Metal Gear Rising Revengeance Review — Right Wing Politics Give You Superpowers

I can only imagine the outrage if that was true in real life.

Platinum Games is a studio I can only describe as a bunch who are dangerously skating their potential on thin ice. Their games are generally fun with high-octane approaches to spectacle and joyful ironic camp pervading throughout the majority of their stories, but their range is pretty damn limited and I’m worried that they’ll eventually grow as tired as the Assassin’s Creed series before too long if they don’t indulge in anything new. I was already starting to grow tired of them with Transformers Devastation despite Bayonetta being the only thing of theirs I’ve played until then, and I blind-bought The Wonderful 101 a while ago for the sole purpose of getting some use out of my Wii U. So if that doesn’t turn out well, it’ll be money wasted.

And of course, there’s their Metal Gear spinoff. I was cautious going into it despite the good things I’d heard because the game play sounded similar to the sword stuff in Bayonetta and I wasn’t sure if I could overlook that, even with my desire to see what changed in the Metal Gear world now that the Patriots were no more. Of course I heard it was delightfully crazy, but so are the rest of the games, and part of the appeal is that they pull off said craziness with a straight face whereas Platinum just can’t stop winking to the camera every chance they get. They’re nowhere near Sunrise-levels of obnoxious, but when a joke tries to be in on the joke, it has never worked out for the humor. Also, a bad guy laughing at you after you die has never improved anything in general, but one problem at at time please.

The game is a sequel set four years after the fourth installment in the Solid series and focuses on Raiden doing government jobs after his attempts at living a normal life didn’t work out on account of him having a robot body that did the impossible and made him look more plastic than he originally was. During a routine bodyguard gig for the Prime Minister of Africa, a terrorist attack caused by a bunch of more advanced cyborg ninjas occur, leaving Raiden broken and the Prime Minister spilling more red out of him than a crushed can of Hawaiian Punch. Not exactly happy with staying down after Round 1, Raiden gets upgraded to an even more advanced robot cyborg that can parry heavy attacks and slice his blade in any direction he wants. And you’d better get to mastering those two actions, because whilst you can get through the early levels without knowing how to do them, the later levels will turn you into scrap if you can’t do them, and the game is worse than Dark Souls II in terms of explaining its live-saving advanced moves.

Given Revengeance’s production problems, I’m surprised it exceeded expectations as well as it did, let alone stand up to them. Because the combat is fun, fast-paced, and really demands skill even by Platinum game’s standards. Seeing Raiden chop up certain body parts in order to grab the robot’s heart and smash it in order to regain his health never stops ceasing to be funny. And whilst I died quite a lot Dark Souls-style due to my unfamiliarity with how you’re supposed to play the game, also like Dark Souls, when I learned all the enemies’ attack patterns and how to beat them, I was nodding my head in satisfactory triumph as they literally fell into pieces against my might.

The stealth elements are a little awkward, especially when the game kinda forces you to use them or risk getting hammered by three burly dudes when one itself tends to give you a challenge. It’s a lot easier to do than previous Metal Gear games, but explain to me how it makes any sense to sneak around in a game that’s generally very fast-paced, long-winded dialogue aside, and where your main character run up walls in order to do somersaults. Hell, even the stealth kills are incredibly showy and the secondary weapons from grenades to rocket launchers might as well not exist. Because aside from when you’ve got to shoot down some helicopters, your sword is pretty much all you need and any other weapon just feels like an expensive step-backwards. Upgrades cost points acquired throughout the levels and let me tell you right now, that bo staff I bought was a waste of money since I never bothered to use it.

As for the story, it’s pretty crazy even by Metal Gear standards what with all this political nonsense being uttered by Bleach villain rejects. The final boss in particular stands out on account of being a right-wing presidential candidate who goes on about how the information age needs to end and if you disagree with him, he’ll transform into a mixture of The Incredible Hulk and Colossus from X-Men and elbow-slam you into the ground. And I thought Uwe Boll’s reactions to his critics were violent. Raiden even later acquires a talking robot dog as a sidekick, who kinda reminds me of Friender from Casshern Sins if he acquired a voice box from Up, and whilst the dude isn’t that helpful, it’s hard to dislike him due to how utterly self-serious he is whilst interacting with our hero, even when he’s wearing a totally-out-of-place Mexican outfit. There’s only one other returning character from the previous games in this installment and the new characters are mostly stereotypes or nutty as fuck, so if he isn’t doing it for you, then tough luck because he’s the only friend you’ve got to help you tolerate all the insanity.

I guess I can’t end this review without giving mention of the soundtrack given how everyone else is jizzing all over it. It’s decent J-rock, but at times it sounds like it’s trying too hard, especially during the boss fights where I can all but see the overcompensation that Japanese dude with the three-inch dick is putting into it. You have the option to turn it off, although why you’d want to is something I’ll never understand because it makes the craziness all the funnier in my opinion. Whilst the game is definitely in on the joke more than its predecessors, it’s still a Metal Gear Solid game at its core, and no out-of-place wackiness sitting alongside the awkward yet relevant drama like they’re best friends means little of Metal Gear’s own identity. And why would you want that to happen to something that’s still one of the best AAA game series in the world, let alone something that’s good?

Don’t know, but apparently Konami has an answer.

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