Originally starting on the Playstation with Metal Gear Solid, then moving to the PS2 with Metal Gear Solid 2 and Metal Gear Solid 3 before moving to the PS3 for Metal Gear Solid 4 the Metal Gear Solid HD Collection has recently been released for the PS3 so I am going to devote some time to going through the games and why (in the case of Twin Snakes) for you humans who do not have a spaceship capable of playing any game from any console in history it is totally worth going out and buying a GameCube or a PS3 just in order to play these games
Oh yes, I should also mention that the reason this section is called The Metal Gear Universe because not only am I going to look at the Metal Gear Solid games I recently got hold of the spin-off Metal Gear Rising Revenegence so I am also going to take a look at that too
I haven't as of yet played Metal Gear Solid 5 but I have downloaded it, so sooner or later I will add that to the reviews below.
For the moment I have done reviews of:
Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty
Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots
Metal Gear Rising: Revengence
A remake of the 1998 PS1 game brought up to date using PS2 style graphics with all new dialogue and cut scenes. It features the cast of the original game reprising their various roles giving the game a great pedegree.
If there was ever a game that had a huge impact on my life it would be Metal Gear Solid on the Playstation (called a playstation then not a playstation One or a PS1 or whatever). I got so hopelessly hooked on this game that I sacrificed all my time to work on it, I even considered hanging up the phone so I could focus ALL of my time on it, every other concerns went out of the window in favour of playing one of my favourite games of all time. Now of course back in 1998 the characters faces were just pixelated generalisations, and the graphics were not especially detailed but at the time they were top notch and even for someone like me that had no idea who Solid Snake was or his history I never-the-less loved the game.
Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty was fun but replacing Snake with Raiden for the majority of the game left me and a lot of other fans more than a little annoyed. The graphics of that game on the PS2 naturally outshone those of the PS1 game Metal Gear Solid but playing as the blonde twat, a man so un-cool his hair would remain visible when he wore the stealth suit making him look completely ridiculous even when invisible was painful. But then in 2003 something wondrous happened, Nintendo announced that they would be remaking Metal Gear Solid using graphics on par with those of the PS2 game Sons of Liberty. Now as I mentioned in my Dead Space review, I was so into the Dead Space franchise that I went out and bought a Wii just so I could play Dead Space: Extraction but this was not the first time I had bought a console for a single game, no, this was the first time I bought a console for the sole purpose of playing a single game, THIS game: Metal Gear Solid: The Twin Snakes
Now, I know what you are thinking, and that is actually true, I do know what you are thinking because I have some telepathic ability which is how I expertly remain hidden whilst hiding directly beneath your noses, Ha, stupid humans, you think you are so smart but you are not...er...sorry I seem to have wandered from the point
Anyway, I understand that remaking a game is probably just going to be an attempt to cash in on all the nostalgia dollars, and will undoubtedly be nothing more than a graphical upgrade on what we have already seen. I scoffed when it was announced that Grand Theft Auto 5 would be released on the PS4 with a graphical upgrade and a few extras missions, but in the case of The Twin Snakes, Nintendo went all out. They completely overhauled the graphics, recorded new dialogue with the original voice actors returning and really brought out the true badass that is Solid Snake.
The graphics are amazing, the characters animated beautifully and all the hidden gems and Easter eggs that were in the original are still here. The torture bit is actually beatable, in the original I had to link the controller directly into the ship's AI port because with my talon-like fingers and scaly hands I could not tap the button fast enough to keep Snake from death. As I mentioned above the original cast return to rerecord their lines, this was apparently done at the insistence of David Hayter (the voice of Solid Snake) in order to take advantage of the enhanced sound quality the GameCube had over the PS1, and the effort really pays off.
The cut scenes have also been completely redone, and serves to set Snake even further apart from Raiden in Metal Gear Solid 2. There is a moment in Twin Snakes when Snake is fighting a Hind D on the roof of the communications tower, at the end of the battle the Hind fires two missiles at Snake, and as one explodes before him he uses the force of the blast to leap into the air, jump off the second missile and shoot the Hind out of the air…yeah, you read that right, now could you possibly imagine Raiden doing anything that cool? Admittedly some of the cut scenes do make Snake look more than a match for Superman but you know what? I don’t care, this is the game we wanted instead of Metal Gear Solid 2, and thankfully Nintendo have given it to us and I for one will be eternally grateful.
I should also mention that you can play this game on the Wii but if you do that you will still need a GameCube memory card as whilst you can play the game on the Wii, you can't save the data for it on the Wii's harddrive - annoying, yes, but not a deal breaker.
If you are a fan of the Metal Gear Solid franchise and you have not played this game then you are not a fan of the franchise because otherwise you would have already played this game. I think it is a shame that this game was not included in the HD collection, for the sake of the fans why couldn't The Twin Snakes have been included in that package?? I know they were made by rival companies but it would have just been amazing if there was a single collection which included this magnificent game...
The final verdict then??
Of course this one is a complete no brainer, Twin Snakes is a definite Thumbs Up, you know what Fuck it, I'm going to give it 2 Thumbs Up because it is just THAT good.
10/10 - Remaking one of my favorite games ever could have been a major fail but thankfully Nintendo gave us a great game and one that is worth every second of the hours you will enjoy playing it
Sequel to Metal Gear Solid that had previously been released on the Playstation. It had the likes of David Hayter returning to voice Solid Snake and featured a graphical upgrade thanks to being on the PS2. It is part of the HD collection that has recently been released for the PS3 so I am reviewing the version that is part of that collection.
Now before anyone says anything yes I am aware that I have put this review underneath my Twin Snakes review which is a remake that was made 2 years after this. No, that is not a mistake. I loved the original game on the Playstation but the remake is superior in every way, the graphics, the cut scenes, and the rerecording of the voiceovers, so in my opinion it would be pointless to do a review of the original game when the remake follows it so closely but also improves upon it.
Now that is out of way, what’s going on here…???
Since the previous game in which Snake either escaped Shadow Moses with Meryl or Otacon (Otacon survives in both endings so it is only Meryl’s fate that is unknown here) it turns out that Ocelot has sold the plans for Metal Gear Rex on the Black Market so there now exist dozens of variations of Rex’s design. None of them are nuclear capable but are becoming a major problem, so the Navy has built their own prototype Metal Gear to tackle them but also Snake and Otacon have developed an anti-Metal Gear group called Philanthropy to combat them too.
Initially we see Snake boarding a tanker in which the Navy have constructed Metal Gear Ray as a means of combating the variations of Rex. It is Snake’s task to infiltrate the cargo hold where Ray is being stored to obtain photographic evidence of its existence. Once onboard, the ship is attacked by mercenaries lead by Revolver Ocelot (one of the few baddies who survived Shadow Moses) who ultimately hijacks the prototype, sinking the ship and seemingly killing Snake in the process.
Jump 2 years ahead to a facility called the Big Shell that has been set up to deal with the massive “oil spill” left in the wave of the ship’s sinking. Hostages have been taken on the facility and it is up to a new comer named Raiden to infiltrate the facility and rescue them. On the way he is helped by a man named Pliskin and held up at every available opportunity my members of Dead Cell, a terrorist organisation who have taken the hostages.
My review of Metal Gear Solid: Twin Snakes may still be ringing in your ears, but picture if you will for a moment, a newly arrived alien who had spent time he should have been focusing on waiting for his people to pick up the phone playing Metal Gear Solid. The graphics weren’t brilliant but the character of Snake was so good and the game so much fun and so addictive that he could focus on nothing else. Now flash to a few years later when a sequel to that magnificent game has come out (not Twin Snakes - I am of course talking about Son’s of Liberty) in which the graphics are vastly improved, you can enter the first person prospective when aiming weapons and of course who are once again playing as the legendary Solid Snake.
Then picture getting past the tanker level and discovering that you are no longer playing as Snake, instead you are playing as this androgynous, blonde haired, and thoroughly wimpy looking child who initially dared to call himself Snake.
This is a character that, unlike Snake, you like to see die or humiliate at every opportunity the games gives you to do so.
Whereas Snake was a grizzled badass, Raiden is a complete pussy, he barely knows how to fight, he needs to be guided around like a child and just doesn’t look anywhere near as physically imposing as Snake. What is even more annoying is that Pliskin IS Snake and I say that without any fear of spoilers, because first off, he looks like Snake, second he has the same voice actor which they bring up on screen under his fake name, and third his name is Pliskin – you know like Snake Pliskin from Escape from New York. Why the dickens have we been saddled to this twat when there is no reason why we could not be playing as Snake again, indeed later in the game “Pliskin” drops the pretence and admits he is Solid Snake. I get that the first few levels of a game are going to be a tutorial and maybe the game makers didn’t want to make Snake seem like a rookie but there was a tutorial in Metal Gear Solid and we have just played as Snake for the opening part of the game. I don’t see why there couldn’t be some new technology that Snake was unfamiliar with that required explanation in the opening part of the Big Shell section then let us play as him again.
If you can get past Raiden being about as cool as wearing socks and sandals, and that is a very big if, then the game plays in a very similar way to Metal Gear Solid. The controls are lifted straight from that game, nothing has been tweaked but the addition of the first person mode means that you can carefully aim your shots. A tranquilizer gun has been introduced so it is possible to get through the game without killing anyone if you feel like it, the radios that guards are carrying can be shot so if they try to call for backup they can’t unless they leave the area. The trusty radar is still in the top corner of the screen showing a guard’s field of view so you can stealth around them if you want to, and of course there are plenty of Easter eggs included. Magazines containing semi-naked woman have been included as a distraction aid because you can put them on the floor so that guards will literally drop to their knees to look at them.
The biggest problem with this game is replacing Snake with Raiden because Raiden is such a twat, he never comes back with a tough one-liner, he seems to defeat most of the enemies through luck than skill. There is even a bit where he has to snipe enemies to protect Otacon’s sister but you can actually call Snake to come in and do all the shooting for you. The game is acknowledging that Snake is better by actively letting you call him to do the work for you.
Admittedly there is a lot of fun to be had here, but a lot of that fun comes from making Raiden look like a dick. There is a moment when a guard is peeing off a balcony above your head, now you can hug the wall and get past it without getting splashed if you want, or you can stroll underneath it, let the guy pee on your head and contact the Colonel to listen to the dialogue in which he gives you his utmost sympathies. Another bit allows you to sit in a toilet cubicle with a magazine containing naughty pictures on your lap then call your girlfriend, who with express disapproval over what you are apparently doing in there.
I like the game, I have fond memories of playing it, but the biggest issue was the fact that we were not playing as Snake. Raiden, in this game, is just a wiener. He is not someone that should be in the game, and is certainly not someone that should be seen as the successor to Solid Snake. The Snake of Metal Gear Solid and later Twin Snakes was a total badass that dealt with his enemies with seemingly effortless ease. His best friend was crushed by Metal Gear Rex in the previous game and he charged at Rex without a weapon in hand, and you know what if I’d been inside Rex and seen him running at me, I’d have pissed myself.
That is the difference between Snake and Raiden, if Raiden is pissed at you, you’d just knock him over with a sponge, if Snake is pissed at you, then you are going to die, it is that simple.
There is a mode in which you can review previous cut scenes if you want, and in this mode you can change the skins of the people in the original scene. I don’t know of anyone who played this game who didn’t change the skins of Raiden and Solidus in the final battle with Snake and Raiden respectively so they could watch Snake kill Raiden – that should tell you everything you need to know about the character. Fans delighted in watching him getting killed by the person we should have been playing as all along.
The game play is fun, and voice cast excellent. Whilst I rate the game for that I keep bumping into the same wall, replacing Snake with Raiden was a bad call and meant we spend the whole game with this blonde pussy that the man we really want to be playing this game with.
It pains me to give Metal Gear Solid 2: Son’s of Liberty a Thumbs Down because Snake is still so cool but he is not in the game enough and Raiden is a complete and utter wimp that has no business being in this game at all.
7/10 - A sequel to easily one of the best games I have ever played should have been a joy, and if we'd have been left to play as Snake it would have been. but making us play as Raiden instead really hurt the overall experience.
Originally released in 2004, this game is also a part of the HD Collection released for the PS3. It serves as a prequel to the previous games in the franchise and charts Big Boss when he was a younger man and had the codename: Naked Snake.
After Son's of Liberty had us playing as blonde twat Raiden when all we wanted to do was step back into Solid Snake’s shoes in this instalment we are once again playing as Snake…sort of. This games serves as a prequel to the series and has us playing as Naked Snake, who would ultimately become Big Boss in later life. He is voiced by David Hayter, looks like Solid Snake, and Raiden is nowhere to be seen so things are looking up.
So this time we are in 1964…
Naked Snake is sent into the jungles of the USSR to recover a scientist developing a new kind of weapon that the West would rather they didn’t develop. He is aided by the usual bands of people on the end of his radio, his mentor The Boss, being one of them. After he recovers the scientist, Snake is ambushed by The Boss, who throws him off a bridge and defects to the USSR under Colonel Volgin. The Colonel fires a nuke at an area of the jungle and sets off to do, dastardly things with the weapon the scientist is developing.
A week later the wounded Naked Snake is sent back into the jungle to track down and kill his mentor The Boss, but also destroy the weapon that Volgin is developing and planning to use against the West.
Cue lots of running around in the jungle and having to tangle with members of The Boss’ Cobra Unit consisting of The Pain, The Fear, The End and The Sorrow.
Game play wise the majority of the features have been taken from Sons of Liberty, the controls are pretty much the same, however, this time around there is no radar. Instead this game introduces the camouflage index which shows how visible you are in the jungle. So if you are going to be hiding in the long grass, you put on a grass camo with grass camo face paint, this will increase your camouflage making it less likely guards will spot you.
I can understand why the makers got rid of the radar, because arguably that technology wouldn’t be available in 1964 but the camouflage index has its good and bad points. On the good side it does encourage you to think about your outfit and face paint, and adapt it to suit the environment you are currently in. You do unlock plenty of different camo suits so it is not really difficult to keep your index up quite high, in addition if you defeat the bosses using non-lethal means you unlock their outfits which will give you special bonuses.
The down side of not having the radar and the cone of visibility you don’t really know how far the guards can see. Crawling around on the floor will cause the camera to tilt downwards so often you won’t see a guard coming until they have literally trodden on you. So trying to stay hidden when you can’t see the guards until they are on top of you does get a bit frustrating. However, you are able to use the jungle to your advantage, hornets nests can be shot out of trees, and if guards happen to be beneath them when you shoot them the hornets will swarm around them driving them from the area for a while.
This game wants the player to feel more like they are the one in the jungle, and as a result you have to eat food to keep from getting hungry and to keep up your stamina bar. It means that you aren’t just eating to replenish your heath. The health bar will increase over time if you are wounded but can only do so if your stamina bar is full, food will go rotten if it is left uneaten for too long, but can be used to make certain enemies sick so the combat is a bit more varied this time around.
Part of the game takes place in the jungle whilst others in various different facilities and as usual there are a variety of support characters offering advice and help. David Hayter voices Naked Snake, and the rest of the voice cast are suitably cast as the different characters. We even get to see a young Revolver Ocelot and find out why he started using his trademark revolvers instead of other handguns.
The loss of the radar is annoying but Snake Eater boasts one of the greatest boss fights in gaming history.
I am referring to the battle with The End.
Not only does this fight take place across several huge maps with The End taking up a sniping position from which to shoot you, but he can also sneak up behind you to shoot you in the back. He never kills you but if this happens you wake up in a cell miles away and have to return to face him again. It is a truly thrilling battle as you are hunting him as he is hunting you. The End can give you two items, if you sneak up behind him and hold him up three times, he will, on the third time, give you his camouflage suit which can replenish your stamina bar if you wear it in the sunlight. If you defeat him using non-lethal means you will also be awarded his tranquilizer sniper rifle at the end of the fight. What makes this fight so much fun is the fact that there are actually two ways to avoid it completely, the first being a moment following a cut scene when you can snipe him whilst he is in a wheelchair, and the second being that if you start the battle, save and switch off the game, either returning in a week or moving your console’s clock forward a week, you’ll find The End has died of old age. Honestly though, you won’t want to avoid this fight because it is so creative, and surprisingly tense to have this veteran sniper hunting you down. I made the mistake of standing out in the open, only to hear his voice behind me as a cut scene played as he shot me and I woke up in the cell very far away.
All the boss battles are creative, and like the other games in the series encourage you to play them on different difficulties to unlock the collectables. By the way if you want to unlock the stealth suit then you either need to get through each area unseen, or, there is a small keratin frog in each zone, if you shoot every one, you’ll be awarded the stealth suit at the end of the game.
All in all Snake Eater is a great addition to the franchise that adds some depth to established characters and shows how they became so disillusioned with those around them. The final truth about The Boss is very well done and does tug at the heartstrings a little, plus playing the game again with weapons you’ve unlocked on the previous play through is always entertaining.
I gave Son's of Liberty a Thumbs Down solely because of Raiden’s presence in the game forcing us to play as him, Snake Eater doesn’t have him so it is immediately better. The jungle environments, and the care that has been taken on the level designs plus the camouflage leave me to give this game a well deserved Thumbs Up
8.5/10 - Boasting spectacular boss fights this surpasses Metal Gear Solid 2 but it cannot match the brilliance that is Twin Snakes.
Released in 2008, Metal Gear Solid 4: Gun of the Patriots is a sequel to Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty and also ties up several story arcs and characters that includes themes introduced Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. David Hayter once again reprises the role of Solid Snake and reunites with numerous voice actors returning to reprise their characters from previous instalments.
After Snake Eater I was left with slightly blue balls, the game was good and was a welcome return to playing (sort of) Snake. The jungle environments were creative and the boss battles were pretty spectacular. However, it was not the continuation of the story that we wanted. I wanted to know what happens with Solid Snake after he tells Raiden that he is going after Liquid who had stolen Metal Gear Ray again. We wanted to see what became of this adventure, not track through the jungle as a different Snake.
In anticipation for this instalment I would watch YouTube videos which demonstrated some of the graphics and game play. I waited eagerly for the game to hit shelves. At the time I was working in a games shop and as soon as the game arrived in store my copy was in the staff reserved box. Finally the game was released, so at long last, the sequel to Metal Gear Solid 2: Son's of Liberty has arrived.
Still the inevitable question hangs over the game: was it worth the wait?
Simply – Yes but it is a little more complicated than that.
On the PS3 the graphics are first rate, each environment has been beautifully created with an enormous amount of detail. The movements of characters, and debris makes the environments feel alive. Events that would, on other consoles, happen in cut scenes happen before your eyes and you have the unique opportunity to assist rebel forces and form allies during the variety of levels.
As with the majority of Metal Gear Solid games of late the plot has something to do with the Patriots (as the clue in the title suggests), and this time around it turns out that Snake has aged rapidly due to his status as a clone. If that was not bad enough his body contains a variant of Foxdie that is going to turn him into a biological weapon. On hand to support him is Otacon, and unlike previous games this one moves around the world going from locations like the jungles seen in Snake Eater to cities complete with civilians and parks. This is a move which hasn’t been seen before in the Metal Gear Solid franchise because the game is split into five acts with Snake changing location in each act, travelling from snowy wildernesses, to jungles and even back to Shadow Moses (the location of the first game).
Various characters from the previous games return, like Naomi Hunter, Vamp and…Raiden (don’t worry I will talk about him later)
If you are familiar with the Metal Gear Solid franchise then you will know what to expect in terms of controls. The means to access to weapons and items has remained the same from Son's of Liberty and Snake Eater, allowing fans to simply pick up the controls and play like pros right from the beginning, with the added bonus that the majority of weapons are now upgradable.
On the whole the only real negative of this game for me is the amount and length of the cut scenes with some lasting up to an hour. I am not joking when I say I would often be playing the game, finish a bit then say to myself, “Right, I’ll just watch this cut scene and then I’ll go and do some work on the reactor” only to still be sitting there a good hour later still waiting for the scene to end. As I mentioned previously the story concerns itself with tying up a lot of loose ends which spread back to the original Metal Gear Solid, through Son's of Liberty and the prequel Snake Eater, which can be difficult to follow and a little tedious. On the plus side, there is a degree of interactivity within the cut scenes and a few bonuses which you can only find during the periods of long conversation. For example you can move the camera angles around or control a little robot during the scenes so can go rolling around the environment bumping into various things, and if you bump into certain people you unlock their face camos which can be worn in game. This doesn’t sound all that interesting I know but it does make the lengthy cut scenes a bit less tedious because you can mess with the environment to some degree.
The boss battles are also creative and fun to do, but the highlight is undoubtedly returning to Shadow Moses Island and getting to see bits of the facility you didn’t before as well as exploring the environment once again. There is a lot of fan service in that level with music from the original game playing over certain scenes with you finding the wreckage of Liquid’s Hind D in the snowfield as well as engaging in a great boss battle in the same location you fought Sniper Wolf. The game’s highlight is also in this section, during your escape in the reactivated Metal Gear Rex, you are confronted by Liquid in Metal Gear Ray, and…I kid you not…you get to have a fight between Rex and Ray which is not only spectacular but also great fun.
The lengthy cut scenes are annoying, but the game play, detail, and inclusion of the majority of the franchises key characters from the first Metal Gear Solid on the Playstation1, make this game a must for fans of the series with the choice of stealth or shoot-em-up appealing to those who have not played any of the franchises games up to this point.
Finally...there is yet another highlight in a game riddled with highlights that deserves special mention.
I am referring to Raiden.
Up to this point I was not exactly a fan of his. I thought he was the worst thing in Sons of Liberty, he was an obvious rookie clearly out of his depth, he was also apparently a little deaf – hearing “nerd” instead of “node” – the criticisms of his character went on and on. He was also the reason that I gave the overall game a Thumbs Down despite the fact that it was a decent game to play. I resented being forced to play as him for the majority of the game and marked the game down accordingly for making me do so.
So you can imagine that I would like nothing more than to tear him a new one yet again, but don’t let it be said that I cannot admit when something had been changed for the better, and here he has been reborn.
This time around (because the game needs a cyborg ninja) it is Raiden who has been given that honour, and holy shit have they done it right. In Son's of Liberty he was a complete dick, but here he is strong, powerful and more than a match to take on the seemingly immortal Vamp. The fight scenes between the two are epic and spectacular. But at no point does he outshine Snake, which is something he could easily have done. There is a sequence when he has been restrained by a bunch of large robots called Gekko (who are pretty powerful and never before or since has the noise of a cow mooing been so intimidating in a video game), Snake, in a helicopter shoots one of the cords holding him in place with a sniper rifle at which point Raiden breaks free and takes out all the Gekko before engaging in a spectacular fight with Vamp. Raiden’s fight sequences are magnificently choreographed and animated. Indeed at one point he says during your escape “I’ve got your back” and you think to yourself, “He has, he has got my back”. Metal Gear Solid 4 has successfully turned him from a goofy side-kick into a man worthy to stand shoulder to shoulder with Solid Snake, his appearances in the game are a joy to behold and will leave even the most anti-Raiden player cheering.
I do think it is a bit of a shame that Snake is old in this game because it would have been nice to once again play him in his prime, but this seems to be serving as his final outing. I honestly don’t know if we play as Snake again in the upcoming Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain or if we’re seeing more of Big Boss’ career. But in that game Snake is not being voiced by the gravelly David Hayter so as far as I am concerned he is not the Solid Snake that I have been a fan of since first playing Metal Gear Solid back in 1998.
If this is the last time I get to play as Solid Snake, an icon of games then it is a great final chapter and I for one salute you Solid Snake, you shall be missed.
It should come as no surprise that my Thumb is definitely Up, this is a great game, the characters are fun, the settings varied and Raiden is no longer a complete knob, what more could you ask for in a game??
In fact you know what this and the whole franchise is getting 2 Thumbs Up, if you haven't already, buy Twin Snakes, the HD Collection, and finally Metal Gear Solid 4.
You will not be disappointed
9.5/10 – It pains me that I cannot give this game a full the 10/10 but the over long cut scenes do get a bit tedious so whilst this game is damn near perfect I just cannot give it that 10/10 rating
Released in 2013 Metal Gear Rising Revengence is a hack-and-slasher game in which we step into the shoes of Raiden, a character who has not held the central position in a Metal Gear game since his appearance in Metal Gear Solid 2: Son's of Liberty in which he...[shudder]...thought the word "node" was pronounced "nerd" and his hair remained visible when wearing the stealth camouflage.
My history with Raiden is a little like that of me and a co-worker that my skin sack used to have, when I met him I thought he was a complete dick, he was arrogant, thought he knew better than everyone around him, and didn’t give anyone any respect. I got drunk at the work’s do Christmas party and proceeded to tell him that I thought he was a dick and go into extensive detail explaining exactly why I thought that…at the time he took my comments onboard, mellowed a bit and I did warm to him. I would even go so far to say that I don’t entirely dislike him any longer, however, if my people ever pick up the bloody phone it won’t keep him from being vaporised along with the rest of you when the invasion begins…sorry I have wandered from the point…the point is that Raiden was the same, I hated him in Metal Gear Solid 2 and marked the game down for making us play as him when there was no reason why we could not play as Snake again. Since then his appearance in Metal Gear Solid 4 changed my opinion of him massively, he was a powerful cyborg-ninja and was tough but still had human vulnerabilities.
Metal Gear Rising is not a sequel to Metal Gear Solid 4 it is a spin-off and is set in the same world as the other games but establishes a separate series of events and once again Raiden is now the playable character.
So without further ado…what’s the story I hear you cry…
Four years after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4 Raiden is providing a security detail in an unnamed African country for its prime minister, N'Mani, when the vehicle convoy is attacked by highly advanced cyborgs lead by a man named Sundowner. The Prime Minister is captured and despite his best efforts Raiden’s cyborg body is just not as advanced as his enemy and he is swiftly defeated
Three weeks later Raiden is back with a new cyborg body that is considerably more powerful than his last and is on the trail of the group that attacked the Prime Minister and must square off against highly advanced members of Sundowner’s Cyborg group: Desperado.
Queue plenty of hack-and-slash game play as you carve your way through waves of enemies on your quest to find out what the attack on the Prime Minister, and the disappearance of a large amount of children have in common plus what Desperado are up to.
The previous games in the Metal Gear Solid games were very heavily stealth focussed as Snake had a tranquilizer gun and it was possible to get through the entire game without being seen and without actually killing anyone. Here, it would be impossible to get through the game without killing anyone, but fortunately the enemies encountered are cyborgs so it is okay to hack them into confetti without feeling bad about it.
The sword play is very heavily focussed upon with the high-frequency blade being Raiden’s main means of fighting. He does get rocket launchers and some grenades as well but the game encourages you to get up close and personal with the enemies. There is also a “Blade Mode” in which time slows down and you can hack enemies apart horizontally or vertically or can use the right analogue stick to cut them at any angle if you are feeling sassy. Very quickly you gain the ability to slice out…well they look like glowing blue intestines…and once you cut someone open if you hit the right button Raiden will reach inside them, grab this thing, rip it out of them and crush it in his hand restoring his health and his Blade Mode ability. When battling enemies there are moments when a quick-time-event style button prompt will appear allowing you to execute a rapid attack so whenever you see this symbol…
…you can enter Blade Mode, their weak point will be highlighted and if you execute it correctly you can regenerate your own health from enemies. They drop power-ups too so it is relatively easy to keep your health high. Similarly to the rations from the Metal Gear Solid games you get repair units that restore your health if you die whilst they are equipped.
The game features Gekko from Metal Gear Solid 4 and also include other enemies, but here is a top tip for getting through this game. As obvious as this sounds: Learn how to block. I have played other games where you have a sword before, hell in Metal Gear Solid 2 Raiden had a dedicated block button, but in this game the way you block is to tap the left analogue stick forward at the same moment you hit the light attack (the square) button. If you do it right Raiden will block. I had my cybernetic ass handed to me time and time again by a robot-dog you encounter early in the game because I didn’t know how to block his attacks. I only learned of the block after watching a review of Revengence on the channel of a critic I like…so thank you Angry Joe. If I had not learned of a way of defending myself I would never have made it to the end which would have been a mixed blessing.
I have to say that the enemies do ramp up and Raiden has the ability to gain xp from his foes so he can upgrade himself and his weapons. The boss fights (with the exception of one…and I am going to talk about that in a bit) are fast paced and generally pretty spectacular. Again they are laced with quick-time-events but thankfully because of the Blade Mode you can still chop the enemies to your heart’s content. Plus the bosses themselves have weaknesses that you need to activate Blade Mode to take advantage of, such as slicing off a protective shield, or severing the arms on the dwarf gekko that one boss has on her back.
There is also a neat little flaw in the game that allows you to get as much xp as you what providing you have some time and a fair amount of patience and here it is: there is a sewer level and just after dropping down a hole you run through a passageway that has dwarf gekko all over the walls. Run past them, turning around and slice them into scrap metal, run back to the beginning of the tunnel and kill the two there, if you do it right your should get around twenty-thousand xp. The process takes a couple of minutes to do, then access Raiden’s customize option, the game prompts you with a warning saying you’ll return to the previous checkpoint if you enter that option. Say yes, activate it, upgrade Raiden if you have the xp for the upgrade you wanted. Then…say it with me…rinse, lather, repeat. This is the means by which I pretty much broke the game, I did that section over and over again, I was just grinding for xp but there is nowhere else in the game that you get such a good opportunity to get loads of xp with minimum effort.
The majority of the enemies are not especially challenging, and once you have perfected the block move used in conjunction with the Blade Mode you are pretty much untouchable…the bosses you defeat also give you new weapons with new abilities that can also be upgraded to make the standard enemy types even more trivial. It doesn’t really get dull slicing enemies apart with your sword and hacking off a cyborg soldier’s arms and legs only to have him haul himself over to you using only his lips as he attempts to trash talk you is quite frankly hilarious.
So far everything I have said about the game is relatively positive but there are a few minor drawbacks as well as a major one.
Think of this game as Metal Gear Solid meets Devil May Cry, in the cut scenes Raiden is ridiculously overpowered and can lift up a Metal Gear Ray with his bare hands and throw it like it is a pebble across a pond. Yet he can be overwhelmed by soldiers with rocket launchers and rival ninjas if you don’t know how to block properly. The rocket soldiers are more annoying than anything else. The fights are rated which grants further bonuses to xp but if you get hit during the fight then your rating will immediately plummet which is very annoying considering a soldier can shoot you once with a regular machine gun, Raiden shrugs off the bullets like they are as damaging as a bug bite, and yet your score immediately goes to pot. You are even locked into a certain area during the fight and within certain maps so you cannot go off exploring, so like Devil May Cry, your progression through the levels is all about following a pre-set path so there is no freedom to explore large environments like there was in previous Metal Gear games. Both of these factors are certainly annoying but there is not enough annoyance generated for either to be a deal breaker
Like Snake, you have a band of people on the other end of your codec but unlike Otacon or…well anyone from the Metal Gear Solid games, none of the people in Raiden’s party are very helpful. As I said above, at one point I was getting repeatedly taken apart by a robot-dog and tried calling my people for help on how to defeat it, and one of them flat out told me that he had no idea how to fight the dog and just wished me luck. After that I can’t say I bothered to call them for assistance with enemies again. In the other games they would at least offer you some hints or even tell you how to defeat an enemy whereas here clearly Raiden’s back up people have absolutely no idea what they are doing. In addition Raiden’s people rebuilt or reprogrammed the robot-dog that wiped the floor with me time and time again. Blade Wolf as he was called then began accompanying me on missions but would run off and scout out the terrain ahead, this was a creature that had a chainsaw attached to its tail when it was carving me up like a turkey, but my equivalent dog does nothing but scout ahead leaving me to tackle the enemies alone. What does Raiden just relish a challenge or something??
We get a bit more of Raiden’s back story but it falls a bit flat, he had the nickname Jack the Ripper in Metal Gear Solid 2 but it was very difficult to attach such a fearsome name to the complete dick he was in that game. Since then the game makers have tried to make Raiden more badass, and here you could see how he could get that name, but it doesn’t fit in with the character we first saw in Metal Gear Solid 2. Still once he embraces his Ripper side the shit does really start to hit the fan and it is thoroughly entertaining.
So, the game is over the top and fun, Raiden is the badass we saw him as in Metal Gear Solid 4 and you get to replay the previous levels with all the stuff that you have acquired up to that point, my thumb should be rammed so far Up Revengence that I should be able to tickle its tonsils…however, my Thumb is definitely not pointing unquestioningly Up, and now I am going to tell you why.
The game is pretty short, my play through clocked in around 7-8 hours and that was after grinding for xp using the technique I described above. I can forgive it though because to be honest if we had been playing as Snake instead of Raiden and had to creep past every enemy it probably would have taken twice as long to get through. The bosses get recycled a far amount and the game has the tried and tested old (and bad) habit of having previous level bosses returning as mid-level bosses or even just alongside regular enemies to ramp up the challenge in later levels.
Still, there was a smile plastered to my lips throughout the majority of the game, and more so once I learned out how to block…it wasn’t until the last two bosses that my opinion of the game was severely and irreparably damaged.
The bosses are not massively creative but you learn their weaknesses, slice off the part of the armour that is prevent you from chopping them up, remove said piece of armour and then chop away. But in the final mission the game pulls a Metal Gear literally out of its arse, I’m not joking this thing appears out of a massive hole in the ground, there is no introduction, no hint that this thing is being developed, it just rises up out of the earth and you must do battle with it. This monstrous creation is Metal Gear Excelsus, now most important DO NOT forget the block move because it still works and whilst you take some damage it is not as much as if you try to evade and fail. Gekko join in the fight but just avoid them as Excelsus fires beam weapons at you which are VERY hard to get clear of so the last thing you want to be doing is faffing around fighting gekko when the giant Metal Gear is trying to slice and dice you. As the fight progresses you slice off a couple of its legs, then rip off one of its blades before slicing it in half…you’d think this would be the end of the game right??
Wrong…oh, if only the game had ended there…
What happens next is the pilot of the Metal Gear emerges and engages in a fist fight with Raiden, a battle you lose. The game has featured a made-to-lose fight at the start when Raiden did not have a powerful enough cyborg body which is fair enough, it is at the start so okay, but by this point we are at the end of the game. Every boss has been defeated, and you’d think that the final boss would possess the strongest abilities from all previous bosses…but no…oh no…this is probably the WORST boss I have ever had the misfortune of going up against.
Enemies in the game have a special attack which you see them powering up when they turn yellow, this is the point when you get out of the way because this attack cannot be blocked. This boss has at least half a dozen of these attacks. You barely get away from his previous attack and he is already powering up his next one, his attacks do massive amounts of damage compared to your strikes which don’t do much, and if you used up all your rations-things in the fight with the Metal Gear then you might as well crouch on the ground, push your face into the floor and let the game fuck you up the ass.
This boss is horrendous, it is poorly designed, his attacks are very, very cheap and a like I said do a disproportional amount of damage to you. He will also break off to stand on top of the wreckage of Metal Gear to hurl massive chunks of debris at you, these attacks take off 100% of your health bar, which, if you have bought/found all of the health upgrades is 200% if you are at full health. You are expected to enter Blade Mode and slice these pieces of debris apart, but I am shit at using the free blade in Blade Mode, so whenever he left the arena to throw crap at me I knew I was going to die. I eventually realised that you can simply run out of the way of these objects so they can’t hit you which is what I ended up doing but I screamed myself hoarse in a furious rage at the game before figuring this out and damn near launched my controller through the screen as this cheap ass motherfucker killed me time, after time, after time as the techniques that I had perfected throughout the game (mashing square and triangle for up and horizontal blade attacks) were proving to be entirely useless and utterly pointless when fighting him. But the biggest of the dick moves that this game throws at you with this final fight is the fact that he can not only absorb your attacks like they are nothing, not only can he bitch slap you and knock off large chunks of your health (oh yes I forgot to mention the ration-things don’t restore your full health bar which was at the time 190% for me because I hadn’t found the last upgrade) he can regenerate his health. I don’t mean regenerate a bit of his health, or maybe half his health, he can literally restore his ENTIRE 200% health bar so if you cannot interrupt the process you are screwed. The way you interrupt this mode is to get behind him, enter Blade Mode and attack a weak spot on his back, however, if you are not precise enough he grabs your blade, the regeneration process is momentarily stopped, but he smashes 25% off your health bar for your trouble, and then continues to regenerate. You repeat your attack but again if you don’t get it right there goes another 25% of your health bar, and so this goes on, I found that after the fourth try he won’t try and regenerate again for a while but that of course means that you’ll have lost 100% on your health bar if you didn’t hit this weak spot. Do not even bother to attempt this boss if you did not finish the Metal Gear boss fight with at least 3 ration-things because if you do you are simply not going to beat him. I absolutely LOATHED this boss, there were no clues that this was coming and despite Snake having a syringe in Metal Gear Solid 4 that he used to deactivate Vamps nanomachines rendering the seemingly immortal Vamp a mere mortal again, Raiden has no such advantage here. This boss just comes out of nowhere, there is no explanation until the final fight of why or how he is so super powered, and far from being a spectacular way to end this thoroughly enjoyable over the top Devil May Cry style jaunt through the Metal Gear Solid universe it ruins the rest of the game.
I am so disappointed with the end of this game because up until this boss I was having such a good time playing it. But the final boss has left such a bad taste in my mouth and my throat is still raw from shouting at the game even though I stopped playing it about seven hours ago after finally managing to defeat this prick.
If the game had ended with the Metal Gear fight then I still would have given the game an overall Thumbs Up, but because of this dick move the game pulls with the final boss fight I am angry, I am pissed off that a great fun game had to end like this, and I there is no excuse for it. Ramp up the stakes with a final boss fight, that is fine with me, several Metal Gear Solid games have ended with Snake going hand-to-hand with one of his foes...but all of them had an established enemy. Snake Vs Liquid, mono-a-mono at the end of Twin Snakes or Metal Gear Solid, Raiden Vs Solidus at the end of Metal Gear Solid 2, Naked Snake Vs The Boss at the end of Metal Gear Solid 3, The Boss had kicked Snake’s ass several times during the game so you expected the final fight with her to be a challenge…which it was but not this much of a challenge. Finally Snake Vs Ocelot in Metal Gear Solid 4, again, two men fighting…one on one. Have a fight with the super powered cyborg by all means but not like this, don’t make the leader of the Desperados an interesting hack-and-slash fight and then pull this shit out of nowhere.
I was also a little disappointed that Snake did not cameo, honestly I would have loved for him to appear out of nowhere after Raiden gets beat down, stab the final boss with the same syringe that he used to deactivate Vamps nanomachines before stepping back and letting Raiden get back up and defeat him. That would have been cool, but no, only one character from the Metal Gear Solid franchise appears and her appearance raises a few questions that the game doesn’t answer.
I want to rate this game highly, but I am still seething with rage at that final boss fight, and consequently my Thumb has been wrenched from Up to…I am sad to say Down…I want to say I’m giving this game a Thumbs Up for all it does well, or even that I can forgive the final boss for a lot because the rest of the game was really good and leave my Thumb Horizontal but I simply cannot do that either…running the hundred metre sprint and winning up until you get to the ninety-five metre line before tripping and ending up with a face full of dirt still means you lose despite all the good you’ve done up to that point.
My Thumb is therefore Down, I am truly sorry Raiden, because you deserved better than this.
6.5/10 – This isn’t a bad game, it really isn’t, but after getting my ass handed to me time and time and time again by that final boss before finally figuring out how to beat him I was just too annoyed to rate it any higher. If you like Devil May Cry type games you’ll probably enjoy this and at least this time around we are paying the badass Raiden not the twat version that has thankfully died and been reborn since Metal Gear Solid 2.