Platinum Games has been a harbinger of creativity and spectacular cinematic sequences in the spectacle fighter genre. Their back catalogue contains a number of inventive and visionary games including Bayonetta, Vanquish and The Wonderful 101. This developer like many other Japanese studios, focused their efforts on the console market because PC gaming is undeniably niche in Japan. However, the climate is gradually changing as PC gamers demonstrate their passion for obscure and often misunderstood Japanese games. Recent unique Japanese titles such as 99 Spirits, Usagi Yojimbo: Way of The Ronin and now Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance have exploded onto the PC storefront. Usually the Metal Gear series concentrates on stealth and covert operations. In direct contrast to this, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a veritable cornucopia of thrilling zan-datsu or “cut and take” gameplay elements which allows the player to decapitate enemies.
The story is a rather clichéd and predictable affair which occurs approximately 4 years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots. You play as Raiden who has been hired via a military contract to restore peace in an African nation blighted by civil war and anarchy. As the events unfold, your rival PMC group decides to take Prime Minister N’mani hostage and instigate a profitable war. Your foes at first appear mysterious and mischievous but it is clear that their primary concern is to financially benefit from the misery and eradication of the nation’s populace. You must stop them at all costs and protect those who are too weak to fend for themselves. Raiden works alongside a team which has a wide array of expertise in various fields. Unfortunately, most of these individuals are pretty forgettable and speak in a stereotypical manner. For instance, your instructor, Boris Vyacheslavovich Popov converses in a ludicrous soviet accent which is hard to take seriously. Another minor problem is you cannot skip the lengthy cutscenes which may annoy players during a second playthrough. The plot has a propensity to outstays its welcome and disrupt the combat’s pacing.
The subpar story is not a major issue in this game as your enjoyment predominantly revolves around the sublime combat system. Fighting relies on four key concepts which are light attacks, strong blows, parrying and blade mode. Light attacks are used to successfully damage enemies in early stages while they are healthy and prone to make counterattacks. Heavier attacks are riskier but they inflict a substantial amount of harm which leads to longer and more devastating combos. Combining these light and heavy strikes is the best approach when dealing with a large concentration of adversaries.
Metal Gear Rising is unique from the point of view that there isn’t an option to block incoming attacks. The alternative is a parrying mechanic which requires timing and practice to successfully evade brutal onslaughts. You have to predict an enemy’s movement and perfectly press the light strike button and direction of oncoming attacks. Parrying requires a lot of skill and eliminates random button mashing as you are forced to press it once at the appropriate moment. If you mistime this defensive move, Raiden will become vulnerable to a signature ambush. I cannot emphasis enough that parrying and knowing when to make an offensive move is imperative to your success.
The blade mode dramatically slows down time and allows you to devour an enemy for a limited period. This is particularly useful during boss fights where you can target crucial weak spots. However, slicing into more robust opponents demands a patient and persistent attitude. For example, larger bosses are built on a herculean scale consisting of heavy armour and a formidable array of weaponry. The blade mode also utilizes Fuel Cell energy which depletes fairly quickly. It is advisable to use this option sparingly and during moments where it becomes plausible that you can destroy key targets. Fuel Cell energy is restored through standard attacks so you must plan a strategy based on momentum. Certain adversaries contain left hand IDs which replenish your health if you destroy them. These are the medpacks within the game and give you a small chance of surviving against those devastating bosses.
Another powerful attack you can employ is the Ninja Run. This ability is used to transcend precarious objects and perform sliding attacks. These moves are handy when attempting to obliterate an enemy from a distance. Using this method, you can quickly eliminate scores of soldiers without too much difficulty. Sliding around is a useful tool when you need to avoid stomping attacks. Mechs utilize their heavy legs to propel you backwards and inflict severe damage. The Ninja Run performs well as an offensive and defensive attack method.
While Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance contains one of the finest combat engines I’ve ever played, the experience is sorely let down by an atrocious camera. Your opponents approach at a ferocious pace and in patterns which you must watch and learn from. Often the camera automatically reverts to a position where you can’t even see your enemies. During boss fights, I experienced a wealth of frustration as the camera locked to walls and other areas with a narrow field of view. When using the camera manually it is important to keep your viewpoint positioned directly ahead. This is often an arduous task as the fast paced action is hard to keep up with whilst moving the camera yourself.
The gameplay in Metal Gear Rising Revengeance every so often references back to its stealthy roots from earlier titles. It is possible to covertly approach weaker foes and kill them with a single strike providing you haven’t been spotted. This is a cogent tactic when dealing with stray enemies who pose a risk to your health. During one mission, you can climb into a cardboard box to avoid detection and bypass any confrontation. This is a major throwback to Metal Gear Solid 2 which had the player hiding in boxes, cupboards and other environmental objects.. Playing via stealth obviously isn’t encouraged but the option is there during specific missions.
Alongside the base game, there are a number of VR missions to complete which add replayability. Some of these missions are hidden throughout the main game and others are available from the start. They are training exercises which test your skills and aptitude against set times. Most of these objectives involves incapacitating a number of enemies and seeing how long it takes. The competitive instinct and desire to beat people in your friend’s list keeps you playing for a large amount of time.
Technically, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance does have a few minor issues but the optimization is tremendous. On maximum settings using an overclocked GTX 670, I attained a flawless frame rate of 60fps which never dropped below 59.9. The game employs Vsync by default and eliminates screen tearing completely without affecting performance levels. However, there are a few caveats to the port which may deter those with a higher end PC. The frame rate is hard locked to 60fps and the maximum supported resolution is 1920×1080. As as result, if you own a 2560×1440 or larger panel, the game is unplayable at your native resolution. Speaking of resolutions, the options available are pretty slim if you use a 16:10 monitor. You can only choose between 1024×768 and 1680×1050. The texture quality is also a bit suspect and looks ugly when you zoom into walls. Thankfully, the action is so intense that you rarely notice these flaws.
I would begrudgingly recommend the use of a 360 controller. Sadly, the frantic combat which requires quick reactions doesn’t integrate well with a keyboard and mouse setup. Using the mouse is difficult as the developers decided to ignore this control method and terrible mouse acceleration issues are present. You simply cannot use an analog stick as a point of reference for the mouse. As much as I love the fact these games are finally being made available for the PC, I find it frustrating we are still experiencing these types of problems. On a more positive note, you can fully rebind the keys.
Another serious issue is the regional restrictions imposed by Konami which limits Russian and South American customers from activating their code in another region. Cross region gifting has been disabled with the flag “AllowCrossRegionTradingAndGiftingNo.” At the time of launch, a number of countries couldn’t even buy this game including Ireland and Japan. Fortunately, this issue has now been resolved and allows customers from those territories to purchase the game. Region locking is never acceptable and violates the open nature of PC gaming.
Conclusion – Is It Worth The Money?
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance provides a spectacular and thrilling ride which easily surpasses similar games currently on PC. The fluid and extravagant combat is extraordinarily satisfying and on a scale I’ve never seen before. It is frustrating that the incessant camera problems plague your immersion but you generally adjust to this after a few hours playtime. The reverse mouse acceleration is a big hinderance if you prefer that control method. This game is not for the faint-hearted and will test your mettle especially on harder difficulties. The PC version has its limitations but is well optimized and should run at 60fps for most people. Platinum Games has excelled itself once again and made an impeccable spectacle fighting game. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is undoubtedly worth the price point of $29.99 or your regional equivalent.