Dear readers of caesoose.com, I have a confession to make. I have only ever completed 1 Metal Gear game in my life. I know this may sound insane considering there are many of you that know how much I love games/franchises that have a rich and deep backstory, I’ve just never gotten around to actually playing the games. Growing up, I was beholden to my parents to buy new games for the family, so if something wasn’t bought, something wasn’t played. Even when Metal Gear Solid HD collection became available for free on PS+ for my vita, I still didn’t play the games, as these days, I just don’t have the time (that, and I still have bad memories of not knowing what the original game meant when it told me to look at the back of the CD case, meaning I spent an hour pressing up once on the codec and dialling every number until I found Merils).
So why did I break my radio silence in regards to the metal gear franchise? Well, I do love myself some action, and with Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance being on sale for only £4.99 a while ago, I had to grab the game on the cheap. I know it’s crazy to keep on buying games when I have so many more I need to play, but it’s a weird hobby I have, to collect them all in on form or another.
Playing as Raiden, a cyborg in the Metal Gear universe, you’ll fight many other cyborgs after they toy with you for protecting an african president. The enemy cyborgs are employed by a different PMC (Private Military Company) you see, and so with your PMC being used to protect the president, you’re technically rivals. After failing to do your job correctly, Raiden is employed by someone else, and so begins his exploration of a weird world where companies will steal children, make them undergo Virtual Reality training, and plant their brains into cyborg bodies to be used as puppets, should the PMC wish.
Sound convoluted and fucked up? That’s because it is, but reading about online and hearing from friends and colleagues over the years, apparently this is what’s become of the Metal Gear franchise. It’s a good job then that the combat is so damn beautiful and perfect that it gives Bayonetta a run for it’s money. Just like any normal action game, you’ll repeatedly hammer the X or Y button to change up combos, switching between light/fast attacks and heavy/slow attacks, the difference here is in how you avoid/counter enemies. In Bayonetta and Devil May Cry, you counter an enemy by pressing a dodge button, usually assigned to the B button or a trigger, enabling your character extra time to do more damage. In making the counter button dodge, the player still manages to avoid being hit even if they didn’t press the button at the exact right moment. Metal Gear Rising reverses this, making players put themselves in harms way should they wish to maximise their advantage. You’ll need to move your analogue stick in the direction of an enemy the exact moment they’re about to hit you in order to counter. You’re given a few seconds of leeway, so should you press towards the enemy before they’ve charged their attack, you’ll still be fine, just won’t counter.
The countering system isn’t the only combat scenario that’s been improved or experimented with in MGR, with the whole remise of the game when it was first conceived being around the ability to cut anything within the world in whatever way you’d like. This system is also used to great effect within the battle system, by making your health and energy tie to “Electrolites” stored within enemies spinal cords, meaning you’ll need to slice enemies when their health’s low enough to nab their spine out and regain your much needed energy. It’s a nifty system, one which you’ll kick yourself for not perfecting each time you mess up, and one which is used to great effect should you wish to get all of the games collectibles, with some enemies left arms being collectible for merchandise in the shop between battles.
So, for all the fun I had with the combat, was it worth me coming back to a Metal Gear game? Well, I couldn’t help but feel left out on a lot of the jokes and references made at times, with some characters making an appearance that meant nothing to me, but I could clearly see was fan service to people who recognise them. This didn’t happen too often, but frequently enough that I was annoyed at times. Also, what people say about Metal Gear endings and politics is so damn true it hurts. I decided to finish the game one night after two missions ended up being a lot shorter than I originally accounted for, and I regret doing so. The cutscenes, story and action all became so ridiculous and cumbersome that I wish I postponed playing the game until another day due to the fact I was staying up until 2am playing it. Konami are trying to make a point, I get it, but I swear for 10 minutes the ending boss was just repeating himself over and over, with Raiden himself not helping the situation at all. So word of advice, play the game through all 6 acts EXCEPT the last act, and you’ll have had one of the best action experiences of your life.
So, am I glad I took the plunge back into the Metal Gear series after 16 years? Yes and No. Whilst Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was an awesome action game, I couldn’t help but think the metal gear parts was the thing letting the game down. The graphics were awesome, the action was awesome, but the story was convoluted beyond belief. By all means pick the game up if it’s cheap, it’s a masterclass in action gameplay, but don’t buy it for it’s story, there really isn’t much substance.