Perhaps I wouldnít be saying this if we didnít know the development history of Metal Gear Rising Revengeance, but it does have the feel of a game that has been saved. Areas are fairly small, levels mostly short, and thereís not a lot of enemies. Itís not unusual to beat 4 enemies, some more spawn in out of no where, move on a bit, watch a cut scene, beat another 4, cut scene, boss fight. Gameplay elements are re-used, the building running is less than great and is repeated in slightly altered forms a couple of times.
Itís apparent in the cut scenes too, not that theyíre of poor quality, far from it, the cut scenes are great. Thereís also a lot of them, which is pretty much par for the course for a Metal Gear game, although they arenít quite as gameplay obstructing as they could be in Metal Gear Solid 4. Instead there are scenes, crazy scenes admittedly, that Iím convinced youíd play in another Platinum Games product. I know itís a common complaint of CG cut scenes, that theyíre showing you all this cool stuff you canít do, but knowing that you would have done it in Bayonetta and Vanquish does make it more apparent.
Revengeanceís problems arenít all about the feeling of what could have been, there are a few issues with the gameplay. The camera isnít great, in fact if you do find yourself backed up against some scenery it feels oddly archaic, itís been a while since Iíve played a modern game with camera issues like this. For the most part itís fine as for the most part youíre fighting in fairly open environments, but there will be plenty of times during the game where youíll helplessly be smacked around by enemies all because you canít see the attack coming. Itís a problem exacerbated by Rising not doing a good enough job of explaining its systems to you. For example thereís a lock on feature which is a big help in boss fights, that was something I had to discover for myself.
The parrying mechanic too illustrates the lack of guidance. Rising does show you how to do it, kind of, but it doesnít go in to the timing. What that means is that youíll master blocking fairly quickly, reliably and almost accidentally avoiding damage, but itís only later on youíll realise that you can take a bit more time that you think for a counter. Thereís a dodge move that can be purchased, itís located in the combo list, again another feature oddly hidden. I never really felt the need to consult the move list apart from to learn that dodge move, not that Iíd describe the combat as mashy, but there is a certain spongey, instinctiveness to it. You naturally begin to make your own combos, knowing roughly what you need to do to get the desired effect.
While it probably reads like thereís a lot wrong with Revengeance, itís still a very good game. The combat isnít as deep as Bayonetta or Devil May Cry, but itís still way better than it has any right to be. The Zan Datsu adds precision and a conclusion to combat, ensuring that you donít just mash away. Instead you need to precisely slice limbs from enemies, and hit the right area to refill your health. Theyíve even included stealth moves, they add something different, tying Rising to its Metal Gear routes.
Metal Gear Rising Revengeance is superb, itís stupid, daft, but also surprisingly politically charged. It manages to feel like a Metal Gear game whilst also feeling like a Platinum game, a quality brawler with some unique dynamics. Itís got a few too many issues for it to be a true classic, exacerbated because the core game is so much fun. but I dare say itíll be as well regarded as both Vanquish and Bayonetta.