Metal Gear Solid 4 may be one of the most polarizing games of this generation, but supporters and dissenters alike can come together and agree on one point: Director Hideo Kojima really goofed with his choice to depict the outrageous acrobatics of Raiden’s new cyborg form exclusively through non-playable cutscenes — a decision that seems like an intentional tease, given that Guns of the Patriots features a creaky and cranky old man as its protagonist. And Kojima certainly isn’t above yanking his audience’s chain; remember, 2001’s controversial Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty came into being largely as an elaborate and masterful prank engineered to prove its director’s point about the control and flow of information. We have only short attention spans to thank for the fact that games journalism as an institution wasn’t dissolved shortly after Sons of Liberty’s release.

That said, the announcement of Metal Gear Rising Revengeance (nee Metal Gear Solid Rising) oh so many years ago came off as a true act of contrition on Kojima’s part; not only would his own Kojima Productions finally let players step into Raiden’s robo-high heels, Rising would also take the form of a true action game, moving away from the methodical style that defines the studio’s output. The once-infallible Kojima would finally be doing something different, all the while making up for past hubris brought on by the breakout success of 1998’s Metal Gear Solid — until, that is, Kojima Productions quietly cancelled the game in 2010 due to the team’s inability to mix stealth and Raiden’s particular brand of swordplay.

It’s a system that feels frustrating initially, because countering doesn’t seem to always work reliably; but once you take on the same enemy several times, how their attacks play out and the way you’re intended to respond soon becomes second nature. And some of the most rewarding moments of Revengeance come when you determine how to deal with enemy attacks that don’t telegraph themselves in any way. Knowing how to react on the fly — even in the middle of your own attack animations — stands as the most useful skill for Revengeance’s fast-paced battles.

At its worst, Metal Gear Rising Revengeance has the feeling of a rescued project; the parts that don’t belong stand out as the remnants of Kojima Productions’ original vision (whatever that was), and the game doesn’t feature the laser-precision focus on core mechanics found in other Platinum productions like Bayonetta and Vanquish. But while it relies on the same slow-mo mode used by Platinum since Viewtiful Joe, Revengeance still offers an exceptional and rewarding set of mechanics to master, and a fighting system that feels original in its execution. Revengeance isn’t Platinum at the top of their game; it’s the studio making the best of a bad situation — even so, a troubled Platinum production still has plenty to offer.


Todd Friedman Todd Friedman (386 Posts)

Todd Friedman is heavily involved in the retro gaming community and has co-promoted the Video Game Summit in Chicago, IL for the past 16 years. He also has published 2 books and written for various different gaming magazines including Old School Gamer.