There’s a whole lot of slashing, slicing and dicing in Revengeance. Certain doors, fences, obstacles and parts of the scenery can be slashed into geometric chunks, and there are even tactical possibilities, allowing you to take out columns to bring high-up enemies down to earth. Being picky it would be nice to see more objects sliceable – there’s an odd disconnect where a fence goes down when a shop window doesn’t – but a game where everything can be slashed apart is probably a bit too much to ask.
There’s no question that the core combat in Revengeance is satisfying. Fights are tense and exciting, and Zandatsu makes for some fantastic moments of slice-and-dice catharsis, particularly when you’ve tackled a horde of enemies or a really challenging foe. Revengeance has boss battles as big and epic as you would expect to find in a Metal Gear game, and it’s nothing if not inventive in its ultra-violence.
Depth and Difficulty
Unfortunately, however, this isn’t quite Platinum’s best work, or up to Metal Gear’s normal exceptional standards. The level design is very linear, and there’s little on offer bar a chain of encounters and the odd ‘use your cyborg vision to find the hidden panel’ puzzle. There’s some depth in cyborg armour modifications and unlockable weapons and moves, but not a huge amount. The camera is also far from faultless, struggling to keep enemies in frame and making it very difficult to deal with fast-moving enemies – fatal in a game where timely parries are all-important.
What’s worse, the difficulty curve is all over the place. After a breezy first hour you’ll come across a boss battle so infuriating that, if you haven’t mastered blocking by that point, you’ll be tempted to give up and move on. Push through, and you’ll find this is just the start. Epic boss battles, hard-to-block special moves, cheap ambushes and insta-fail action sequences are very much part of the Revengeance routine, and can turn a game that is great fun to play into something less awesome. Some would say that they wouldn’t have it any other way, but unless they play on the pitifully challenge-less Easy mode, less hardcore gamers will find Revengeance something of a struggle.
We also have to quibble about some of the stylistic choices. Like DmC: Devil May Cry, Metal Gear Rising feels no big action sequence is complete without a pounding metal soundtrack, but here the music sometimes gets a bit ridiculous. A handful of cut-scenes seem to go on for ever, and while there’s definitely a place to debate violence and the effects of within games, doing do in a game where the whole point is slicing people – albeit cyborgs – into bio-mechanical chunks might not be the best place to do it. You can see what the makers are trying to do, but it isn’t quite working.
But let’s not get too negative. This is, in its own distinctly Japanese way, an absolutely gorgeous action game. In terms of sumptuous effects and lavish detail it’s not up there with DmC: Devil May Cry or God of War: Ascendance, but the slashing-things-to-bits stuff looks absolutely amazing and you can’t say the set-pieces lack spectacle. It has a reasonably lengthy campaign and a degree of replay value, with harder difficulty levels unlocking to give those in need of more challenge excactly what they want. Overall, though, Revengeance suffers in comparison to the artistry and imagination of the recent DmC, and even in comparison to Platinum’s own masterpiece, Bayonetta. It’s smart, brutal and addictive, but not quite polished enough to be a classic.
Mixing Metal Gear style with a unique take on hack-and-slash swordplay, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a must for the more hardcore action gamer. Be warned, though, that it can be extremely challenging, and with an occasionally dodgy camera and cheap enemy attacks, unfairly so. We love a spot of Revengeance, but it’s not quite up to the standard of Bayonetta or DmC: Devil May Cry.