Strategy guides aren’t just about looking at level maps or finding out how to beat bosses. For many people, they provide a compact and comprehensive way to immerse themselves in their favorite games. However, not all guides are created equal. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and its accompanying guide from Piggyback Interactive came out last week, and these are the good, bad, and ugly elements you can expect to find in its pages.

Good: Playthrough Guide
For dedicated players, Revengeance is the kind of game that begs for multiple runthroughs. The array of difficulty levels, titles, and unlockables can make it hard to know where you should be focusing your efforts, but the guide presents clear direction in terms of what your goals should be for each playthrough. It does this in a broad sense early on, then gives advice on how to attain those goals in the individual chapter sections.  

Good: Optimal Advancement
Raiden can obtain new weapons and skills, but the limited number resources means that players need to prioritize certain upgrades over others. The game doesn't let you try before you buy, so how can you know which purchases are worth your while? The guide has a breakdown of the order in which you should buy things like health upgrades, weapons, and abilities in order to optimize your performance. 

Good: Different Playstyles
Do you want to do a speed-run? A no-kill run? A perfect run? Regardless of how you want to approach the experience, the guide has detailed advice and tactics to help you achieve your goal. From the specific numbers you need to shoot for in combat encounters (pictured above) to suggested stealth routes through the areas, no type of player is left in the cold. 

Good: So Much Data
Whether you want to find every collectible, get every achievement, or find out the strength of a specific enemy's attack, you'll find a table for it in this guide. For all of the information that's crammed between the covers, everything is organized well and finding what you want is easy. 

Good: Advanced Combat
Revengeance is a little light on tutorials, but the guide does a great job breaking down effective techniques. It isn't just obvious content like "Blocking is important!" It does a deep dive, going into details like frames of invulnerability and canceling attacks.  

Verdict: Worth It
I was planning on breaking down the good, bad, and ugly of this guide, but I can’t find anything about it that I don’t like. The layout is intuitive, the insight is helpful, and the information is exhaustive. I shouldn’t be surprised: Piggyback has done great work in the past on the Final Fantasy XIII-2 guide and the Metal Gear Solid 4 guide (which is one of my favorites). The guide for Revengeance is a great example of what strategy guides are uniquely suited to provide: a unified, comprehensive look at a game and all of its facets, along with developer commentary and a few behind-the-scenes glimpses. If you love Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, this guide gives you everything you need to know in one tidy package.

For more on Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, read my review, this beginner’s guide, or watch our episode of Test Chamber.