"My sword can do many things.."
Four years after the fall of the Patriots, Raiden has joined a PMC to help a third world country. After a brutal ambush, Raiden is left demoralised, wounded and out for revenge, he sets out with a new cybernetic body to bring revengance to his attackers.
When I was six years old I went with my mum to my Auntie's house, I was into games then but I was stuck on a Sega Mega Drive at the time, I used to love going to my Auntie's because my cousin had a PlayStation were I could play things like Tekken, this time he was playing something new, it was a man wearing a bandana rappelling down a building whilst being attacked by a helicopter, it was called ‘Metal Gear Solid’ and it would become my favourite franchise of all time.
I grew up with this franchise; every release was important to me, with MGS1 and 4 being my favourites, when I learned my current favourite developer were making a hack n slash of it I was pumped. I went to the Crysis launch in Hull just to get it. I played through the game and was met by only disappointment.
Where do I start? How about something that shouldn’t have been an issue but was one of the most annoying things about it, The Camera. When you are outdoors its ok, but far too close to Raiden, because of this you cant see enough of what’s going on during fights, which is an issue when your only defence is through timing with the parry. Every hack n slash including ones all the ones from Platinum Games have the camera zoom out to show the entire arena so you know exactly where every enemy is, Instead it it just sticks to showing Raiden.
If you think that’s the worst part, it gets much worse as soon as you step indoors, were being even close to a wall is a death trap, during fights the camera will just freak out and get stuck on walls, reset itself, focus on the one enemy who isn’t currently attacking, you spend more time fighting the camera than fighting the actual enemies, this is the one time in any game ive played were the camera is such an issue that the game becomes stressful instead of fun.
Let’s talk about what should be considered the most important element of a Metal Gear; the plot. The plot of Metal Gear Rising is what should be described as an afterthought, this would have been a difficult plot to create as it needed to be fit smoothly the Metal Gear canon but also contain enough over the top awesome stuff to still feel like a platinum games title. Its manages to do neither. The plot fit extremely poorly into the Metal Gear universe to the point were it actually makes the efforts of characters in previous games seem pointless (which I cannot explain without spoilers). Metal Gear has always been about preventing war, the fact that wars are still raging in this game causes plot holes and ruins plot points, also the game references to things that did not happen in the Metal Gear universe and happened in reality.
The plot also does not work on a Platinum games level. The degree of awesome is simply not cranked high enough. This is the studio that made Devil May Cry, Bayonetta and Anarchy Reigns. The most epic over the top thing that happens in this games is running down the side of a church to kill a boss, which is something that happened Bayonetta. The characters are either copies of other Metal Gear characters or and people ripped from Anarchy Reigns. The game also features some bizarre design choices that take you out of the experience, such as a Japanese garden inside a skyscraper or a Raiden wearing a poncho for no reason.
One of the few good things about the game as that the combat truly does flow well, it is extremely fast paced with very little down time. The combat is based around mixing up light and heavy attacks, nothing special there but what is special is the unique feature blade mode. Blade slow down time and brings up a line across the screen allow you to precisely mode your sword and cut in any direction you want, slicing up enemies into hundreds of pieces (the game even has a counter that will tell you how many pieces you’re cutting your helpless foe into). The point of this is Raiden can slice up enemies and take their cybernetic spines out of there broken bodies and crush them in his hand regenerating his health and energy. This does make the game slightly too easy and the animations for this repeat over and over, though this could be fixed by allowing Raiden to take damage during this animation similarly to Space Marine. It would add some much needed tension to these short animations and have the player thinking could I survive taking this spine, is it worth it. The other issue with combat is the parry system. The Parry is mapped to the same button as light attack; the only difference is that you have to push the left stick in the direction of the attacker, but flicking the stick while attacking does not change the way you attack at all. If you constantly flick the stick while attacking you are impossible to hit.
The games graphics and textures while good still feel aged. With these kinds of games that are coming out this year I expect more, if the game was open world then it would be acceptable but for a linear title the quality should be higher. The other issue with this is the games cut scenes are not rendered in real time, so any outfits you want to wear (like the much desired Grey fox) cannot be seen it cutscenes. This was possible in Metal Gear Solid 4 but because Konami decided to make Metal Gear cross platform now it cannot be done on the 360’s hardware.
The best thing that Metal Gear Rising gets right is the feeling of having a sword. In most Hack ‘N Slash games you run at enemies mash a button and they die, there is nothing wrong with this but you don’t exactly get the feeling of full sword control. Blade mode gives you this feeling and every single game that is based around sword play from this point on in time needs a mechanic like this. However I do wish that the game had a fight entirely based around it. While it does have moments in every single boss fight that require it, it would have been so cool to do an entire fight were you are constantly in full control of Raiden’s sword.
Overall Metal Gear Rising is disappointing. The game was originally going to follow Grey Fox leading up to the events of Metal Gear Solid 1. It was Konami’s choice to make it about Raiden as he is more ‘’Marketable’’ It was this choice that lead to the game been passed from studio to studio and it been dragged through development hell and it shows. The game lands in a grey spot of quality; it’s not exactly a bad game by any means, though it does have serious problems. This game does earn itself a 3 out of 5, but nobody should buy it. If you want to play a Metal Gear game, play any Metal Gear Solid title. If you want to play an over the top amazing Hack ‘N Slash play any platinum games game, like Bayonetta which you can pick up now for £5-10. If you are a diehard fan of Metal Gear then you are going to buy this no matter what I write here. As for everybody else wait until it drops in price to around half its original cost. If you are in desperate need of a Hack ‘N Slash title, seek out Bayonetta or the Devil May Cry HD collection.
Review by Ellis Atkinson and Jarrod Beauchamp
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