Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review

Konami's newest addition to the Metal Gear franchise is a fast paced, anime inspired, non-stop biotech bloodbath. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a different way to experience the Metal Gear universe, focusing more on large 3rd person battles and less on stealth and strategy.  Fans of the other games in the Metal Gear series need not worry though, Revengeance does not represent a new direction for the series, it's merely a super fun, over the top action game that lets MG's cyborg ninja with a past, Raiden, cut loose.

For the few of you who played Bayonetta (BTW all the rest of you are really missing out, that game was awesome!), the gameplay and look of Revengeance will feel familiar. The good folks at Platinum Games have crafted a supremely enjoyable hack and slash with Gundam sized bosses and enough blood to keep the Red Cross stocked for years. They also interweave elements of the Metal Gear Universe into the story, while bringing a sense of humor to the chaos you reign down.

I like to be called Mr. Lightning Bolt!

In Revengeance you play as Metal Gear's infamous cyborg ninja Raiden. After the events of Metal Gear Solid 4, Raiden is now a top member of an elite private security team called Maverick Security. After the fall of The Patriots, the world is now in constant unbalance as Private Military Companies (PMCs) create global conflict for profit. High frequency katana blade in hand, and with a soul full of revenge, Raiden cuts through enemy cyborgs, Gekko's, giant Metal Gears, and frankly everything else in sight thanks to the games Zandatsu cut mechanic (watch out ferris wheels and office desks!).  This mechanic means you can literally cut anything, anytime, anywhere. This is half the fun of the game and we really can't adequately express the thrill of hacking through waves of crazy enemies (or inanimate objects) at the speed of light.

While you take out enemies and make your way through the levels you are assisted via codec by your team. They provide you with vital information and comment snarkily on your apparent disregard for all evildoers and public property. As you make new friends along the way they will be added to your codec so you can call them and tell them all about your day and the many things you've been chopping up.

The look of the game is pretty great, especially the beautifully rendered cut scenes, which are a hallmark of the MG series. What is particularly impressive is that the gameplay graphics are nearly indistinguishable from the cut scenes. This makes for seamless transitions and an adds an incredibly smooth feel to the overall game.

In Revengeance, you are way faster than a bullet, in fact you can use your blade to chop through all projectiles launched in your direction, even rockets (that is, when you're not leaping from one to the next on your way to take out a helicopter). This ability to cut dangerous stuff hurled at you is one of the cornerstones of Blade Mode. Sort of a swashbuckling version of Max Payne's bullet time, Blade Mode allows you to slow down time and aim your sword slashes with precision to more strategically dispatch your enemies by targeting critical points, like limbs that you'll kindly dismember for them. Blade Mode is both really fun (you can completely obliterate an enemy) but it can also add a level of strategy to the combat, incapacitating enemies in large groups and also giving you much needed health thanks to a special Zandatsu move where you literally rip the energy out of your foes and absorb it to replenish your life and fuel cells (cyborgs have what Raiden craves, Electrolytes!). As the game continues the need to precisely aim your slashes is imperative, so doing the VR tutorials is a solid idea.

That stupid mounted gun will never see you coming.

Nothing stands a chance against your blade, especially inanimate objects. As we mentioned earlier you can destroy most of the objects around you during the game, some of them, like boxes and vending machines contain goodies, other things, like helicopters and buses, are just plain fun to cut up into little pieces. This destruction can be used to gain a tactical advantage during combat, like cutting the support pillars for a bridge or balcony where enemies are standing. Plus the more pieces you create the more points you earn (there is actually a hit and parts gauge!) and the more points you earn the more upgrades you can get to increase your life and energy gauges, and to improve your weapons, gain new skills, and much more.

Other Metal Gear games are based on sneaking around unseen, they require tactical precision and careful movement. When it comes to Revengeance stealth is not essential, especially if you're a real badass. Don't feel like sneaking around? You can just say "damn the alarms" and try to takeout the constant waves of enemies and bullet spewing machine gun turrets. Stealth however can be used for a quick and easy way through certain levels, but there are plenty of points to be earned if you choose to forgo stealth and instead run around leaving a wake of havoc and destruction in your path. Any time you would prefer to remain unseen, Augmented Mode can help you see through walls to identify enemies and find other goodies in your general vicinity.

Wait, it's the first level and I have to fight that? That's right, straight from the start you get to engage in what other games would call boss battles. That makes those other games lame! Sure there are plenty of cyborg soldiers to fight along the way, but a ridiculously large mech might be right around the corner. Of course ginormous AI monsters are only another small obstacle on your way to each of the actual boss battles.

Hey, check out this guy! This douche kidnapped a Prime Minister who was helping usher in a new era of peace because he REALLY loves war (he talks so much about it he probably has a podcast dedicated to it!). Each new boss you encounter takes a different set and style of skills to fight, so it can be challenging to defeat them your on your first try. As the game gets closer to it's climax you start praying for more checkpoints to come up midway through these battles.

This one woman arm-y is one of the early bosses that you'll face. Each bionic big bad is unique and freaky (we're pretty sure one of them ate the Chop Chop Fruit), and when they're not philosophizing over the meaning of war they are brandishing their own special badass blades that you can unlock after defeating them. These custom blades come in handy as the game progresses since each one has distinctive properties like stunning enemies or transforming into a whip to take down multiple foes.

All of the primary and custom blades in the game can be upgraded to make them more lethal, take less energy to wield, and absorb the energy from your foes. Also each new custom blade has a bevy of new moves that go along with it, bringing another layer of strategic usability when you wield the new blade along with your primary weapon. There's also talks of a series of DLC special blades in the future!

About half way through the game you are introduced to Ripper Mode. Those of you who are familiar with Raiden's history know that before he started fighting for justice and protecting the innocent he was a child soldier turned cyborg that used to be known as Jack the Ripper. Ripper Mode allows Raiden to reconnect to his crazy bloodthirsty side and take vengeance on anyone who stands in his way. For a short period of time your attacks inflict more damage, giving you an advantage against tougher villains. The temporary burst of power will fully deplete your energy but it's well worth it when you're facing a seemingly unstoppable foe.

I think these guys are getting a little handsy!

We won't get into the story too much, as not to spoil anything. Let's just say Raiden's dealing with his demons while facing off against private militaries and saving the children. Add in a dash of weird American politics, a cyborg dog, and one of the more memorable (and strange) final villains in video game history, and your on the path to revengeance.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance may not feel like other Metal Gear games but that's part of what makes it so great. The reliance on swords instead of guns allows for a much faster paced experience than creeping around corners and hiding under boxes (don't worry, there are still opportunities to run around in a box if you want to). This is the perfect way to do a spin-off, it maintains characters and history from past games but feels like something completely new. The Metal Gear Solid series can continue as the tactical espionage action games we know and love, while this offshoot can give us a totally different way to experience the Metal Gear world. Konami and Kojima made the right choice leaving this spinoff in the hands of Platinum Games.

For the most part the game played smoothly, but once and a while during boss battles the game occasionally starts controlling the camera which can sometimes make it difficult to get where you need to go. While this can make it a little more complicated to win the fight, it doesn't make it impossible. The boss fights are the only time when camera functionality becomes limited and while it is probably done to keep you focused in the right direction it can definitely be a challenge.

Overall this game works as a great stress reliever. Had a tough day at work? Why not just slice up a car? or a tank? or a tree! While in battle you can go for the one hit kill or challenge yourself to see just how many pieces you can cut your quarry into. The game is ridiculously ultra-violent but it's done in a way that makes it fun rather than feeling obscene or unnecessary. The basic controls are easy enough for a novice to pick up quickly, but more hardcore gamers will enjoy using the variety of button combos for the a crazy variety of moves you can acquire.

The story mode of the game clocks in at around 6 hours depending on the player, but the massive amount of upgrades available for swords, skills and unique costumes (mariachi outfit anyone?) increases the game's replayability. Also there are 20+ VR missions that will test your abilities in combat and stealth, allowing you to rack up more points to spend on upgrades.

We look forward to seeing more Metal Gear Rising games in the future to complement the continued Metal Gear Solid series. Raiden is a badass killer trying to be the good guy, and his bushido chill matched with his ripper rage makes him a fun character to embody. Best of all if you've never played a Metal Gear game it really doesn't matter, the story was constructed to play to newcomers. This being said, diehard fans of the series will be excited to return to the MG world, and get a kick out of seeing  some familiar characters and foes. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is super fun, full of crazy and bloody as hell, if that doesn't make you want to play it... I'm sure there will be a new My Little Pony game out soon.

And now it's time to check out the Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance cinematic trailer straight from Konami's YouTube page.

Monday, February 18, 2013

This Week's Radio Show: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and More!

On this week's radio show we'll give you another way to experience our review of the new Konami game Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance! Get ready to hear all about this new slash happy adventure starring the character Raiden. (Don't forget to check out our blog review & a special early edition of our YouTube show, both coming on Tuesday).

We'll also take a look at the DVD for the very odd movie Freaky Deaky, based on the novel by Elmore Leonard.

And we'll check out the new ABC show Zero Hour starring Anthony Edwards.

All this and much more so tune in Geek World this Thursday and Friday at Noon (PST) on Indie 100, with replays throughout the week on The Point. Plus we're on the UK internet station Shellies every Wednesday.

Don't forget to go to to see all of the latest videos we've posted and shared, and be sure to SUBSCRIBE!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Geek World Radio Ep. 28 - A Good Episode to Die Hard

To get ready for the newest edition to the Die Hard franchise, A Good Day to Die Hard, we made this episode of Geek World Radio all about Die Hard!

For more of our videos go to and be sure to SUBSCRIBE.