‘Rising’ Is Action Gamer’s Dream

Courtesy of Konami

Courtesy of Konami

“Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance” is the latest exceptional action game from Platinum Games. It is a highly concentrated experience that is as crazy and ridiculous as it is intense and rewarding.

“Revengeance” is the sequel to “Metal Gear Solid 4,” but you don’t need to be familiar with the series to appreciate “Revengeance’s” over-the-top action. The game stars Raiden, the hero of “Metal Gear Solid 2” who was turned into a cyborg ninja in “Metal Gear Solid 4.” Being able to control the incredibly deadly cyborg ninja is the central appeal of “Revengeance.”

As you slice and dice your way through hordes of cyborgs and Metal Gears, you will constantly be struck by how gorgeous the game is. The “Revengeance’s” gameplay is wicked fast, with limbs and sparks flying in every direction. More often than not, the camera captures the action from really dynamic angles, which makes the carnage even more exciting in both the gameplay and cutscenes.

Controlling Raiden is both easy and slightly frustrating at the same time. Basic attacks with your katana are simply divided between light and strong. While it is easy to go on the offensive and look awesome while doing so, the defensive options in “Revengeance” are a little tricky because they are not immediately intuitive. Instead of being mapped to a designated button or stick as in most modern action games, both Raiden’s counter and dodge ability are linked in part to the light attack button.

In order to counter, you have to push the left joystick toward an enemy who is attacking and also hit the light attack button. As a result, it is really easy to begin the counter motion when you don’t want to, but you will get used to it eventually. Raiden’s unlockable dodge move, on the other hand, is not so easy to perform and never really feels great to use. Since you can get punished severely for misusing it, the dodge move is not as reliable as the counter.

Raiden’s most unique abilities are linked to Blade Mode. In Blade Mode, time slows down, and you can begin precision cutting with Raiden’s blade to chop off individual limbs or slash like a madman and reduce enemies to bits. Nearly every enemy has a spinal cord that, once revealed, can be ripped out and crushed to completely refill Raiden’s energy meters. Both the spine-removing Zan-Datsu technique and Blade Mode never get old largely because they are so visually exciting.

While the standard foes you face are really entertaining, especially due to their variety, your mastery of combat is really challenged in “Revengeance’s” boss battles. I didn’t care for the some of the bosses’ personalities, but all of the fights are really unique encounters that are a lot of fun.

Other classic “Metal Gear” staples don’t fare as well as the boss battles. Stealth and pacifism are feasible and even encouraged in the codec conversations, but doing so greatly clashes with the gameplay’s pacing. Similarly, certain philosophical ramblings fall flat when viciously ripping foes apart.

Occasional tonal issues aside, my only real complaint with “Revengeance” is its brief length. The game is roughly five hours long, which is pretty short compared to most modern action games. Since the game was so much fun throughout, I really wish there was more to the main campaign. There is definitely fun to be had in playing again on higher difficulties, mastering the unlockable AR missions and listening to all of the codec conversations, but I was still sad to see it end so soon.

Even with a few quirks and shortcomings, I was greatly impressed with “Revengeance.” I sincerely hope there will be a sequel.

Recommended: If you enjoy action games, definitely play “Revengeance.”