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Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review

  • First Released Feb 19, 2013
  • Reviewed Feb 19, 2013
  • X360
  • PS3

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

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. Though Revengeance has addictive combat and a killer sense of style, it's unfortunate that the simplicity of its 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 spies a repair unit that's ripe for the picking.
Raiden spies a repair unit that's ripe for the picking.

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 is 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.

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.

I may not always dress like an astronaut, but when I do, I carry a giant electrified mallet.
I may not always dress like an astronaut, but when I do, I carry a giant electrified mallet.

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 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 in order to take another crack at the challenge, but the payoff is worth it in the end.

Your accuracy and timing in blade mode are 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?

Raiden unleashes his true nature.
Raiden unleashes his true nature.

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.

It may not be traditional, but swinging a sword with your leg is surprisingly effective.
It may not be traditional, but swinging a sword with your leg is surprisingly effective.

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. 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.

Back To Top
The Good
The fast-paced combat excites your reflexes
Depth and complexity 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
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

About the Author

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.
207 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
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Avatar image for lars35

great game, but the sons of Liberty is the best:)

Avatar image for ropumar

Video Review is a SPOILER.


Avatar image for DiverseGamer

This game is a turd that feeds off the success and story of the MGS franchise itself.

Avatar image for mirage_so3

I loved this game. Story was horrible however. I watched it the first time, then proceeded to play through all the difficulties while skipping all cutscenes.

Avatar image for mickomania

Making a new style of game with Raidens character is a good idea .... using 'Metal Gear' in the title of that game is not. Its misleading and stinks of cashing in on a popular name. Every other game in the 'Metal Gear' series has the same distinct style and gameplay, but not this one. It should be called something else because its not related to the metal gear series.

Avatar image for zeca04

@mickomania "Yay, im one more of those thousands idiots who cant see this is Metal Gear RISING, not Metal Gear SOLID!" There, this is a quickier way to say what you said.

Avatar image for bksonic123

Completed it yesterday. Wow, what a game. Loved every second of it.

Avatar image for Aaronp2k

this is raiden's story, even in mgs4 raiden was super bad ass cyborg ninja pulling off incredible feats that no man alive would be capable of today. this game simply lets the metal gear fan experience what it would be like to play as the new bad-ass raiden and not the uninteresting raiden from mgs2. anyone who buys this game expecting metal gear solid is an idiot, however anyone who buys this game to experience raiden's combat is going to be very pleased with the game.

Avatar image for iskandarzul

Oh Lord please enlighten all these whiny and self-righteous gamers here. Cannot you read that it says Metal Gear RISING, not SOLID? Can't you understand that Kojima himself said that this is a spinoff-knockoff from the MGS series? What's wrong with creating a whole new game with a whole new combat system for a good and full of potential character? Is it a sin? Guys?

Then you whine about the length of the game. You said that the campaign is super short thus put this game as thrash material. Around 6 hours and you will finish the campaign. You compare this game with skyrim. Damn son, it's like you're comparing a soup with a burger. Those two are completely different type of games you idiot. You want to play a hack and slash game for 100 hours where the only action you can do in that game is...hack n slash, you'll be dead boring when it reached 10 hours. No kidding man, just think. Some games are almoust boundless and limitless, some are linears. Try to search the market, is there any hack and slash game that require 10-15 hours to finish it? I doubt so. Even the legendary DMC series have the average 8 hours at most to finish it's campaign.

And for those whiny gamers here who cannot seem to understand the concept of 'cultural differences', then just hide in your room and play COD/Battlefield/Darksiders all the time ok. Japanese games have their own characteristics and styles, western games have their own's. Why can't we just enjoy both? Is there a need to bash and degrade any Japanese games just because you don't like the 'pretty face-not bulky-overthetop action' heroes in those games, even you have not even tried them yet? Seriously you need to have some socializing to do.

Bottom line- please, gamers. Be matured.

Avatar image for mickomania

@iskandarzul Making a new style of game with Raidens character is a good idea .... using 'Metal Gear' in the title of that game is not. Its misleading and stinks of cashing in on a popular name. Every other game in the 'Metal Gear' series has the same distinct style and gameplay, but not this one. It should be called something else because its not related to the metal gear series.

Avatar image for Aaronp2k

@iskandarzul I actually prefer jrpg's a lot more than most games out there. they have much more creative art styles and stories. some of the stories may be a bit weird, may require a very wild imagination to enjoy, but as long as you have that you are set.

Avatar image for speed-sword

Darksiders 1 and 2 are pretty long.
Catsltvania LOS is like 15hrs at least.

Avatar image for komuchen

@iskandarzul Is there something wrong with Darksiders? I didn't know that.

But I agree with that part about whining "it's not metal gear solid" - derr, it wasn't even meant to be. Although I would love it if there was no stealth AT ALL, because it blows. And DMC4 was longer than 8 hours.

Also, Rising takes 6 hours... on normal or easy. If you want something longer, play on hard from the get go, you will not be dissapointed. But then there would be kids whining like that something called review of The Wonderful 101 no ignthat "itz too hard, were ma pay to wiiiiiin".

But what is funny is that people moan about 6 hrs in this game, even though something like, say, Dishonored takes 10 hours on first try.

Avatar image for cainetao11

Anybody that complains about lack of sneaking in this game needs to stop gaming. It is the best hack n slash since Ninja Gaiden imo. and I love that mg can branch out to other genres

Avatar image for mr_azim

@cainetao11 Did you hear that? I think it was the sound of everyone facepalm'ing after reading your post.

Avatar image for rgnoslrdjhio

@mr_azim @cainetao11 The faceplaming is actually after reading your post.

Avatar image for Darkmoone1

@mr_azim @cainetao11

No u.

Avatar image for iamgeek_net

I really liked this game, made me feel like a real genuine badass when playing. Have a little review of our own here please check it out and let us know what you think! Keep up the good work guys!

Avatar image for Aaronp2k

@iamgeek_net the best games are the games that make you feel bad ass. like when you kill that big extremely difficult boss in demons/dark souls and think ye i kicked his ass lol.

Avatar image for disneyskate

Dmc anyone?

Avatar image for mr_azim

It's basically a fake/wannabe Devil May Cry..... but it's "Make Snake Cry"

Avatar image for sheytoonak

hey guys,worth to buy or not????No Sneaking???

Avatar image for VitaminC28

@sheytoonak If you're into hack and slash esque games then buy. The stealth is there as (what I feel) an optional thing.

Avatar image for Arsyad00


Avatar image for von_ira

I just bought the game yesterday. Played it for about an hour since. So far, so good. I'm not a fan of hack and slash games but MGR changed my perspective. Let's see if the "fun" times would dwindle as I play the game more. :-)

Avatar image for Shub-Niggurath

I liked the game at first. The challenging boss fights and the intense gameplay that requires the right amount of finesse to execute to its fullest were very alluring to me and kept the title from getting repetitive. However, the $60 price tag for a 4 hour story (my official clear time was 4 hours and 5 minutes) was hardly worth it. I was satisfied with the game until it ended after so little.

Avatar image for Aaronp2k

@Shub-Niggurath looks like i made the right move waiting for it to come to playstation plus then. I look forward to playing it anyhow, no matter how short it is.

Avatar image for BigB-65

A little short and easy, yes, but realy fun. Infact, so fun that you'll want to play it again and again and again. I recommend it to both Metal Gear fans and newcomers alike. It was an exciting experience with some truly memorable moments.

Can't wait to play the sequel!

Avatar image for Techmaster666

A few minions, a few minions, boss. A few minions, a few minions, a few minions, boss.
Boss fights are awesome (nothing new, but really cool).

Ken's Rage has more moves, more available characters, more customization and a better story (too bad you already know it) and it has never been reviewed here. (I'm not saying Ken's Rage isn't boring, just that it has more stuff than MGR).

Many people accuse Lollipop Chainsaw of being boring, repetitive and so on. I managed to finish it because it was self ironic... instead I couldn't play MGR for more than 2 hours before getting bored.

MGR got the same score as No More Heroes 2... imho there's no comparison. If NMH2 is worth 8.5, MGR worths 7-7.5. Most of MGR's score comes from the graphic, otherwise it would worth 6.5 at best.

Thank you Konami for making another beat'em up, we really needed more. Next time please make an FPS or a 3rd person adventure, keep helping the genres the other companies have forgotten.

Avatar image for kratospete

it's funny how 360 users complains "thisis not a MGS game" when so far MGR is the only MG game available on 360 lol

Avatar image for rene9ade520

@kratospete Just cause they are 360 users doesn't mean they never had a Nintendo, MG's original home. Even the original XBox got a pretty hefty port of MGS2. However, I haven't plaid through MGR yet. I loved the demo though and plan on getting it.

Avatar image for Frankenstrat247

@kratospete Aside from the HD collection, you mean

Avatar image for kratospete

@Frankenstrat247 @kratospete Shit!

Avatar image for wizardboyus

DMC may have had a decent story and strong campaign, but when it comes to the combat i have to say that MGR tops it. platinum games just knows how to make amazing action games, i think i even like it better than bayonetta! sure the story and environments aren't top notch, but i'm happy that the combat mechanics and frames per second are so solid & great. i've been playing on normal since i bought it, and i have to say that i've spent probably 8 hours on the game..and i just got ripper mode. not sure how much longer the game is but i think i have two bosses left to fight. if you choose to skip out on content, then of course you're gonna get the impression of a weaker, and more transparent type game. i've barely even touched the codec, but now i'm interested in replaying w/ regular codec conversations because the few i've had so far seem to match the MGS tone and aesthetics. don't condemn the game about lacking narrative depth or the spirit of MGS if you're just gonna cruise through without looking underneath the surface.

Avatar image for Sophie_Madison

Ultimately, the only two things that bother me in incredible proportions about Metal Gear Rising are the tedious camera and the hordes of imbeciles still not being able to understand that this game is not metal gear solid, but metal gear rising (a solid yet very short beat them all).
I am convinced most of the rage oozing out from those countless threads on the internet is related to furious gamers who cannot read or who you have pretty high ambitions... about a game that is NOT what they think it is... that is to say, NOT A BLOODY METAL GEAR SOLID GAME, BUT JUST A METAL GEAR RISING REVENGEANCE BEAT THEM ALL GAME, Jesus lord almighty... How tiresome it must be...

Avatar image for philMcCrevis

8.5 is their goto score when they are on the hook for advertising revenue with big publishers. they did it with Diablo 3 as well. only Kevin Van O has the balls to stepup and put a game in its place. The rest of the clowns are hacks. If i had to guess, i would say publishers specifically request a reviewer cause I know damn well they realize the game is a cash grab POS before it goes to press and don't want KVO pulling the sheets off their secret.

At least Carolyn Petit was respectful enough to discuss the scoring of Diablo 3 with me and explain the limitations of her review. essentially, her review depth ended where the issues with the game began. To her point, the reviewers are on the hook for a lot of games and can't put 100 hours into every title. I respect Carolyn enough to buy that for the Diablo 3 review. But this hack is at very clear odds with the gaming community on a title that displayed its flaws and compromises well intime to document them and thus impact the score.

it goes like this - Kevin Van O will give it to you str8 without regard to anything beyond the truth of a titles merits. With an exception here and there of course, everyone else at Gamespot is too chicken chit to score an AAA title with transparency

Avatar image for SkyAboveThePort

@philMcCrevis No need to guess, it's in the Gamespot t&c. No publisher can choose their reviewer. In fact they wouldn't know who's doing it, until it's done.

Avatar image for karnage27

Starts with a bang and then slowly fades, finished game in five hours on hard and i am shocked i paid for this game when it offers very little and just repeats, an insult to gamers and fans of the series and no way is it a 8.5 game.

Review of this game is bullshit, Konami must be lining his pockets with money.

poor game, its deserves a 5.

Avatar image for horizoniki

@karnage27 let me guess.. you never used the codec. oh dear, you've missed a DAMN LOT of content. At some points the game goes the same deep as RPGs like Deus Ex in terms of plot self-explanatory, characters and kojima-like attention to tiny-little details we all love about MGS.

Avatar image for nobbsie86

well over-rated ,terrible flimsy combat .. awful script and voice acting don't see how this gets reviewed better than dmc... strange.

Avatar image for rene9ade520

@nobbsie86 I played the demo of MGR and thought it showed some real potential. Played DMC and was left feeling bored and uninspired. Only thing I liked about DMC was the changing environments and the new setting....which, though the setting was decent, the levels themselves felt like a dated platformer to me. I feel like DMC fell behind a generation or two. Then again, never been a big fan of the DMC series. I guess I did like this recent installment a slight bit better then its predecessors.

Avatar image for Frankenstrat247

@nobbsie86 "terrible flimsy combat"? Have you even played the game?

Avatar image for nobbsie86

@Frankenstrat247 @nobbsie86 i have for about 3 hours which from what i've read is roughly half the game! and thats my opinion . crap.

Avatar image for lmaginaryNumber

looks a lot like ninja gaiden...yeah?

Avatar image for rene9ade520

@lmaginaryNumber Yeah, I thought it played a little like Ninja Gaiden, but with cooler physics, better graphics, and a MG theme. Not a bad thing though. Well...less you mean Gaiden 2, really wasn't very big on that one.

Avatar image for wizardboyus


Avatar image for stephenage

Love the game, great review.

Avatar image for bluespire1

Over rated didn't like the demo not metal gear more like vanquish...

Avatar image for DarrenDVG

The game is awesome.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance More Info

  • First Released Feb 19, 2013
    • Android
    • Macintosh
    • + 3 more
    • 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.
    Average Rating1320 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
    Developed by:
    PlatinumGames, TransGaming Inc.
    Published by:
    NVIDIA, Konami
    Adventure, Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language