Move over, Solid Snake: a new hero is taking the helm of "Metal Gear."
The long-running "Metal Gear" franchise, which started on the Nintendo Entertainment System, has always posed the challenge of moving stealthily. But "Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance," which goes on sale today, focuses primarily on heavy action, instead of sneaking around enemies and taking them out from behind.
It also has a new hero in Raiden, a cybernetic soldier first introduced a few years back in "Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty." He's better prepared for combat this time around, carrying a plasma blade that can easily chop enemies to pieces, along with other weapons he acquires throughout the game. Raiden also has a few special capabilities, whether it's running down (or up) the side of a building at a lightning pace or deflecting bullets with his sword before moving in for the kill.
With a faster tempo than all of the "Metal Gear Solid" games combined, "Rising Revengeance" easily ranks as one of the better action games of this generation, though you can see how some features draw inspiration from other brawling video game titans. For instance, with Blade Mode, the action within "Rising Revengeance" slows down as Raiden lines up his blade to chop down his enemies. The foes soon collapse to pieces. Kratos, from the " God of War " series, can rip apart foes just as easily, since he's able to grab enemies and either carve them up with his Blades of Olympus, or simply lift them over his head and rip them in half, entrails and all. (He doesn't have the benefit of slowing down time, however.)
Raiden can also heal quickly by ripping battery packs from his foes before they collapse to the ground. Because of this, he's quite similar to Wolverine from the " X-Men Origins" game, which came out a few years ago. That movie-based license stands out above others released at the time, due to its high action quotient. Its boss encounters could also be an inspiration, in a way, to "Rising Revengeance," as Wolverine takes down a Sentinel with ease in that game, the same way Raiden can cut down an enormous enemy mech, like the Metal Gear Ray, without breaking a sweat.
Platinum Games, the creator of "Rising Revengeance" seems also to draw inspiration from its own earlier titles, such as "Bayonetta." That game features stylish combat involving the main heroine, who not only punches and kicks, but also maneuvers using enemy weaponry, like battle axes and swords. In "Rising Revengeance," Raiden can utilize enemy weapons like a pole and pincer blades to create unprecedented combos, as well.
The free-running segments of "Rising Revengeance" show traits similar to another Platinum game, "Vanquish," which featured an armored soldier who could run and slide through areas to avoid skirmishes, while also positioning himself better for combat. Raiden has a similar sense of speed, able to get the jump on enemies with sliding kicks, setting them up for a perfect, mid-air slice in Blade Mode.
Last but not least, "Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance's" soundtrack is far more energetic than most games on the market, featuring a variety of heavy metal-like tunes with the kind of upbeat tempo to keep you fighting on during your quest. Platinum Games' previous release, the Sega game "Anarchy Reigns," features an equally creative soundtrack, with the kind of jazzy tempo and rock tunes that motivate you to brawl through that game's single and multiplayer modes. [See also: The 10 Most Stunning Video Games ]
Even though "Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance" takes a level of inspiration from other fighting games, it stands out in its own right, and is a game that shouldn't be missed by anyone looking to cut some baddies down to size in the best way possible.
"Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance" is available now for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 for $60.
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