound lust for battle fits nicely into the quirky Metal Gear universe, thanks to the persistence of the Sons of the Patriots plotline and other carefully laid traces of time-honored traditions. Still, despite these ties to the past, Revengeance is ultimately a departure from the old way of doing things. Almost every scenario demands conflict rather than silent infiltration, and instead of conforming to his environment, Raiden can transform it in a matter of seconds.

Four years after the conclusion of Metal Gear Solid 4, Raiden's cyborg-strength is under the employ of a private security firm hired to protect a peaceful and influential African prime minister. His convoy is intercepted by two cyborgs representing the disruptive Desperado Enforcement, and they quickly make a mess of things by kidnapping their target, disabling Raiden, and slipping away unharmed. Not one to stand idly by, Raiden pursues his assailants after receiving the latest cybernetic upgrades from his comrades at Maverick Consulting.

It's a brief yet satisfying ride through a fast-paced action game, and dozens of unlockable rewards continually entice you back into the fray. With its addictive combat and killer sense of style, it's unfortunate that the simplicity of Revengeance's underlying story fails to hit many high marks. Outside of a few memorable antagonists (Sam, for instance, is a sadistic delight), you won't walk away with fond memories of the overall plot, but Raiden's personal transformation reaches an atypical and invigorating conclusion. He's perfect for the role of the antihero, and through his transformation, Revengeance emerges as a fantastic action game set in the Metal Gear universe.

Raiden faces hundreds of cyborg soldiers and biomechanical contraptions while searching for the Desperado elites, and despite a mostly mundane selection of environments, the excitement of taking on sword-wielding, rocket-launching foot soldiers holds your attention from the very start. Enemies don't waste time during battle, and though Raiden's no slouch, it will take considerable practice to completely realize the potential of his various attacks. He's fully capable of bolting through a crowd without taking a scratch, but he's bound to falter in the hands of a novice. Yet regardless of your initial skill level, Revengeance is an accessible action game that emphasizes entertainment without overshadowing the importance of depth and nuance.

Goodnight, sweet prince.

Beyond the flow of combos and timely parries, Raiden can enter a heightened state of awareness known as blade mode by siphoning electrolytes from his enemies. You can choreograph precise slices that tear through weakened objects and enemies with as much accuracy or desperation as you desire. Tapping light and heavy attack buttons unleashes a flurry of horizontal and vertical slices, with the right analog stick dictating controlled cuts along a projected vector.

Hitting an enemy's sweet spot, indicated by a pink icon, initiates Raiden's Zandatsu technique. Reaching into his opponent's torso, he tears out the spine-like repair unit, crushing it in the palm of his hand with a push of a button. It not only replenishes his health and electrolyte reserves, but it pronounces his deep-seated ferocity.

Performing the Zandatsu doesn't require a lot of effort on your part, but if your initial trajectory isn't quite on point, small adjustments with the left analog stick may be required. It's usually a simple procedure, but some boss battles require you to find the right pitch and angle under considerable pressure, and it can be a bit of a headache, and frankly a bore, to attempt these same sequences over and over again if you should fail. Such precise demands slow down the pace of combat, one of the game's strongest characteristics.

The merits of speed wouldn't shine if it weren't for the game's consistent frame rate. Outside of loading sequence stutters, Revengeance almost never skips a beat. Deforming models in direct relation to your strikes calls for heavy calculations on the fly, and it's nothing short of a technical marvel that the game's high frame rate doesn't choke in the process.

Raiden's augmented mode unveils hidden enemies and objects.

As good as the console versions look, the PC port’s graphics are clearly better on a strong gaming machine. With shadows set to high, motion blur enabled, and MSAA x8 applied, Rising's visuals are close to what you might expect from a next-gen console such as the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One. The PC version is also capable of running at a consistent 60 frames per second, and though the resolution setting is capped at 1920x1080, it's better than the console versions, which are limited to 720p. Rising isn’t going to raise the bar for PC visuals, but it’s a great looking game on its own terms. Plus, with powerful enough hardware, there are fewer limits on the number of times you can divide an object, or enemy, in Zandatsu mode.

Raiden can capably whittle his way through most objects, from chain-link fences to armored plated tanks, but your happy-go-lucky slicing eventually collides with the cold reality that not everything is destructible. You can thank Revengeance's linear design for these boundaries, but the limitations are only a minor distraction from the enjoyment of decimating foe and prop alike.

Precisely controlling Raiden's katana plays an important role when attempting to remove individual limbs, an optional yet rewarding tactic. Reducing your enemies to limbless worms renders them disabled, potentially allowing for a no-kill playthrough (with a few scripted exceptions). More importantly, 30 specific enemies possess valuable stores of data in their left hands. For every 10 of these hands that you acquire, a powerful new upgrade appears in Raiden's customization menu. It's a task easier said than done; weakening and cutting off a specific limb from a specific enemy can be frustrating when you're surrounded by a half dozen others. You may find yourself resetting to the last checkpoint to take another crack at the challenge, but the payoff is worth it in the end.

Your accuracy and timing in blade mode is somewhat dependent on the camera's position, and though you can usually rely on it to serve your needs, it occasionally misses a step and loses track of the action. For example, locking onto enemies in a cramped environment doesn't always produce the best results, and the same can be said for the one rare Zandatsu out of a hundred when the camera abandons all logic and orientation. It's frustrating when it occurs, but it doesn't represent the camera's overall positive qualities. Given that Raiden is invulnerable during these animations, it's worth having complex shows of technique in spite of the rare temporary defect.

Raiden performs these brutal acts in the name of justice, while his enemies simply lust for war and profit. The intriguing twists that made other Metal Gear plots increasingly interesting are almost nowhere to be found, but Raiden's personal transformation manages to keep the ship afloat amid the sea of narrative mediocrity. Outside of providing for his family, he views his violent line of work as a means to protect the weak, but in a world where absolutes are a myth, there may be more to his motivations than even he realizes. His opponents repeatedly challenge the notion that justice is his sole desire, questioning whether his stated motives are nothing more than controlled excuses to commit violence. Could it be that he's unwittingly perpetuating the lessons he learned as a child soldier under the guise of justice?

This is the biggest question Raiden must answer throughout the course of Revengeance. During the best moments, his internal struggle is matched in tone and pace by the gameplay to great effect. With his confidence shot, he's like an injured animal struggling to find a foothold. Conversely, when his violent tendencies emerge, his tone shifts and the game thrusts you into visceral moments filled with rage, torment, and unrestrained dismemberment. His satisfaction with committing such brutal acts stands out, and the moment he wrenches the repair unit from his foes, he turns into a seething, bloodthirsty predator. It feels natural to share in his pleasure of putting the exclamation point at the end of a hard-fought battle.

Your battles against the heavyweights, the four members of the Winds of Destruction, take place in large outdoor arenas. On the normal difficulty setting, these face-offs are fairly easy to navigate on your initial attempt, but they're entertaining diversions nonetheless. Each boss battle concludes with a mix of cutscenes and quick-time events, ultimately throwing Raiden into blade mode to deliver the final blow. These moments of excess occasionally elevate the thrill of victory, but they usually diminish the sense of accomplishment by serving the boss to Raiden on a silver platter.

The best face-off occurs between Raiden and his rival the Brazilian cyborg samurai Samuel "Jetstream" Rodrigues. It's this relatively simple clash of swords that culminates in the most straightforward yet rewarding conflict in the entire game, and despite Sam being a rather unexciting rival, he manages to leave a lasting impact on Raiden's psyche.

Trademark elements of the Metal Gear Solid series survive Revengeance's otherwise revolutionary transformation. Even the stealth meter managed to sneak its way into the game, and while it may not carry as much weight as it once did, it allows Raiden to silently dispatch unaware enemies. You can still kill time perfecting your skills in VR missions, or if you prefer, by engaging your Maverick cohorts in sprawling codec conversations that take entertaining turns into unsuspected directions. They're examples of the palpable Metal Gear spirit that permeates an otherwise unconventional entry in the legendary stealth series.

Revengeance may not play like a typical Metal Gear game, but Raiden's character arc justifies almost every change to the old formula. It's a beneficial dynamic, and the game's biggest success overall. It ultimately tests the hypothesis that there's more to the series than just Snakes and sneaking behind enemy lines, and for the most part, it passes the test. The story may not wow you with its political trappings, but Raiden's transformation and the gameplay that springs from it are the most alluring reasons to give him another shot as the leading man.

Raiden unleashes his true nature.

The PC port comes with every bit of Rising's console downloadable content in tow, which includes 50 challenging virtual reality side missions and a few alternate costumes for Raiden. The bite-size VR trials give you an excuse to explore your skills in swordplay and the use of sub-weapons in unusual settings, and you even get to control some of the game's vehicular enemies for the first time. The appeal of these diversions depends on your desire for more action, on top of the generous heap already provided by the main story mode.

Rising plays great, no matter your platform of choice, but with greater control over the game's graphics, and with the preloaded DLC, the PC port is easily the best version out of the three.If you're even vaguely interested in the Metal Gear series or intelligent hack-and-slash games, do not pass up a chance to play this exciting and addictive hybrid.

The Good
The fast-paced combat excites your reflexes
Depth and accessibility coexist in harmony
Decimating environments is a guilty pleasure that never gets old
Raiden's intriguing personal story justifies his return to the spotlight
The Bad
Occasional camera issues can be distracting
Most environmental palettes lack variety
The predictably political plot fails to excite
8
Great
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

About the Author

/ Staff

Peter Brown has been writing about video games and hardware since 1999. He grew up with the NES and has an unwavering love for retro and arcade games. Though he's a New England native, he's called the Bay Area home since 2004.

Discussion

1110 comments
SteamyPotatoes
SteamyPotatoes

Just finished it today, one of the most enjoyable games i've ever played.

blackfray
blackfray

awesome game specially the swordplay.

CaptainNimoy
CaptainNimoy

I'm still considering buying this... the camera problems were way to frustrating and a gamebreaker for me in Darksiders 2 (which was in every other aspect a magnificent game, and i regret not having tougher nerves) so if the camera orientation problems are as bad as those in DS2 I'll probably pass.

wizardboyus
wizardboyus

this game was awesome on ps3, gonna give it a try on pc though as i haven't played it in a long time. one of the better action games last-gen imo.

saifssj6
saifssj6

Can anyone confirm wether the cutscenes are 1080p as well?

faizanhd
faizanhd

Right around now the biggest problem I have is that the game is 26 bloody GBs and is about 6 hours long. Dafuq.

robertcain
robertcain

Revengeance is a solid hack and slash title but I stand by my view that it should NEVER be considered canon, only a spin-off. The story of Metal Gear ended with MGS4 with all the characters trials and tribulations being put to rest. I also would have liked to have seen the game's plot take place in between Sons of Liberty and Guns of the Patriots to fill in the back-story of how Raiden became the cyborg ninja.

theteaface
theteaface

'The predictably political plot fails to excite'  - so true! It's not that they're political they're just kind of childish phantasms of political:  ...and then the bady turns into a monster.    

cip_raziel
cip_raziel

Good game and good port (not that many lately), but terrible camera and auto-lock system, on normal and high difficulties this doesn't matter that much but on higher ones it's really annoying, I found myself dodging the wrong way or parry the wrong way just because the camera decided to spin in the opposite direction of the attacker. On a plus side, the music is great.

KBABZ
KBABZ

Kai Leng: The Video Game

Vambran
Vambran

It's pretty much just a series of epic boss fights , which is cool but the blocking system is too hard for a casual gamer. And you need to block ( parry ) to survive most of these fights. Took me 2 hours to kill the final boss trying to get his pattern down.

Gamer3344
Gamer3344

I feel like this game is truly innovative. I've gotten used to blade mode and cut any object to pieces, Shadow Warrior plays like outdated game now. LOL.

ShimmerMan
ShimmerMan

just don't bother saving up bp to unlock the fox blade cos then the game turns to s***.

GiantAssPanda
GiantAssPanda

One of if not the best hack n slash I've ever played.

croxus
croxus

I am still puzzled why Raiden has his eyebrows fixed, wearing make up, has painted long blond hair, long nails and wearing heels!

Why would a male ninja wear heels in battle???

ksbwings
ksbwings

MGRR has a new style of gameplay than the older releases. It combines with few new techniques such as sword attack & Augment Mode (detection).  The storyline is really nice and unique.  

The problems of this game is that Camera resetting is NOT probably directed well, particularly at blocking/defense moment. The Camera auto resetting sometime makes the player confuse the direction of defense time.


RobDev
RobDev

So he's half machine with a metal lower jaw but they couldn't fix his left eye?

kidflash2000
kidflash2000

Just had to point out, "decimate" means to reduce by one-tenth lol

jinzo9988
jinzo9988

I don't remember asking this when the game first came out, but how does this compare to something like Ninja Gaiden on the Xbox, or even Ninja Gaiden 2 on the 360?  To me, the first game is still hands down the best action game of this ilk that I've played in terms of challenge and fun.

DiverseGamer
DiverseGamer

Sad to hear the plot is predictable and lame. :(

Godlikan
Godlikan

Ninja Blade is better then this one and it got lover score...

blamix99
blamix99

8.5? lol.. this game deserves 7.5. its so exaggerate,. very short too ended the gane in 6 hours

sinclairhxc
sinclairhxc

@CaptainNimoyi wouldn't worry.  i beat it the other day and had very little trouble with camera issues.  there may have been a moment or two where i'd be like "damn it" or something, but not enough for me to sit their and say "the camera screwed me" by any means.


actually, i didn't even think about it until i saw he included the camera as a negative.

Zevvion
Zevvion

@saifssj6 It's 26GB. 22 of which are cutscenes. I'm guessing: yes.

heguain
heguain

@faizanhd Yea look at AC4 it has better graphics and big world But only 23gb :/

Weird..

nl_skipper
nl_skipper

@faizanhd Do people seriously bitch about game size still, even now with the onset of high resolution textures and very high speed internet, and 1TB HDD's that only cost $30...

faizanhd
faizanhd

@robertcain 

What is "canon" ? It means it fits into the main plot. The GAME is a spin-off. The STORY fits into the main plot. For example : There is no game where you play as Liquid snake right ? But his background and story is canon isn't it ?

justinka777
justinka777

@ShimmerMan the only point of the fox blade was to blast through everything like a bull in a fine china shop. its fun for a little but no one gets this game because they want it to be easy.

justinka777
justinka777

@croxus play the game and find out!....... ok fine ill just tell you, those are not heels they are like grips for his feet so he ( in certain combos) can make solder blends wielding the blade with his feet.

CaveManCobb
CaveManCobb

@RobDev He is more than half machine and by the end of the game they do fix his eye. The eye bandana thing he has over it during the course of the game is better than an eye though. 

CarnivaleClown
CarnivaleClown

@kidflash2000 Just have to point out that words can have more than one meaning. The definition you are referring to actually refers to killing 1 out of 10 persons. It does not mean to reduce anything by a tenth; only a group of people.

justinka777
justinka777

@jinzo9988 well first problem you have is not owning a playstation to play Sigma 2, because that one was the best. after that I don't know its in my opinion a close second....... well not real close. but it is second In my book.

zrex2metagor
zrex2metagor

@Godlikanninja blade was a cool game but......kinda creepy........all those huge slimey worms and godzilla sized centipedes that you had to kill kinda made me wanna throw up....gameplay was awesome though

Pukshd
Pukshd

@blamix99Have you already heard that old phrase: Quality over quantity?

Zevvion
Zevvion

@sinclairhxc @CaptainNimoy I don't agree with this. Revengeance is actually my GOTY of 2013. I really, really liked it. But the only drawback it has are the poor camera. I haven't experienced a game that featured a worse camera than this, although I haven't played many shitty games in this genre. It's definitely worse than Darksiders 2 though. Camera priority seems to be locking in on Raiden all the time. If you're up against a wall, you're screwed. It'll just show Raiden and the wall, not your enemies. It does this constantly. 


Although, I have figured the game out enough by now to avoid that stuff reliably.

robertcain
robertcain

@faizanhd @robertcain My point is that at the end of Metal Gear Solid 4, Raiden was clearly shown to be completely done with combat and being used by his superiors. He has a family now so therefore the story in Revengeance should not be official canon, but a spin-off story.

cip_raziel
cip_raziel

@gamefreak215jd@cip_razielWell that's a matter of preferences, I played most of the game with a gamepad, but I did tried keyboard too because for me sometimes it's better, more precise plus it has a dedicated dodge button, but using blade mode with a mouse is terrible, most you can do are just vertical and horizontal slashes, so yea...keyboard and mouse are decent, no great.

Warlord_Irochi
Warlord_Irochi

@CarnivaleClownComes from the Roman empire military; it was a measurement against mutiny (as a punishment for the whole group.), So technically the definition you say is correct. Nowadays is commonly used aside from the "1 out of 10" background :)

CarnivaleClown
CarnivaleClown

Apparently it is of great debate on whether or not decimate means reduce by a tenth. Eh, I think in today's world, using "decimate" in that fashion just sounds out of place. "I am going to decimate this sandwich! You want the 90% that's left?" 

robertcain
robertcain

@Buck_Swaggler @robertcain @faizanhdRevengeance takes place four years AFTER MGS4 which allowed the developer to bring in more futuristic tech for the gameplay. Platinum Games wanted a more over-the-top vibe so they made the plot of Revengeance a spin-off rather than canon.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance More Info

First Release on Feb 19, 2013
  • PC
  • PlayStation 3
  • Xbox 360
Metal Gear Solid Rising Revengeance is set in the near future where cyborg technology has become commonplace throughout society. As the world plunges further into asymmetric warfare, the only path that leads Raiden forward is rooted in resolving his past, and carving through anything that stands in his way.
7.8
Average User RatingOut of 1217 User Ratings
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Developed by:
PlatinumGames
Published by:
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Genres:
Open-World, Adventure, Action, 3D
Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
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Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language