The Metal Gear franchise has always been known best for its stealth action, smart enemy tactics, deep storyline and incredible cinematic value that rival’s blockbuster pictures. So, you would imagine that putting this solid formula of ‘cunning sneakiness’ in a genre of game that is renowned for its crazy sense of physics and over the top action would jeopardize the Metal Gear’s image. Earliest trailers released demonstrating the use of slicing enemies as well as the creative dynamic use of precision attacks and ‘Blade Mode’. Despite anticipation from trailers alone, Hideo Kojima cancelled the project and eventually handed over the project to Platinum Games, developers of ‘Bayonetta’ and ‘Vanquish’. With this new concept, Rising was sure to be an interesting release compared to its predecessors.
As the story goes, Metal Gear Rising is set 4 years after the previous title ‘Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots’. The main character ‘Raiden’ is now a member of ‘Maverick Security’, which is a private military company protecting an African prime minister and other VIP’s. However, everything goes pear shaped when Raiden and the VIP’s are attacked by a cyborg PMC unit called Desperado Enforcement, leaving Raiden completely defeated in the hands of ‘”Jetstream” Sam’. After some time in recovery and enhancements, Raiden is now on vengeful quest to seek out Sam and desperado and bring them all down. It is worth noting that while Hideo Kojima has confirmed this is canon to the Metal Gear universe, referencing the previous titles have been kept to an under average manner. For example the series protagonist ‘Solid Snake’ isn’t mentioned at all but key events from the previous game still get mentioned like the destruction of the SOP program.
The action in the game is nothing short of spectacular. Having the ability of slicing, cutting, slashing most objects you see doesn’t get old. The aim is to slice enemies that have fuel cells in their bodies (usually in the abdomen) that can be grabbed to recharge any lost health as well as the HC meter. While in Blade Mode, the player can chose to slash vertically or horizontally using the face buttons or use the right analog stick on the controller to freely cut in any 360-degree circumference. Raiden’s normal attacks come in an infinite barrage of combo slashes all-different from each other as well as listed command attacks for doing specific moves. As you go through the game, Raiden gets his hands on several melee weapons from beaten bosses as well as sub-weapons like rocket launchers and grenades to give Raiden some long-range choices. The enemies in the game are varied which is important when doing the harder difficulties. From the small to the massive, it doesn’t stop Raiden slashing up in the first place. The game does reward you well if you go through an area and take out all the enemies without being seen but it still stands in being a mostly ‘Hack and Slash’ genre. If however, you are the type to get achievements at 100% you will have to surely practice as this game on the harder difficulties borders on Ninja Gaiden’s sense of brutality in enemy difficulty, usually taking only one standard hit to make the low health beeping.
The voice acting in the game is acceptable, even going so far to have a sense of humor on Raiden’s part (Played by Quintin Flynn) along with a voice that sounds like he’s been force fed gravel to sound more battle-hardened. The music is focused in various modern rock remixed by Platinum to match the game’s pace usually given in the boss battles and a subtle orchestral score for the battle intermissions and ‘build up’ moments. Sound effects is also a very positive factor in the game as it delivers the ‘hollywood action’ aesthetic and it is clear the sound team spent a lot of effort making the blade noises as powerful as possible. Seeing as how the blade is the unique selling point of the whole game, it was important to the Platinum team to make sure the mechanics, sound, movements and impact on its surroundings would keep the action momentum going. A feat they achieved and gone beyond…
I would deem the Metal Gear series probably the best video game storyline I’ve ever played. Seeing how Platinum games have a reputation for making they’re own rules on physics, it shows the Metal Gear series in a new light. The action can tend to get a little too repetitive but that maybe contradictory seeing how first person shooters are under the similar principle: shoot, cover, shoot, cover, boss battle then cutscene, right? But at least with FPS’s you have to alternate weapons, aim, then shoot the target. Rising has a control scheme that is different to what is used to in action games seeing as how this is essentially the first ‘Third Person Slasher’ game…it’s not a bad point, but it takes getting used to.