Rising to the Challenge – How Necessary Is Revengeance?

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was a very brave move. Previous entries in the Metal Gear series had almost entirely focussed on stealth and movie-length cutscenes, while Revengeance has a more action-based approach, with Raiden literally chopping through hordes of enemies with his signature sword. The cutscenes, too, are much shorter (yet still a decent length), though ultimately feel a bit thin in comparison to previous entries.

Now that the dust has settled, I can’t quite tell whether this bold new take on the Metal Gear franchise was wholly necessary – did it rise to the heights of the Metal Gear Solid games, or should we all be hurriedly trying to forget about this Raiden-centric game?


It’s no Metal Gear Solid 4, that’s for sure. The reason for that is, well, because of MGS4, which wrapped everything up nicely in a nanomachine-shaped bubble, leaving very few plot threads hanging and requiring an almost forced return to the battlefield for Raiden in Rising. This game didn’t need to happen in terms of the story, though ultimately the new plot points (and characters) still stand up alongside the rest of the Metal Gear series.

The game’s a bit shorter overall too, but that’s good in that it doesn’t outstay its welcome while still not feeling as though it’s over abruptly – there’s plenty of content here and it’s all very awesome. It all comes together in a suitably Metal Gear way at the end, matching some of the previous titles at points with talk of La Li Lu Le Lo and plenty of other references.

That’s not to say that it only succeeds when referencing Metal Gear Solid; new characters such as Jetstream Sam and Sundowner have their own ideals which feel like a breath of fresh air yet still somehow familiar.

That’s just the story, though. I’m still not a huge fan of stealth games (although it works when the game is solely focused on it) and I much prefer the hack and slash genre that Rising falls into. The gameplay is where the game really stands out, with a finely tuned combat system and the fantastic blade mode, which slows down time allowing Raiden to chop his enemies into hundreds of pieces.

And then there’s the boss battles, which blow Metal Gear Solid’s (which are still very good) out of the water. The first, just five minutes into the game, pits Raiden one-on-one against a Metal Gear Ray, and even though we’ve trodden similar ground in MGS2 this feels much more epic, as do many of the other battles, even when they’re just simple sword duels. It feels as though you’re playing the bits that you would have been watching in MGS4, and Rising has to be applauded for that.

The decision to tie L1 to the free blade model was a great one; it’s a much better execution than the blade in MGS2 and reflects the way Raiden has evolved into a brilliant character who can stand on his own two cybernetic feet.


Rising’s blade mode adds a tactical element as you slice up enemies to reach their cybernetics.

It’s still tactical, too – you can choose to sneak past enemies and everyone’s favourite carboard box, although lampshaded at first, works a treat. There’s also Raiden’s ability to chop up enemies with blade mode in order to reach their cyborg core to refill his health. This is a very important mechanic and one which makes the blade mode a very significant tactical element rather than a fun bonus.

Solid definitely has better, established characters spanning decades and – let’s face it – a far better plot, but Rising isn’t about that, it’s about feeling awesome while cutting up enemies with the soundtrack blasting away in the background and it absolutely succeeds in that regard.

It’s arcadey like any cyborg Raiden game should be, it’s as crazy as Psycho Mantis and it’s as fun as games can get.

Rising also excels in avoiding the frustration factor. While battles can become annoying, the game does nothing but spur you on to try again, unlike Solid, which – at least in my experience – soon becomes annoying after you’ve failed to sneak past the enemies several times without progress.

So, yes, Rising wasn’t really necessary, though I’m extremely glad it exists; it’s still a worthy entry into the series and a spin-off done right. While the plot threads might not excite as much as Solid’s did, the characters are still very unique and Raiden’s post-MGS4 character gets some much needed exposition, even if bringing him back in such a way does cheapen the ending of the previous title.

Brave, bold and utterly sublime – Rising is exactly what a spin-off should be.



  1. I agree MGR is a fun game but have to disagree with this:

    “Rising also excels in avoiding the frustration factor.”

    I found the game to suffer from some sharp difficulty spikes (on Normal) with a couple of boss battles that took me around an hour. After 90 minutes of trying (and making no progress whatsoever) against the last boss I actually gave up. MGR is the first story based game in about 10 years that I won’t finish.

    The fact you can’t lower the difficulty once you’ve started the game is madness to me – I like a challenge but for me, while I quite liked the game and had fun for 80% of it, those tougher moments meant I didn’t enjoy it as an overall experience.

    • Fully agree. It is up there with the most infuriating games I have played this generation. The difficulty spikes are torturous, poor design choices and flawed controls mean it is indeed a very annoying experience.

      One with some great moments and superb amount of polish, but infuriating nonetheless.

      • The worst part about it all is the simple option to lower the difficulty would’ve helped considerably.

        I have a friend who played it on Easy, was done in 6/7 hours and really enjoyed it. Instead I was left with a frustrating experience that led me to watch the ending on damn YouTube!

      • I tried to make the point that it’s frustrating but in the “one more go” way rather than just being annoying.

  2. The question is: Is any game really necessary?
    At the end of the day the devs and publishers need to make money and gamers are looking for entertainment. :)

  3. The BEST Demo i ever played was ‘MGS1′(PS1 days) & the worse demo i ever played was ‘Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance’ LoL:D (TRUE)
    + According to that cr*p ‘vgchartz.com’ ‘Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance’ sold 628,198 on the PS3 & only sold 166,556 on the Xbox 360 in its 1st week out?!?! Thank god for Loyal PlayStation Fans then Kojima(Google the word ‘Loyal’ Kojima)(God i am bitter some times) :D + I refuse to buy it even if it was good due to the way Kojima announced the game years back ;-/

  4. i wasn’t too keen, even after trying the demo, but if Kojima is ok with taking the series in this direction, who am i to say otherwise.

    i do prefer a stealth game rather than the DMC style of game here.

    but it’s not like it’s a total departure from previous titles, not like turning X-Com into an fps, there’s always been action as well as the stealth.
    the boss battles are usually pretty action based.

    maybe it’s helping fund MGS5.

  5. I feel they should have left the title metal gear alone.

    They should have called it something else, personally I won’t buy it just yet, when it’s bargain bin then will do so, raiden is not likeable, I mean his entrance in MGS4 was epic no lie but I still want to see Kojima version the one that never got released!

    • But it’s technically canon & a spin off, so the MG title is justified as far as i am concerned.

      Yes it’s a different type of game, but that is a good thing as far as i am concerned. This is the first MG game i have considered buying in many many years, mainly as i hate stealth, so this is much more my cup of tea.

      • Fair dos but for the game to stay relevant & people to buy was due to the name metal gear in my eyes, if it was called something else I doubt it would be a necessary game.

        I like the idea of it as I loved platinum’s vanquish, the demo of rising had that feel to it but same time the combat flawed. It’s just I feel a lot of people went into this game thinking MGS rather than spin off, can’t explain what I’m trying say

  6. I’m not sure whether to get this game. Does it carry on any narrative from the MGS series? If so I would buy it.

    • yes, it does. It’s not only a spin-off but a direct sequel.

  7. Rising was not required to happen due to MGS4 tying up most of the loose ends in it’s infamous 1hour plus ending. But it is good to see Raiden get one final game in the spotlight although i would have prefered for Rising to take place in between 2 and 4 to explain how he became the cyborg ninja as there is a lot of room for a game there. I don’t like the hack and slash direction they took with this but because it’s a spin off, i don’t mind much. I have heard it’s only 5 hours long, which must make it the shortest game in the entire franchise. That’s as long as the opening scene in MGS4. :O

  8. I personally loved MGR but on the subject of characters I can understand its a little undercooked. You never really get the personal motivations of each antagonist (Especially Jet Stream Sam) and why they follow the final boss but i’m sure stronger characterisation will follow a sequel (hopefully!). I also spent probably around 2 hours on a boss (Monsoon) for probably the first time in years and probably only got irritated after an hour and a half (Just really loved the soundtrack).

    The only thing unnecessary was Raiden’s new voice or added “badass rasp” which kinda made him seem a bit lame.

  9. It’s a cool game. Really enjoyed it. It’s not the Rising game I was hoping for. I wanted a link between Sons of Liberty and Guns of the Patriots. Metal Gear Solid is the greatest game series ever with Revengence being a nice little spin off. Hopefully the next Raiden adventure will answer those questions, however, in my mind Hideo may through the ps4 exclusive out, Snake as the lead, linking MGS2 and 4. Metal Gear Solid 5: Foxhound Solid.

  10. Also the bosses weren’t very good. They felt MGS2 inspired. Hell the last boss did the same thing (getting bigger) Metal Gear Solid bosses are outstanding. Especially the belters in Snake Eater.

Comments are now closed for this post.