Hello all! Last week, I talked about how some games just get better with age.
This week, let’s talk about a loud, bombastic, over-the-top nonsense fest.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is the incongruously titled spin-off of the famed Metal Gear Solid series. You play as Raiden, but rather than the whiny Raiden from MGS 2, you’re now the possibly too badass Raiden from MGS 4. Raiden is working for a private military contractor named Maverick Securities, and a routine bodyguarding assignment quickly spirals out of control. Raiden soon finds himself fighting all sorts of increasingly kooky enemies.
It’s a departure from Solid in every conceivable way. Whereas Solid raised some questions regarding the nature of war, and was generally very philosophical, Rising features almost none of this. The game’s primarily about cutting stuff. Like, cutting all of the stuff.
Rising is a third-person action game developed by Platinum (a developer I love; I’ve written about their work time and time and time again). A running trend, at least in those three games I covered, is maximalism. Rising continues this tradition by dropping all pretense of stealth right off the bat. I mean, seriously...
...Metal Gear Ray is the first real boss. The first. And there’s crazier ones later. So crazy Kotaku’s Chris Person wrote an article about how crazy the last boss is.
Let’s touch on the gameplay for a bit, though. Rising’s a pretty standard third person hack ‘n slash. Raiden can do what you expect him to do; he can run, jump, and slash the %#$& out of whatever you feel like cutting up. Famously, the developers boasted early on that you would be able to “cut anything and everything.” While that never came to pass, you can certainly cut a whole lot of stuff.
One of the cooler things you can do is enter a slow-mo mode and cut enemies (or cars, watermelons, etc.) along specific lines with the right joystick. Slicing an enemy in the right spot at the right moment causes Raiden to rip out what I think is their cybernetically-enhanced spine (!) and crush it, healing you in the process. It also gives you points, which adds to your ranking and allows you to upgrade Raiden’s equipment. In short, from a pure gameplay standpoint, Rising doesn’t do a whole lot of unexpected stuff. But it’s a very well-designed game; it controls wonderfully, and it’s fun as hell.
But getting back to the insanity of the overall product...when I call it the opposite of Solid, I really mean this game is the complete antithesis of its namesake. It’s loud where Solid is quiet. Where you’d sneak around as Snake, you destroy everything as Raiden. Where you’d watch a two hour-plus cutscene in Metal Gear Solid 4, here you watch scenes that are maybe ten minutes (I’m estimating).
You can cut off and collect hands, because of course you can.
There are Metal Gear elements throughout Rising; there’s Codec transmissions, Kojima’s over-the-top philosophy is all over the game (mixed here with Platinum’s over-the-top sensibilities), and so on. But so little here is actually Metal Gear.
And that’s perfectly fine. It’s not supposed to be. It’s more of a different angle on Metal Gear; a kind of, “What if it was more like this?” approach. At least, I think it is.
The problem is, it’s all over much too quick. My first playthrough of Rising clocked in at just under five hours. Subsequent playthroughs, even at higher difficulties, ran shorter. To be fair, it’s a game where you’re running through at top speed, slicing all the things as fast as possible, but still, it’s a very short game. And short games seem to be a problem these days-not to mention, despite my love of Platinum games, short length kinda sorta seems to be a running theme with them (see: Vanquish, a game that’s maybe four hours long).
And I have to mention a part of the story I hate. There’s a bit where a certain villain enrages Raiden to the point where his angrier, former child soldier alter ego Jack the Ripper comes through. It’s a pretty cool part, and you get a cool Devil Trigger-esque powerup mode out of it. But here’s the thing: that story bit never resolves. Raiden gets angry, and...that’s it. The main plot continues, unaffected. I would’ve loved to see an exploration of Raiden/Jack’s mental state, but it goes ignored, sadly.
Still, the game is an absolute riot, even if it’s short as hell. I mean, if you’re a Metal Gear fan, you probably have this by now. It’s still one of the most batshit crazy games you’ll ever play. Go read that Chris Person article I linked to; the last boss is a giant robot piloted by an invincible U.S. Senator. How would you not want to play this game?
Thanks for reading my stuff! As always, leave comments, suggest future games to be featured as Game of the Week, and find me on Twitter! Also, read more of my stuff at Current Digital, and catch up with my (currently on hiatus) other article series here!
Next week, we look at a game done in a grindhouse film style that’s vastly underrated. Slow-motion two fisted gunplay, female protagonist...it’s got it all.