The lights are on
I had never played a stylish action game before Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. The genre was never something that really caught my eye, but my love of the Metal Gear universe got me interested in this game. Plus, I was really looking forward to seeing how Raiden's story was continued, as well as trying out his abilities with his High-Frequency blade in combat. While the final result doesn't completely meet my expectations for the game, it is an overall enjoyable experience.
Rising's presentation is outstanding: cutscenes are very crisp, enemies' limbs sever where I cut them, and the environments are almost always interesting. This is one of the best looking games I've played in awhile, with the only real drop being the holographic Codec screens, which look really bad. Besides this, the game doesn't really falter with showing you Raiden slicing through enemies, except for some expected camera issues, which are really only a problem if you get too close to walls, which isn't often.
By far though, my favorite aspect of this game is the soundtrack. I have been listening to the themes of each of the bosses, and they are really well done by the vocalists. The actual voice acting within the game itself is passable, with some characters doing better than others; Raiden does well in cutscenes, but hearing "DEAD ON", and "BULLS-EYE" every few minutes may get to you.
An example of the excellent OST.
The real main draw of the game though, is the player's ability to control the cyborg ninja Raiden, and execute gruesome kills, with style. As I stated before, it all looks good, but sometimes the gameplay can be frustrating. The main gripe I have is more of how much of a learning curve the game requires. Sure, they tell you how to block early on, but it wasn't until the last couple of hours that I really got how to work it effectively. Also, the game never tells you there is a lock-on button, which hindered me for one of the early boss fights-I spent awhile fighting it, only to realize(by pushing a random button) that I could lock-on to them which made blocking significantly easier. I know that hand-holding is something that is frowned upon in games today, but I'd have liked to have been notified of this crucial feature.
Another gameplay complaint I have is the drawing gameplay mechanic, Blade Mode. While it is awesome to cut through enemies, tilting the "cutting plane" is difficult, and resulted in more than a few deaths altogether, since they were required for certain bosses.
The story and set pieces are a hit-and-miss, like the combat. While some set-pieces are amazing, they are really the same-that Raiden ends up cutting something in half. The story is also lackluster because the whole premise-that Raiden is getting revenge on those who killed the African president-doesn't strike a chord with me. I wasn't made to see how much of a relationship the two had, as that moment happens less than an hour into the game. Not having any meaningful motivation for the player takes me a bit out of the experience.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is falling into the same way Dead Space 3 did for me-I loved the game itself, but there were some sequences that were just really frustrating, and hampered the overall experience. Aside from Blade Mode issues and some camera faults, I enjoyed my time with Rising, though it isn't for everyone: you are going to need some patience.
I wish I'd found the watermelons, though...
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