Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review/Rage

I’m not impressed with this game, as it actually caused me to break my controller and I nearly returned it, because of that and just because of how infuriating the game is. As a disclaimer for anyone who didn’t understand what this game was, because people evidently can’t read, this is not a tactical espionage game.

I plugged in another controller from my roommates PS3 but it’s even more jacked than the one I broke – and mine’s broken! So I’ve been using that. Anyway, I haven’t finished the game yet and I’m pretty disinterested in doing so now. I raged at Monsoon because of how he is intentionally designed to win not by actually killing you, but by stunlocking you up and down, left and right across the plaza you fight him in. The same thing happens all too frequently in this game and although you do get the opportunity to get out of it by panickedly abusing the left control stick, it almost never works. When it does work it seems more like you just ran out of time and it had mercy on you, than that the game mechanics actually functioned. I thought Monsoon was the end of it, I was wrong.

Most frustrating boss ever.

Every boss in the game does this but Monsoon is the worst at it, and that highlights one of the things that majorly detracts from my ability to enjoy this game. Examine another hack and slash game, my friends, like Ninja Gaiden or Dante’s Inferno, both very good games. Dante’s Inferno puts you through hell, literally, and figuratively as you fight the enemies in each level. They are legitimately hard, even if you are used to the game and very good at it. The bosses are not so hard, not at all in fact. Satan was the easiest boss in the entire game (to me, he wasn’t easy but in relative terms he was). In Ninja Gaiden, boss combat was harder than the normal enemies (I’ll get to the reason why) but not so much harder that it was a radical departure from difficulty. Granted, both Dante and Ryu are undead supernaturals, but are we going to argue that?

In Rising Revengeance, the bosses are a completely tangential departure from the difficulty of the normal game. The game is easy . The game is so easy. It may be the fact that I’m using the fully upgraded Fox Blade but I switched to the HF blade and it actually does even more damage than the Fox Blade. The combat is not a challenge in the slightest bit after you beat the first chapter and you get enough credits to start upgrading. On that topic, Kojima/Platinum missed a major programming error (or they did it on purpose) in the game,. You can farm holo-chips for credits, over and over and over forever. That’s how I farmed about 400,000 in Chapter 1 to even unlock my DLC Gray Fox items. All you have to do is grab the chip, go to the customize menu, rinse repeat.

The reason the bosses are so hard is the exact same reason they are hard in Ninja Gaiden – they follow a set pattern of rules, which you can only expect, but that’s all they do – whether you have your sword shoved through their brain or not. You can be strong-attack comboing the boss to death and they still go ahead and do a move and hit you with it, unless they are staggered. They obey none of the game mechanics at all except for their move set and being stunned. You can barely block them and they repeat the same overpowered moves ad nauseam: so even if you do block them, you eventually fail to block in the future. In Gaiden though, you could at least buy healing items and you had multiple different things to expand your health bar and increase your survivability. In Rising Revengeance you have nothing. You have chapter-restricted upgrades that barely add anything to your health bar or energy bar and once you buy everything currently available, you can’t get anything more until the next time the shop adds items. I’m sure some of you disagree, and you’re wrong, but hack and slash games should not be made without a shop to buy healing items. If I recall, Dante’s Inferno didn’t have a shop, but it also didn’t throw repeated bosses at you on the same life bar.

Another terrible oversight/intentionally bad design in this game is that there is no dodge button. It is possible to dodge, but there isn’t a dodge function. In order to dodge you have to slide kick or jump or change directions and hope that it does the trick. As far as blocking, I must unfortunately continue to bring this up. The parry system is completely horrible. I am almost positive at this point that it only recognizes 4 directions on the stick – left, right, down, up. If you try to parry at anything other than a straight 90 degree angle on the controller, it simply will not work. You also have to time it perfectly as you cannot just hold parry, like any other legitimate game with sword combat in it. The game-play more often than not is simply broken and not cohesive, and it makes the  6 hours a hair-pulling journey through the depths of  your frustration threshold.

I was hesitant about this in the first place because I had been pretty thoroughly convinced the story would be awful and rudimentary, and I was not proven wrong. Let’s put it this way. At the end of MGS4 (Spoiler alert if you somehow haven’t played it) Raiden is basically with his family and he says forget it, I’m done fightin’. So then, who knows why he has a new enhanced cybernetic body and is fighting people. Okay, a cyborgs gotta do what a cyborgs gotta do, have to make money somehow right? So, midway through the game, Raiden breaks down and can’t deal with the fact that he’s killing the bad guys – something which apparently never occurred to him in the 6 or so years between MGS2, MGS4, and now this. He loses his shit and channels the former, inner Jack the Ripper. At this point in the game, which also coincides with the most ridiculous bad boss fight ever,  the story goes on that tangent, and you can very offensively tell this is where Platinum Games stepped in and took over the game. It is absolutely terrible, Platinum Games-esque complete nonsense from this point on. Then Raiden just goes “Ok I killed Monsoon, I’m back to normal mode.” You are? Last time I checked Jack, you just turned off your pain inhibitors, impaled yourself through the cyborg chest with your katana and got off on the pain.

The story is good enough to pay attention to, as in every Metal Gear game, but pales in comparison any Solid game. You don’t even learn the story until File 2, 3 levels into the game. Until then the only thing you know is it’s about revenge. The fact is, the story isn’t actually about revenge at all. You do kill everyone who screwed you over at the beginning of the game, but that’s only a sidenote.

If you wonder why I am so  hateful of this game – though if you want to see me really hating a game or movie, look for my RE6 review or my Resident Evil Paul W.S Anderson reviews – it’s for a few  very good reasons.

  • I broke a pristine condition controller because of this game. I haven’t broken or thrown a controller or gotten so angry over a video game that I’ve done anything like that since I was a teenager. It’s not cool.
  • I literally died a minimum of 50 times trying to beat Sundowner, not because I can’t beat him – because I had ONE nano-paste left after fighting both Mistral AND Monsoon in the same chapter, not 1 minute before Sundowner. Had five nano-pastes before fighting Monsoon, and even knowing how to kill him had ONE nano-paste left afterwards. I knew how to kill Sundowner, I simply had a ruthless bitch of a time doing it without a buffer zone to account for unexpected damage. When you’re on one extra health bar, if you don’t get him to 30% health while you’re still at 120% on your first bar, you lose.
  • The game mechanics just don’t work, it’s a game whose mistake-correction relies on QTE button prompts at it’s core and the only button prompts that work are Trangle/Circle. You can’t tell me that I’ve played and beaten the hundreds of games that I have, on hard mode and not – especially the modern games which rely on button prompts – but that I somehow don’t know how to use the buttons on the controller all of a sudden.
  • The camera, the camera, oh my god the camera! I have not seen a camera this absurdly dreadful since Super Mario 64. The camera constantly auto-centers, and in addition to that, it auto-focuses on everything except Raiden.

The game is fun when you aren’t on a boss, I won’t deny that – it’s like Ninja Gaiden with the added fun of Fruit Ninja. If you are good enough (not that hard with this game) at these types of games, you don’t need to block on normal enemies anyway, so the fact that the game mechanics don’t work is only an issue in boss fights. Unfortunately that’s an unacceptable flaw and unlike the game journalists, I score my reviews based on the game, not based on what everyone else scored them, so it takes a pretty huge hit from that.

The atmosphere of Rising is kind of ancillary to the game, it never really makes me feel one way or another that I am or am not in a Metal Gear game. In terms of music, the game doesn’t really match with Metal Gear, although I hardly even notice music in most modern games other than something epic like MGS4 or Uncharted. I will say that I do like the level design and the architecture. It does go along really well with Metal Gear, right down to the elevators with their ambiguous “Here’s a colored light” status bar that doesn’t actually tell you what floor you’re on. I also do like the character design, whether it’s Raiden himself or the various enemies. Most of them are mainstays from Solid 4, such as Gekkos and those little armed spybots, and of course there are Metal Gear Rays – one of them at the least. Which you thoroughly murder, because we all know Rays are little punks after how they got humiliated at the end of MGS2 and how you utterly annihilate one in MGS4 with a Rex.

Feed me spines!

The one thing other than game-play I have words about is Quinton Flynns voice in this game. I don’t even know what to think about it, during the Platinum part of the game he just sounds silly. Not like a whiner like he did in Solid 2, no, just silly.

I do like the game, by a two-thirds majority, but I simply can’t ignore the massive problems with it. I give Metal Gear: Rising Revengeance a 7 out of 10. The major game sites give it scores such as 8.5 so, if  you actually read this review, I’d beseech you to take mine seriously before dropping $60 or $150- if you are still able to get collectors edition – on this game. It is not worth a full price purchase, I would wait for it to be 20 dollars if I were you, unless you’re one of those kids that trades games at GameStop.

By the way, Raiden can kill an entire army with no arms, holding his sword between his teeth, so don’t try to tell me a Spanish samurai kicks his ass at the beginning of the game, it’s absolutely ridiculous. Overall this game kind of has the cohesion of a spaghetti western written by someone from the year 3050 CE. Frankly I’m disappointed that the archetypal western standoff music doesn’t start playing when you fight Sam in the desert.  It tries to be an action flick but there isn’t all that much action. It tries to be a hack and slash game but truth be told, you don’t fight a whole heck of a lot of enemies, and the weapon variety is lacking to say the least.

The customization is also lacking. When it says “Customize” Raiden’s body, I’d like to actually customize my appearance beyond the very rigid options. Maybe I’d like a ridiculous Samurai looking outfit or whatever..

Rising tries to include some stealth elements by adding in cardboard boxes and steel drums and distraction items to sneak past or fool the guards with, but when you have a gigantic badass katana, who is trying to sneak? Why would you do that? The only reason this game ever even got made is because Raiden had a katana at the end of MGS2 and you didn’t get to use it enough. They said they originally wanted it to be Gray Fox but the reality is no one cares about Gray Fox, he was in one game that most people didn’t even play. Despite all my bashing of it I did enjoy the game, but just because I enjoy something doesn’t mean it’s flawless.

The last boss is absolute complete bullshit for the first phase, which is no different from any of the bosses because they’re all complete  bullshit – and it’s not even necessarily because of the boss itself. Samuel is in fact the only boss in the game that is a remotely fair fight, everyone else knows magic, and it just gets even worse at the end. Suffice it to say, at the end – you have to do blade mode perfectly, or you’re fucked. There are no healing items throughout the game, it is almost entirely devoid of healing items. You do pick some up during some boss fights, but other than that there are maybe 4 in the entire game. By the time you get to a boss, even if you take no damage whatsoever from enemies, all your healing items are gone. So every single boss fight becomes a struggle for perfection because if you take any damage, you lose. Armstrong drops no health until phase 2 and you’re fucked if you take any damage or miss the blade mode, after that it’s home free except for the next blade mode.

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