I am a huge fan of Platinum Games. This is the game that introduced me to them, and I believe it’s still one of their very best.
We all know this game for its memes. After all, they are the greater power that controls us all, the DNA of the soul. Every single cutscene and nearly every other line of dialog in this game is exploitable and memorable, and the memes are great, so I can’t complain about that. But I want to set them aside for a moment so we can acknowledge what some people often seem to forget.
This is a genuinely well written game, to an amazing extent.
Is it stupid? Definitely. Over the top? Absolutely, 1000%. Comedic and hard to take seriously? For sure. Am I going to claim that it’s on the same level as the Metal Gear Solid series it spun off from? Absolutely not. But for what it is, a maximum velocity action spin-off of a beloved, convoluted, narrative-heavy stealth game series, Revengeance manages to tell its own story in its own way nearly flawlessly from start to finish while still wearing the beating heart of MGS on its sleeve. I dare you to find a single person who has played and enjoyed this game who can’t remember every character in it and recount the events of the story to you.
I also dare you to find a single person who enjoyed this game that only played it once. This is a game made to be replayed, and it shows. Skip the cutscenes and you can easily play through the whole game in four hours if you know how to play. Is that a problem? I don’t think so. If I bought this game at full price on release, I would have no complaints about the length, because replaying the game IS the game. If you only play once, you’re doing yourself a disservice, because it’s the second playthrough when you have a full grasp of the controls and buy all of the skills that it really starts to shine. And when you finally start getting that full grasp at the end of the game, finishing it leaves you wanting more, excitedly ready to play again.
And that’s when it grabs you. Chasing S ranks, aiming for no damage, beating bosses as fast as possible, optimizing your combos, styling on them chumps like nobodies business. Mastery is the name of the game now, and there is no escape. You are ensnared. The monkey brain is activated. Getting better, faster, more efficient… this is one of the most fulfilling things in any game, and it’s a feeling both provided and exploited to the fullest extent here. That’s the Platinum touch. You’ll replay the game so much that you, too, will be able to name every character and recount the story to anyone who asks. Enjoy it and you might find yourself saying the lines during cutscenes or singing along when the lyrics come in during boss fights.
Even when you’re unfamiliar with the game and make frequent mistakes, the sheer spectacle of the gameplay keeps you hooked. The better you get, the more spectacular it gets, until eventually you get good enough to skip and break things in your favor. And you will get to that point, because despite the relatively complex controls and the potential depth of the moveset and combos, mashing the buttons is just strong enough to keep you alive while you naturally pick up new techniques due to how intuitive they are. Simply delaying a button press can bring out a new move at just the right time.
The one tripping point for many players is the parry system due to the timing required, but once you get a hang of moving the left stick in the direction of the attacking enemy at the same time as you hit the parry button and end up blocking instead, you will find that the window to block is actually huge, so you can stay alive consistently while you practice that perfect timing for perfect parries. Alternatively, you can abandon parrying for the most part and rely on the defensive offense move that you should definitely buy before anything else, because you can use it to scoot around and simply dodge everything with invincibility frames. Master both and you become totally untouchable.
You may notice that I’m not really saying much about the game and that this reads more like a sales pitch. That’s because it is. There’s nothing I can say about the game, because when I like something enough, I begin to lose the ability to explain why I enjoy it, and we’re way past that point with this game. All I want is for more people to experience what is what I believe to be one of the best games of all time. And the memes, of course. They’re exquisite!
If I had to explain the whole game in one sentence, it’d be this: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is an immensely rewarding game that’s super cheesy, and it’s the best cheese I’ve ever tasted.
Just don’t play the VR missions. It’s not worth it.