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Review – Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

07 March on Blogs, Reviews  
Raiden renascido como ninja cibernético

Raiden, reborn as a cyberninja

Hideo Kojima is as acclaimed as he is controversial. One of his most memorable moments happened during the launch of Metal Gear Solid 2, the eagerly awaited sequel that solidified the PlayStation 2's leadership with an amazing trailer - but when the title hit shelves, it pulled one of the biggest bait-and-switch ever: Snake was left behind after a short prologue, replaced by the true protagonist Raiden - different looks, different personality... all the opposite of what players expected. And the backlash wasn't small, complaints laster for years - but Kojima had his revenge in Metal Gear Solid 4, when Raiden came back as a sleek and powerful cyberninja, which players got to watch in a split-screen battle with Vamp... while they controlled an aging Snake. I think it's safe to say that many of those who complained suddenly urged to play as the controversial character. And now Kojima has his "revengeance" by allowing players to do just that.

Rising had a very troubled development cycle, being originally made in-house by the Metal Gear team, and even having Kinect support at one point. Seeing as very little of this version was ever shown, it's safe to assume it did not reach the intended quality, which must have led the project to be resurrected at the hands of Platinum, the developer behind Bayonetta and Vanquish. Their action-oriented background put the stealth element in the backseat and focused the game on frenetic sword-fighting - yes, you still get to slice a lot of stuff like the old demos, but new mechanics ensure an incredibly challenging and dynamic game.

Taking place after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4, it chronicles the aftereffects of the extinction of SOP. Private Military Companies are more advanced and independent than ever, and Raiden happens to have joined on that had the wrong mission at the wrong time. Going knee-deep in a conspiracy that brings traumatic memories of his days as a child soldier, he takes upon himself to bring those responsible to justice with his own hands - or more precisely, his high frequency blade capable of cutting through almost everything.

Sem bloquear ataques, jogadores jamais completarão a aventura

Without parrying, players won't be beating the game anytime soon

Instead of offering a swiss army knife of options that never get to be used like Metal Gear Solid 4, Rising immediately makes it clear that you won't survive without learning how to parry - one of the very first bosses serves as a clear roadblock to insure you don't proceed until you have done so. Parrying is executed by simply using a weak attack and pressing the stick against the enemy that flashes red. Many modern designers fear that kind of approach, preferring to lower difficulty to possibly have players give up due to frustration - Rising does the opposite, constantly demanding that you rise to the increasing challenge. At its default setting, the game gives you a nice fight without causing undue stress, while higher setting demand complete mastery of every discipline - especially the iconic Zandatsu: breaking a foes armor so you can slice them open precisely in order to remove their cyberspine, recovering full health and energy of the hero. It may seem weird that virtually any foe can bring you back to a pristine state, but that allows Rising to do as Final Fantasy XIII did: every battle is meaningful, instead of padding the adventure with a lot of inconsequential confrontations - defeat lurks at every corner. This isn't exactly new - Ninja Gaiden follows that concept, but here we find a much more approachable execution that is both accessible and doesn't break the rhythm of the journey. And, frankly, slicing foes into thin wedges is extremely rewarding, be it a soldier or a giant tank.

Mistral, uma das impressionantes chefes do jogo

Mistral, one of the impressive bosses

By trimming down the fat, the game is composed of several memorable moments, with special attention to boss battles - almost all unique and exciting, demanding the creative use of your attack and defense skills to insure victory. But that also comes at a price: the adventure itself is pretty short, easily completed in less than six hours. There are a few rewards in subsequent replays in the form of hidden collectable and quirky trophies/achievements, but some seem like archeological relics of a previous version, like hearing every Codec conversation - something that most players will probably ignore without compromising the experience. And speaking of that, what is wrong with Quinton Flynn? He uses three distinct voices during the whole game, even before the plot explains ONE change, and he switches between them for no apparent reason all the time.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is still an excellent acquisition for those who appreciate a good challenge in an action game. It clearly suffered in its transition to a new team, explaining the short playtime and some gratuitous elements - but the impeccable varnish saves what could easily have been a disastrous game into a competent and very focused experience.

Tech Specs
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
Plataforms: PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Developer: Platinum Games
Publisher: Konami

Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)

Author, freelance videogame journalist, cinematography major and a little insane.

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