Living life on the edge. . .
I can’t speak for everyone else, but Metal Gear Rising exceeded my expectations. While the hack-and-slash template isn’t exactly a new, innovative concept for action games, this production represents a fresh new direction within the Metal Gear universe where we find Raiden, once a young, and somewhat whiny, reluctant patriotic hero has evolved into a super saiyan badass. Forget about tip-toeing around and hiding in cardbox boxes, none of those slower, methodical tactics apply here. Metal Gear Rising aspires to push the envelope further with a darker, more violent tone that should satisfy any action enthusiast who’s very fond of Devil May Cry or Ninja Gaiden.
The story picks up several years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots left off, rewarding players who’ve closely followed the fiction, while at the same time, bringing newcomers up to speed. It’s very compelling - and unlike Metal Gear Solid 2, I am thankful it contains a lot less head-scratching moments throughout the entire adventure, with a few surprises tossed in for good measure. Players are highly encouraged to sit through the extensive dialogue tucked away via codec interactions as it reveals a great amount of detail that genuinely enriches the events from beginning to end. Rising does an excellent job building upon Raiden’s character development as it reaches deep into his past as he grows into the ultimate solider. I consider the overall experience to be remarkable and engaging. The supporting cast is also equally as impressive, which helps to keep the player engaged and connected to the story. Unless you’re the type that typically goes into a game nitpicking every little detail, you’ll be hard-pressed not to call Rising‘s story structure anything less than sensational.
The pacing is steady, albeit a little short in the overall playtime and somewhat linear (I expected as much when I discovered there was only one disc), leaving me wanting more. There are some instances where you’re put in a position to carry out specific side-missions, which can lead to obtaining new items to use later for use in campaigns where Raiden can be customized with new items/weaponry. Once equipped, Raiden’s offensive, healing and overall damage properties are substantially improved. There’s a respectable amount of content to unlock and plenty of possibilities that can be toggled at your disposal, thus, increasing the replay value greatly as you endeavor to run through the game again and again in the hopes of achieving the ultimate S-grade.
Trust me, it’s harder than it sounds. Raiden basically needs to be played with expert precision: parries, special attacks, and the frequency of successful acquisition of body parts — all signifcant factors that will determine the outcome of achieving a better score. You’re also graded on the stealth kills and solid, advanced execution (read: lethal) dispatching (or detaching limbs, arms, etc.) against the various foes in game. There’s very little filters here: strong language and blood flow in copious amounts, much as you’d come to expect from any R-rated movie.
My experience throughout Rising has me extremely excited to play the next chapter featuring Snake in an open-world. There’s a lot of untapped possibilities that Kojima’s development team could execute into a rich, immersive environment where the player could get lost in for hours. I wish that type of virtual atmosphere was present here, even though the gameplay engine’s primary intent is focused on a more intense, action-packed format that gets the adrenaline going.
It’s the logical progression of things to shift the Metal Gear universe to move toward that direction. On that note, while the combat system is relatively robust, playing games like Assassin’s Creed has left me spoiled. Ubisoft truly set the bar when it comes to control mechanics. The only other franchise that’s come relatively close is Ninja Gaiden, as Ryu performs and moves like he came straight out a Dead or Alive release. I want to experience a game where Raiden doesn’t just parry attacks, but could incorporate a variety of distinctive attacks that don’t directly involve the use of his blade. I am not saying the combat engine isn’t thrilling; far from it – merely that this is a great start that I’d love to see evolve even further. It’s safe to expect that this won’t be Raiden’s first-and-only outing. For all intents and purposes, Metal Gear Rising is a solid effort that advances Raiden’s legacy forward with the potential to be leagues beyond its predecessor.
Check out Mr. Grimmz’s Metal Gear Rising walkthrough to aid you on specific tricks and tips from start to finish!