Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is fun, funny, and surprisingly fantastic

metal gear rising revengeance is fun funny and fantastic preview 1

After an hour of playing Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, I was ready to give up. The normal difficulty setting serves up a frequently trying level of challenge during the dull prologue that sees Raiden using his HF Blade to gradually cut apart a hulking Metal Gear. The scope and scale of the game is impressive, no question. All of those insane Metal Gear Solid 4 cutscenes that featured the cyborg ninja kicking ass are realized in Revengeance as a fully playable action title from Platinum Games. It seemed unapproachable though, with only the most basic of tutorials and no real indication of how to survive in this post-stealth Metal Gear world.

Then, everything clicked. It came late for me, during the game’s second chapter (third, if you count the prologue). After being pounded mercilessly again and again by gorilla-like Mastiff cyborgs in the sewers of a Mexican city, the unique rhythm of the game’s ever-deepening combat system finally dialed in. The challenge remains, but it’s a technical challenge that should be familiar to those who feast on the over-the-top spectacle of Platinum’s Bayonetta. Naturally.

Metal Gear fans are in for multiple shocks. The out-and-out action in Revengeance has been touted repeatedly, but it’s still jarring to consider it a good thing when you hear the “alert” tone sound while a red exclamation point pops up over an enemy’s head. There’s occasional stealth, though it is never forced. It’s also used primarily as a tool to cut down on the troop numbers that you’ll eventually, inevitably face in open combat. 

metal gear rising revengeance is fun funny and fantastic preview 2

Then there’s the surprisingly lucid narrative; an easy-to-follow tale involving a terrorist group, genetically enhanced super-soldiers, and the ever-present Metal Gear trope of private military companies.  The near-future setting in Revengeance opens on a post-Metal Gear Solid 4 world that has embraced PMCs as useful entities. Wars are fought on both sides by armies of hired contractors, and futuretech warfare is the order of the day.

There’s also some unexpected humor in Revengeance that sits at the forefront of the story. It’s dark humor to be sure, and always framed against the backdrop of a relatively dire endtimes scenario, but there’s a light heart to this Metal Gear game that is more pronounced than it has ever been in the series. Short, punchy cutscenes help keep the action flowing, but the humor keeps you riveted to the A to B narrative progression. This includes everything from Raiden’s exchanges with his pet Blade Wolf AI (a companion earned after the first chapter concludes), to taking control of a three-armed, spherical dwarf Gekko. Even the Polearm weapon picked up from an early boss is used for laughs, as it’s a literal pole made of multiple robot arms.

Everything is held together, however, by a killer set of combat mechanics. The highlight of this is, of course, the free blade feature that allows players to hold down a gamepad’s left trigger and use the right analog stick to direct the path of your cutting. Yes, it is endlessly entertaining to chop up basically anything in the game’s highly destructible environments. Free blade use is also necessary for progression in Revengeance, since you’re able to earn upgrade currency if you slice across a highlighted portion of your enemy when an on-screen meter is filled. Successfully performing this kind of finisher — which also involves a momentary QTE — is rewarded with re-filled health and free blade meters, which makes for a satisfying focus on scoring chain kills.

metal gear rising revengeance is fun funny and fantastic preview 3

Platinum Games definitely still has some work to do on polishing things up before Revengeance arrives in February 2013. The camera in particular is horrifically fiddly, spinning around and losing track of the action far too often. I struggled just as much during my preview play to maintain a view of nearby enemies as I did to master the combat mechanics. Some additional balancing would be welcome as well, with the Normal difficulty feeling just a bit too unforgiving as it currently stands.

The biggest issue, however, is the absence of of a real tutorial. The basic controls are laid out in the opening moments of the game’s prologue, but more advanced techniques — such as the Zandetsu finisher described above — are left to tutorial-focused VR missions. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that approach save for the fact that you unlock these VR missions as you play, and accessing one involves quitting out of your game and loading back to your previous checkpoint when you’re done. It’s all to easy to skip over these tutorials as you keep pressing through the early game, and frustration with the unclear mechanics is almost sure to follow.

Make no mistake: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is an exceptional game. One that many fans could ultimately come to view as Platinum Games’ best. It honors the heart of the Metal Gear series while striking out in a new mechanical direction, and the result is a thoroughly entertaining ride based on my early hours playtime. It’s not particularly user-friendly if you’re a newcomer, however, and the game in its current form runs the risk of frustrating players before everything fully “clicks.” This may or may not change prior to release, but Metal Gear fans would do well to keep that in mind as February 19 approaches.


Everything we know about 'Anthem', including new details on Javelin classes

BioWare announced an upcoming action role-playing game called 'Anthem' at EA Play 2017. Here's everything we know about the game so far, including gameplay, DLC, and when you'll be able to play it.

Feeling nostalgic? Here are the 25 best Sega Genesis games

Although the company has since fallen into obscurity, Sega was an indisputable titan throughout the '90s. That said, here are 25 best Sega Genesis games that helped define its fabled decade.

The best cheap-but-awesome PS4 game deals under $20

The PlayStation 4 has hit its stride in recent years and is now more affordable than ever. If you have a PS4 or are thinking of buying one, we’ve collected some must-have games. The best part? Each of these is just $20 or less.

Immerse yourself in a new universe with these incredible PSVR games

The PSVR has surpassed expectations and along with it comes an incredible catalog of games. There's plenty of amazing experiences to be had so we've put together a list of the best PSVR games available today.

Struggling to survive 'Battlefield 5?' Our boot camp will keep you in the fight

Battlefield V's multiplayer component can be overwhelming, but you can succeed against the enemy with a little help. These are the tips and tricks you need to know to win in Battlefield V.

What games were nominated for the The Game Awards 2018? Find out here

The Game Awards returns to Los Angeles for its fifth show this December. Here is everything we know about the event, including its location, where you can watch it, and games that were nominated.
Product Review

'Hitman 2' goes in for the kill with more of everything you love

IO Interactive and Warner Bros introduce us to ‘Hitman 2’, a sequel that embraces what made the series so unique and exceeds at delivering a more polished and complex experience.

How to Install an SSD in a PlayStation 4 or PS4 Pro

SSDs are much faster than mechanical hard drives, which is what the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 4 Pro come with. Here, we show you how to replace it with an SSD, which will allow you to boot to the OS faster and load games quicker.

Faction-based PvP, new Vault openings coming to ‘Fallout 76’ after launch

Bethesda is already hard at work on post-launch content for Fallout 76, which launches November 14 on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Faction-based PvP is in the works, and new vaults will open over time.

The best HTC Vive games available today

So you’re considering an HTC Vive, but don't know which games to get? Our list of 25 of the best HTC Vive games will help you out, whether you're into rhythm-based gaming, interstellar dogfights, or something else entirely.

‘Tetris Effect’ makes the undying classic feel new again

Tetris is a game that everyone knows. The classic puzzler has appeared on just about every device since 1984. With music and visual flourishes, Tetris Effect remarkably manages to elevate the iconic game to new heights.

Black Friday 2018: The best deals so far

Black Friday is the biggest shopping holiday of the year, and it will be here before you know it. If you can't wait until November 23 to start formulating a shopping plan, we've got you covered.

Hacker finds Steam bug that unlocks free games, collects $20K for reporting it

Security researcher Artem Moskowsky discovered a Steam bug that allowed him to generate infinite free keys for any game. Instead of abusing the exploit, Moskowsky reported it to Valve, which gave him a $20,000 reward.

‘Overwatch’ gunslinger Ashe is now available on all platforms

Blizzard announced Ashe as the latest Overwatch hero at BlizzCon 2018. The gunslinger has a history with McCree and makes use of a lever-action repeating rifle and a robotic sidekick.