Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance review

  • Revengeance feels like a Metal Gear game
  • The flashy, stylish action
  • The slew of extras that will keep you coming back for more
  • The lack of character development for the boss villains
  • The unreliable parrying system
  • The barebones environments

Metal Gear's most memorable moments are typically hands-off. Watching Snake exhibit his close quarters combat skills or Ocelot spin his revolvers like a supernatural juggler makes the espionage action--no matter how tactical--feel dull in comparison. But the flair of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance's gameplay goes toe-to-toe with that of its cutscenes. Every press of a button yields a near-divine level of flash as Raiden slashes with his sword, dancing around the battlefield in a wild display of style. Even when Revengeance falters, the spectacle of its action quickly disembowels any concerns generated by its few shortcomings.

Platinum Games' action-heavy take on Kojima Productions' Metal Gear series is a mostly faithful addition to the franchise, and it's littered with the things that Kojima faithful have come to love. An exclamation point sprouts from the heads of alerted enemies; lengthy codec conversations and cinematic sequences punctuate the action; bosses yammer on and on about political ideologies before dueling you to the death; and you can even hide in boxes to stay hidden from foes.

These nods aren't just tossed in purely for fan service, either. They're often the punchline of jokes that highlight how silly some Metal Gear tropes really are. You'll crack a smile once Raiden finds a cardboard box to hide under, but upon doing so a brief codec conversation with one of his accomplices points out just how ridiculous it is for a badass cyborg ninja to stow away in a crate of medical supplies. You'll really get a sense of the playful, collaborative relationship between Platinum Games and KojiPro thanks to these delightful wisecracks. At times they make Revengeance seem like a Metal Gear parody, but the laced laughs are right at home within the scope of its over-the-top personality.

"You'll really get a sense of the playful, collaborative relationship between Platinum Games and KojiPro..."

Revengeance takes itself seriously when it needs to, though. The central plot revolves around the agenda of Desperado Enforcement, a seemingly evil private military company obsessed with reigniting worldwide conflict after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. There's plenty of commentary here surrounding the prevalence of cyborgs in Revengeance's fiction--eventually Raiden is forced to acknowledge that most of the enemies he kills, while enhanced by robotic technology, are still human--and the narrative takes some surprisingly dark turns. The drama isn't quite on par with the conspiracy-riddled (and often convoluted) Metal Gear plots penned by Hideo Kojima, but the story is a great vehicle for moving from battle to battle--and this is where Revengeance shines the brightest.

Combat reaches previously inconceivable levels of over-the-top, where the tamest thing you will do is slice a giant robot into at least one hundred pieces. Basic attack combos, while flashy and fun, are lacking in variety--but the real highlight is Blade Mode. Using it slows things down, giving you ample time to slice enemies at any angle, cutting straight through them in the process. Even after multiple playthroughs, Blade Mode is such a novel concept that it never becomes dull; there's nothing quite like ending a lengthy throwdown with an armored Gekko by sliding underneath it, activating Blade Mode, and gracefully turning its legs into shrapnel while maintaining your slide.

"...Blade Mode is such a novel concept that it never becomes dull."

It's not an overpowered mechanic, either, because all but the most basic of enemies require you to beat 'em up for a while before they can be insta-killed. But surviving the hack 'n slash phase can be extremely taxing. You'll have to rely on parries if you hope to endure, as there's no easier alternative for deflecting incoming damage. Unfortunately, the parrying control scheme leaves room for a lot of error. Even when you think you've nailed it perfectly, you might find Raiden on the receiving end of a devastating attack.

Though battles are fantastic, the same can't be said for the environments in which they take place. You'll frequently feel like you're running through generic locations devoid of all but a handful of things to kill and some environmental decorations that can be cut into bits just for the hell of it. Most of them at least give you plenty of space to move around in, but too often do they feel like a barebones playbox.

"...too often do [environments] feel like a barebones playbox."

A bigger disappointment, however, is that many of Revengeance's cast of villains is almost just as bland. Rarely is there any buildup for these encounters; you'll meet most bosses for the first time moments before cutting them down. This feels like a huge missed opportunity for character development and establishment, especially when compared to the stellar villain track record of previous Metal Gear games. Emerging victorious after grueling battles with woefully underdeveloped antagonists just isn't all that meaningful or rewarding.

That's not to say that fighting them isn't awesome, though, as boss encounters will test every ounce of your skill (and happen to the backdrop of some really incredible music). Even when you're not facing off against the primary cast of villains, you'll have to take on hulking robotic monstrosities. Within the first hour you'll fight a Metal Gear Ray mano a mano, slashing away at its armor until it launches about two dozen missiles at you--at which point you'll hop along said missiles like a series of stepping stones before slicing the mechanized beast cleanly in half. You'll be in control of Raiden for most of such encounters, with a dose of QTEs thrown in during the more cinematic sections of a long winded fight. But no matter the method of your input, everything on screen will make you feel like the biggest badass on the planet because you're making it happen.

"...everything on screen will make you feel like the biggest badass on the planet..."

There's a ton to keep you coming back for more after you've finished the game, too. Levels are rife with hidden collectibles, and the vast number of unlockable perks--including new combos, weapons, and passive upgrades--are great incentives for replaying levels in an attempt to obtain an 'S' completion rank. And, in typical Metal Gear fashion, there are several VR Missions perfect for testing your mettle if you're looking for a new challenge.

The collaborative efforts of Platinum Games and Kojima Productions culminate in an absurdly exciting action game grounded in the Metal Gear universe. Revengeance is unapologetic in the way it indulges your greatest power fantasies, often doing so with such a grandiose display of style that you'll be unable to wipe that ever-present smile from your face. It's fast, flashy, and fun--and it's easy to excuse Revengeance's hiccups when even the simplest battles rival the best cutscenes in any previous Metal Gear.

This game was reviewed on Xbox 360 and PS3.


More Info

Release date: Feb 19 2013 - Xbox 360, PS3
Jan 09 2014 - PC (US)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Genre: Action
Published by: Konami
Developed by: Kojima Productions
Franchise: Metal Gear
ESRB Rating:
Mature: Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language
PEGI Rating:
Rating Pending

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  • Nikku7 - February 19, 2013 8:53 p.m.

    If it's like the demo, the parrying system was not really bad at all once you got the hang of it. I found it quite satisfying when pulled off correctly as well.
  • shawksta - February 19, 2013 4:59 p.m.

  • RedHarlow - February 19, 2013 2:38 p.m.

    Watching the video review.... RAYDEN? RYEDEN! IT'S PRONOUNCED RYEDEN!
  • Sjoeki - February 19, 2013 1:54 p.m.

    So how long would a single playthrough take? I understand it has enough replay value but if I see the credits rolling after 5 or 6 hours I usually feel robbed. A little head's up would be nice.
  • GR_RyanTaljonick - February 19, 2013 2:12 p.m.

    It takes about 6-8 hours to finish
  • MeanwhileGuy - February 19, 2013 9:47 a.m.

    I'd say that an essential part of the game (the parrying system) being completely unreliable is a serious flaw, and the fact that it's visuals (aside from the pre-rendered cutscenes) are utterly outdated, means that this game in no way deserves anything above a 7. Just because it's Platinum doesn't mean it's good. Look at the shitty job they did with porting Bayonetta to the PS3. I'll be avoiding this on the basis of the mainstream gaming press, yet again, ignoring serious issues in favour of giving the game an undeserved high score.
  • GR_RyanTaljonick - February 19, 2013 10:41 a.m.

    The parrying system's problems were adequately addressed - it's unreliable, but not game breaking. As for the visuals, Revengeance looks great even out of cutscenes.
  • BladedFalcon - February 19, 2013 11:30 a.m.

    ...And you say this without playing the game yourself, so how the fuck do you know if it's deserved or not? Your entire comment screams that you haven't even touched the demo, yet you're making assertions left and right as if you had already beaten the game.. Obviously, you're just hellbent on not liking the game, but it frankly sounds like it stems more out of irrational prejudices rather than actual experience or facts, don't blame the press for your own idiocy.
  • MeanwhileGuy - February 19, 2013 4:50 p.m.

    Ok, I have played the demo, and if it hasn't changed from that then I'd say it's not worth buying. And you absolutely can't say i didn't play the demo; I wrote a VERY lengthy analysis of it, which I would link to, but I don't want to risk the wrath of the moderator gods. Besides, I did find the parry system to be really aggravating, and incredibly cumbersome to use. Plus if you take a look at the textures at even a remotely close distance, they look incredibly flat, and certainly not up to 2013 standards. Compare the game to something like Uncharted or Halo 4, you'll see what I mean. All I meant by the press thing was what I always say: form your own opinions instead of taking reviews as dogma. I found that some areas of the game had serious problems, which I was hoping would be addressed by the professionals instead of having to write it on my blog. You can't say that the lighting for the game isn't flat, and that the urban environments (at least the bland corridor presented in the demo) weren't almost empty aside from the scripted enemy encounters. The entire thing just felt like a funnel, which MGS simply isn't known for. I'm simply trying to present a reasonable response as to why I felt the game fails on a couple of fundamental levels (seriously, would a dodge roll or dedicated block button have been that bad?), I'm not attacking the game or the review (this is my favourite gaming site, as the reviews are usually absolutely spot on), so I wouldn't expect to be attacked in return. It's simply my opinion, and to me the game needed a bit more dev time, just to get it closer to what we saw at E3 2011, because that looked like a great game.
  • BladedFalcon - February 19, 2013 5:14 p.m.

    Yes, a great game of which you saw only a couple of seconds of, no one ever actually got hands on on it, and was SO Fundamentally flawless, that Foxhound team didn't totally scrap it because they couldn't figure out how to make an actual, functional game out of it *rolls eyes* And I'm glad you played the demo, and yes, forming your own opinions is the best way to go about it, and it's exactly what I've done as well. Yes, the game isn't the prettiest nor the most detailed graphically, but it's not meant to be an exploration game, it's meant to be an ACTION game, which means the focus is in the actual combat, making sure the flow is fast and accurate, and that the enemies gets sliced satisfactorily when cut by a blade. You're not meant to stop and watch if the light pole nearby has detailed rust textures or not. And so, the parrying system. The game is trying something different, but instead of adapt and try to actually get the system, you instead bitch and moan that they didn't fall back on the usual tropes they used in the past. Obviously, they could have added a dodge button if they wanted to, but decided not to because they wanted the player to actually try and master their new system. I CAN understand if you don't like it, that's fine. But again, as someone who HAS played the demo numerous times, and has formed his own opinion, I actually heavily disagree with the review here, for me, the parrying system not only does work just fine, it's can be actually very forgiving once you get the hang of it. And I like the feeling of it. Bottom line, yes it's fine to form your own opinions, but when doing so, then be careful with how you say it because then, you risk sounding like a pompous ass. " I'll be avoiding this on the basis of the mainstream gaming press, yet again, ignoring serious issues in favour of giving the game an undeserved high score." This quote, by the way, definitely sounds like you're attacking the review, and making it sound like it's not trustworthy, it also makes it sound like you know what games actually deserve more than everyone else. Is what I'm getting at.
  • MeanwhileGuy - February 20, 2013 12:28 a.m.

    Well obviously I'm not a professional journalist, but I like to think I know what a decent game looks like (though personal judgement is obviously subjective. Example: I can't stand Gears of War, but like The Force Unleashed II). And I'm in no way calling MGR a bad game, it's good, I was impressed with various elements of the demo (the cutscenes and the overall Metal Gear feel, as well as the perfectly smooth 60fps, which shows just how well Platinum have taken to the PS3 tech), but to me it's just not as great as other reviews are making it out to be. In my mind it's more of a 7, which is still a very good score, as people seem to have sadly forgotten, so I'll probably pick it up a few months down the line, as I don't really want to pay £40 full-price for a game with a 4-6 hour campaign (according to other sites), excluding VR missions. I get that it's purely an action game, and Platinum are up there with the best, and the combat does flow seamlessly when you manage to get multiple attacks in at once (carving up Gekko was incredibly satisfying after spending so long hiding from them in MGS4), I just couldn't adjust to the parry system within the brief time the demo allotted. Maybe it'll be different when I play the full game, who knows? I'm certainly hoping it'll suddenly click and I'll be able to enjoy the rest of the game. But I can't help shake the memory of the empty urban environments, and the basic running and jumping almost felt like they belonged on PS2. Maybe the demo was just a poor representation of the finished product, I don't know, but it just didn't feel like a great game to be. A good one, yes, but deserving of 8's, 9's and even a couple of 10's? No, not to me. And yeah, that does sound fairly aggressive, but that did come after reading about 15 very high-scoring reviews and feeling frustrated when my favourite site does the same, even with mentioning the parrying system and visuals. But I can't help but think that the parrying system could have been implemented a little better, I love the idea of it, as it forces players to adapt to a steep learning curve and play more tactically, instead of button mashing, but I would've loved a dedicated button for it, and have the combat be a quasi-hybrid of traditional hack n' slash and the more timing-based Arkham City approach. Now that would've been amazing. Yes, I know that the E3 2011 demo was essentially a tech demonstration, but I still would have liked to play that game. The physics and animations looked better, and Raiden's basic movement looked like it flowed more than Platinum's animations. I understand the reasons for Koj handing it over though, as if he'd continued with the game it most likely would have fallen short of expectations, and I'd rather see a good Metal Gear game from a different dev, rather than an occasionally brilliant one marred by technical issues and (I'm guessing) a very patch-work feel to it. So in essence what I'm saying is that I'd like to see some more grounded scores (both the official Xbox and PS magazines have given the game a 7, which I entirely agree with) that take into account a combat system which will not be to everyone's liking, and in a game based purely on making you feel like an unstoppable cyborg ninja, that does feel like a major problem.
  • BladedFalcon - February 20, 2013 5:49 a.m.

    ...Wait, so you get that personal judgment is purely subjective, yet you got frustrated because you didn't agree with the majority of the gaming press, and you'd rather have THEM adhere to your own personal feelings of the game? How is that in any way reasonable and mature? You just acknowledged that the game did some things very well, and that it's a good game overall, but for you, it's only a 7, that's fair, that's your opinion and expressed like that, it's totally valid. But then, how does that make other people thinking better of the game any less acceptable? Obviously, a lot of others (including myself) thought that the positives far outweighed the negatives, and as such, it warranted the game to have a high score. It's difference in opinions, so again, how is that a bad thing? And actually, for me, from what I've played and from what I've seen, this game deserves higher than an 8 even, yet you didn't see me raging and calling this site or others bias because they didn't agree with me, now did you? I just don't get the mentality of "Because I think this way, EVERYONE ELSE should think like me!", seems like a very narrow, selfish way to think, at least to me.
  • BladedFalcon - February 20, 2013 5:53 a.m.

    Basically, had your original post been something along the lines of "Eh, y'know, I don't entirely agree with this review, this and this issue really bother me a lot, feels like a 7 to me." And left it at that, no one, including myself, would given you any crap about it. But the moment you start calling everyone else biased because they didn't AGREE with you, that's when you just step a line.
  • MeanwhileGuy - February 20, 2013 8:27 a.m.

    I in no way think others should think like me (if we all thought the same, debates would be SO boring), I tend to be highly opinionated, which does tend to disagree with people, hence the debacle here. And I don't want to accuse people of being biased, even though pure objectivity is impossible. Though my choice of words did kinda suck, as it was a fairly knee-jerk reaction I was having at the time. I disagree with publishers paying for reviews and positively spun press, as most sensible folk do, and I wouldn't even dream that GR would do that, because the staff obviously love games, and I usually agree with most things they post.. Let's just leave it at what you managed to sum up so nicely: "Eh, y'know, I don't entirely agree with this review, this and this issue really bother me a lot, feels like a 7 to me." Because that does accurately reflect my feelings. Apologies for causing any issues, and can we agree on Platinum being a great developer, who obviously meant well with the game.
  • BladedFalcon - February 20, 2013 10:15 a.m.

    No worries, and thank you for at least getting my point, and that we were able to end up having a rational argument in the end. Your initial reaction did rub me the wrong way, but I also admit I came in too strong, and with insults even, which is something I seriously need to learn to control ^^; But yes, agree to disagree certainly seems to be the course to go here, and I'll reserve any further opinions of the game until I can actually play it (Which hopefully will be sooner than later.)
  • MeanwhileGuy - February 20, 2013 11:29 a.m.

    Cool man. Hey look, an argument on the internet that didn't devolve into cursing and insults to the respective parties' person and sexual preference. Truly, hell has now frozen over. And as far as the game goes, I'll definitely play it when it comes down in price, and who knows? It might be a pleasant surprise and end up being great. Though speaking of Metal Gear, I'd be incredibly surprised if Ground Zeroes isn't a PS4 launch title. Bring on that press conference!
  • BladedFalcon - February 20, 2013 11:53 a.m.

    Haha, well, those kinds of arguments aren't as rare as you'd think, at least, I've found that in this site, I have a 50/50 chance on getting into an argument with someone that can end up being reasonable enough. XD And well, I'm reserving any thoughts and predictions on that next console until I see it. Mainly because I'm pretty sure I'm not going to jump into the next gen for at least 2 more years.
  • GR HollanderCooper - February 19, 2013 11:43 a.m.

  • Balaska - February 19, 2013 10:56 p.m.

    Platinum didn't port Bayonetta to the PS3.
  • Ironarm - February 19, 2013 8:56 a.m.

    This is what I've been waiting for ever since the Raiden vs. Vamp fight in MGS4 that took place as you had to kill all the Gekko's.