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Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance review

Tom Morgan
24 Jan 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
20
inc VAT

One of the best hack & slash brawlers for years, Revengeance oozes style

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We're big fans of Metal Gear Solid, the franchise best known for its tense stealth gameplay, elaborate plotlines and gruff voiced protagonist Solid Snake. Metal Gear Rising has none of these things; it's a violent, over-the-top hack and slash brawler which is unlike anything else in the series so far. It's also the first Metal Gear game to make its way to the PC since 2003, so series fans without a console have some serious catching up to do.

Picking up four years after the events of PS3-only Metal Gear Solid 4, Rising puts players in control of Raiden rather than Snake as he attempts to stop a private military corporation (PMC) from starting a military coup. Rather than try to sneak past enemies like his mentor, however, Raiden instead takes an action-first approach using his cyborg enhancements, obtained during the events of Guns of the Patriots, and a razor-sharp katana.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

With series producer Hideo Kojima otherwise occupied on the upcoming Metal Gear Solid 5, development duties for Rising fell to Bayonetta creator Platinum games. There's a clear legacy between the two titles, with plenty of slow motion swordplay, gloriously violent combos and unflinchingly brutal cut scenes. Bodies get cleaved in two, limbs are sent skywards and heads get decapitated all within the first five minutes, and even though your enemies are all cyborgs rather than humans, it doesn't detract from the violence – especially once you start to use the "free cut" mechanic.

Raiden's katana is lethal at the best of times, but can also be used to chop virtually any in-game object to pieces – cars, trees and people included. You can control the angle of each cut, letting you strategically attack weak points in enemy armour, toppling support columns to collapse walls or ceilings on to your opponents or slicing through objects to remove enemy cover, but the signature Zandatsu attack takes this a step further.

Activating Zandatsu temporarily slows down time, giving you about a second to line up a slice over a highlighted point on weakened cyborg enemies. Get it right and you'll cut them in two, revealing their internal power core; press the onscreen command prompt in time and you'll grab the core, refilling your power levels and letting you use Zandatsu instantly on the next set of enemies. It requires quick reflexes, as mistiming a cut can completely throw you off-balance, but becomes immensely satisfying once you hit a rhythm and start slicing through waves of enemies at a time.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

You'll also need to learn attack combos to deal the most damage, and master the parry mechanic to avoid taking damage. This is a particularly tricky skill to master, as it isn't a simple button press like in other melee fighters such as Assassin's Creed or DMC: Devil May Cry. You have to press the direction of your attacker at the same time in order to successfully defend and time your repost perfectly to create a window to counter-attack. With multiple enemies ganging up on you at once it can be tough to keep track of where the next attack is coming from.

It wouldn't be a Metal Gear game without a few stealth sections, although these are few and far between. You can use the signature cardboard box to sneak up on some enemies and score an instant kill, avoiding open conflict and saving your energy reserves for trickier fights. Get spotted and every enemy in the area will be alerted, forcing you to get stuck in before moving on.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

To make up for the one year delay in jumping from console to PC, Reveangeance includes some additional content that was sold as DLC on consoles, along with a new Boss Rush mode which should only be attempted once you've finished the game at least once to avoid spoiling some fantastic reveals. There are also several welcome graphical upgrades: anti-aliasing and antistropic filtering provide a visual boost, making an already pretty game look simply gorgeous when in full swing at 60fps. Particle effects fill the screen any time your sword gets unsheathed, while the signature Zandatsu slicing mechanics now let you split objects into many more individual slices. You'll need more than 4GB of RAM to turn this setting up to its maximum 400 particles, as anything less could cause the frame rate to drop. It would have been nice to be able to boost the resolution further than Full HD too, but unfortunately the game is locked to a maximum of 1080p.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

The only downside to playing on a PC is the control scheme. Revengeance isn't impossible to complete with a keyboard and mouse, but it's still very tough to hit every slow-motion Zandatsu slice accurately. We fared much better using an Xbox 360 controller, although it's worth keeping in mind that third-party controllers aren't recognised by the game without using some additional software like X360ce.

Metal Gear fans with PCs might have had to wait a while to experience Raiden's uber-violent ninja side story, but Revengeance is well worth the wait. It's challenging, looks fantastic and is immensely fun. You can pick it up for a very reasonable £20 through Steam too, so even if you aren't familiar with the series it's worth picking up purely on the basis of its action-packed gameplay.

Details

Price£20
Detailshttp://www.konami.jp/mgr/
Rating*****