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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Review: 'Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance' - Split Into Pieces

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a strange beast. On one end you have a crisp hack 'n slash game that rarely ceases to impress. A combination of developers Kojima Productions and Platinum Games, it's really no surprise that the gameplay itself exists at such a high level.

On the other hand you have a weak story, enemies that can be conquered by simply moving to the next checkpoint, and a camera that makes you want to 'Blade Mode' the television screen. Making the story even more unbearable is the horrible pacing, brought on by random cell phone calls and drawn out dialogue.

Luckily for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance the only important piece to this puzzle is the gameplay. And hot damn is it fun.

Not to bore with you a ton of Metal Gear lore, I'm going to keep this review short, much like the game itself. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance takes place after Metal Gear Rising 4. A bunch of cyborgs and politicians have taken over little kid brains and are harvesting them to make an army. This army is then supposed to take over the world, of course. You take control of Raiden, who has been reimagined as a cyborg samurai. His main ability: literally slice anything and everything into thousands of pieces.

If you can manage to put the story behind you and focus solely on the gameplay then you're to have a lot of fun. If you are the type of player that doesn't possess this ability then I wouldn't recommend Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance in the slightest. At its best the story is Tiger Woods post sex sandal.

If you've played either of Platinum Games' most recently well-known titles Bayonetta or Vanquish then you already have a pretty good idea of how the combat is set up. It's fast, crisp, bright, and once mastered never gets old. Raiden's main move is known as 'Blade Mode' and is initiated by simply holding the left bumper/L1 once your gauge is full. What happens next is mind-boggling, in that the entire action sequence slows down allowing you to slice the enemy into hundreds of pieces.

This works on everything from garbage cans to helicopters to cyborg machines.

Apparently each cyborg has a power core that's shaped like a spine as well. You can replenish Raiden's health by entering 'Blade Mode', slicing the enemy in half, grabbing the spine and crushing it with your hands. This unlocks electrolytes, which if we have learned anything from the southern scientists behind Gatorade, are incredibly important for your health. You can also slice off the left arm of certain cyborgs which can then be traded in for upgrades.

It's an incredible gameplay mechanic that honestly never fails to satiate the need for vengeance. Or in this case, revengeance.

You can hack 'n slash your opponents while Ninja Sprinting as well, bringing the action to them faster than ever. Combinations of light and heavy attacks soar across the screen in blinding fashion, all the while keeping tally of your total hit, kill, and pieces count. You're also graded on your performance, which will give the obsessive-compulsive gamers out there a reason to revisit.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is nothing more than a really fun game to play. It's not going to steal your heart with a riveting Nicholas Sparks-esque story. There isn't a ton of character depth and hidden items to be found. It's a point-A to point-B type of adventure where the protagonist has a very sharp sword and a serious attitude problem.

It's also incredibly short, lasting me just over four hours, which could easily be cut with a second playthrough (no pun intended).

If you're a fan of Bayonetta, Vanquish, or any Metal Gear Solid game then it's definitely worth a try. Is it worth picking up for $59.99? I would advise against it. At least until you give it a try first. The only real reason behind that is due to its length and lack of replay value. Definitely worth a rent though.

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