One Hell Of A Raiden
After watching the end credits of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, you'll immediately restart from the beginning with a massive grin. A third-person beat-em-up that's fast, stylish and unforgiving, Revengeance feels like the future of high-octane entertainment, an endlessly replayable game that blasts out of the gate and simply doesn't stop until the final strike hits home - though there's plenty of slow-mo along the way.
Revengeance is an offshoot of the Metal Gear series, starring MGS2 main man Raiden - who is now a cyborg ninja, a one-man army with an electric sword and bags of flair. The gameplay will be familiar to fans of games like DmC or Ninja Gaiden, but Revengeance is a different kind of experience; it's easier to pull off moves and destroy enemies in a blink, but parrying attacks and staying aggressive is the real challenge.
Down Low - Too Slow
Blocking and parrying are handled by a timed button press and directional input - go too early and Raiden blocks attacks with no advantage, but hit it just as the enemy attack lands and he'll parry into a devastating counter-blow that leaves them wide open. And this is when Revengeance comes up with another silly word to describe something fantastic: the Zandatsu.
Revengeance has a slow-motion 'blade mode' that lets Raiden shred weakened enemies and scenery to pieces with his diamond-sharp sword. The Zandatsu is using blade mode after a parry, and whoever invented it is a genius; a button prompt makes Raiden execute a few quickfire moves before launching into the air. Things go into slow-motion at crazy-upside-down angles and there's a few seconds to line up a killer blow; it is an unbelievable spectacle, something no other fighting game has, and the first occurrence makes you want more and more.
There's a trophy for clearing Revengeance with full S ranks that includes the words 'Lightning God', and there couldn't be a better description of Raiden. A razor-edged dervish that moves like wind and hits like thunder, his endlessly intricate movements are matched only by their speed; he positively crackles across the screen, a devastating and irresistible force. Left unchecked Raiden is basically a superpower, capable of demolishing anything with fabulous hard-hitting moves.
So Revengeance's challenge is all about keeping him there, and it makes the fights incredible. To play Revengeance is to face a merciless onslaught of enemies that press individually and work terrifying well in packs. The staple grunts are cybernetically-enhanced humans, and a sword-wielding variety is a particular delight to fight, capable of counter-parrying and drawing Raiden into a blink-first mini-duel in the midst of a storm.
The soldiers are soon enough joined by a very Metal Gear cast of biomorphic mechs and cyborgs: MGS4's mooing Gekkos kick like cranes and charge like bulls, while vicious gorilla-aping androids merrily pound Raiden into the dirt. These enemies are relentless because they have to be, and this can easily tip towards overwhelming - multiple unanswered hits will stun Raiden, guaranteeing several more, and entire health bars can disappear in a blink.
Revengeance is a game meant to be replayed, and its ten hours of flab-free campaign are matched by VR missions that set up especially challenging battles. Amazing settings, like a traditional Japanese garden at the top of a skyscraper, are matched up with pyrotechnic set-pieces: on the very first level Raiden moves from rocket-jumping to sprinting down a crumbling church, and splitting a gigantic Metal Gear in half. That's not even the end of the level.
Revengeance has one problem - a camera that occasionally gets confused when you're in a corner, and flicks around unhelpfully. But this doesn't come close to spoiling a brilliant game, and an experience that improves exponentially as it gets faster and you get better. So come get some.
- Incredible combat!
- Explosive set-pieces!
- Huge replay value!
- Dodgy Camera
- Philosophy-spouting bosses
- Doesn't last forever