Metal Gear Rising Revengeance PS3 review – A million cuts can’t stop the action
It’s extremely tricky to get your head around and properly implement, but more damning is how the game fails to inform you of how critical it is. This is because you can get through almost the entire thing without ever using it… until you come to certain boss battles, at which point you’re stuck in an exasperated loop of death, restarts, and (genuinely) pads hurled against the wall.
A couple of the headline fights are pleasingly testing and a welcome change from the normal selection of enemies, but these are overshadowed by a trio of adamantium-tough ones that – unless your brain is jacked directly into the parry system – badly sour your enjoyment. And again, it’s absolutely Platinum’s fault for not preparing you – hell, I didn’t even know there was a dodge until stumbling across it during the very last battle (it’s activated with Square + X by the way, so you needn’t suffer the same fate).
The narrative that there is involves a malevolent private military company called Desperado that murders the prime minister of an African nation and then leads a military coup. It snowballs from there as an evil multinational becomes involved and Raiden is forced to go rogue in order to try to end their operations (which we shan’t reveal here).
Yet despite our attachment to Raiden from previous Metal Gear games – Rising takes place four years after MGS4 – none of the events elicits much investment. Cut-scenes are interesting in terms of spectacle (a plane being sliced in two from nose to tail is undeniably badass) rather than intrigue, and the interminable conversations over the airwaves are made even more tedious by the fact you can only slowly lope around your immediate surroundings while they play out.
It’s perhaps a consequence of its storied development, but Revengeance never feels like a top-tier game. While thankfully the framerate is high enough for combat to flow freely, on an aesthetic basis the game is far from blue-ribbon standard. The colour palette is depressingly muted and environmental textures are unimpressive, while enemies have an annoying habit of popping into view as you approach.
It also has no nuance when it comes to stealth, which would be fine in itself – no one badmouthed Vanquish for its lack of sneaking, after all – if the game didn’t repeatedly suggest it as an approach. You can take down guards semi-silently from above, or if you get incredibly close to their back at ground level, but their positions mean that even the most careful approach usually descends into a slice-’n’-dice bloodbath.
Given that Rising could have gone the way of Eight Days and Wardevil it’s undoubtedly good to see it released, and despite not being another Metal Gear classic it’s a fun slice of balls-to-the-wall action gaming – in fact, the game is at its best when it dispenses with sense completely and embraces its inner maniac.
Sadly, the combat doesn’t have enough depth to trouble the genre’s best (it certainly can’t touch Ninja Theory’s DmC reboot), and there’s a disappointing disposability about the whole experience. This is a project that has been rightfully and respectably salvaged, but one that can’t quite cut it at the top.