|"I think it's time for Jack... to LET 'ER RIP!!"|
For those of you who don't know the history of this game's development, allow me to enlighten you. This game was announced in 2010 as Metal Gear Solid: Rising, a Predatory Stealth game (think the Arkham games), and it was supposed to take place between MGS2 and MGS4, detailing how Raiden became a Cyborg Ninja, and showing what he was up to during that time period. However, sometime in 2011, Kojima secretly shut down development of the game because he felt they couldn't deliver on the promises they made for the game. However, Platinum Games stepped up and offered to help. The story and characters would still be handled by Kojima Productions, but the game itself was now being mainly developed by Platinum.
With Platinum's new direction, the game still had a Predatory Stealth element, but the main selling point of the game was the ability to cut enemies to pieces with the new "Blade Mode." You weaken enemies with normal attacks (your sword and whatever sub-weapons you have equipped) until you want to slice them to bits, however you want, with Blade Mode. If you sever certain body parts, you get BP (Blade Points), which are used to purchase upgrades for your weapons, Life, Fuel Cells (the Blade Mode meter), and extra costumes and weapons. You can use a Ninja Run to traverse obstacles more easily and deflect gunfire, and if you sneak up behind an enemy without being spotted, you can perform a "Ninja Kill," where Raiden stabs right through their body, then you can use Blade Mode to finish them off. After you beat File R-03 (Chapter 4), you unlock Ripper Mode, where you get an upgrade in strength, and normal attacks act like Blade Mode hits, but it drains your Fuel Cells.
The game's story now takes place in 2018, four years after MGS4. With the Patriots and SOP system shut down, the world's economy is still dependent on war through PMCs with cyborgs. Raiden works for Maverick, a PMC that tries to prevent war, and has just helped an African country get back on it's feet in three years. However, the PMC Desperado, along with the Cyborg Samurai, Jetstream Sam, kidnap Prime Minister N'Mani, causing Raiden to chase after them. After a fight with a Metal Gear RAY, Raiden catches up with their train, but the leader of Desperado, Sundowner, kills N'Mani, and Sam slices off Raiden's left eye and arm, causing him to retreat. Three weeks later, Raiden has a new, enhanced body, and is seeking revenge against Desperado and Sam, while finding out what their plan is.
This game's soundtrack is really hardcore, with heavy metal and techno dominating nearly every song. The best songs are the Boss Battle songs, which start out instrumental, but gain lyrics when you get far enough in the fight. There's not a single disappointing boss fight; each one gives you a real adrenaline rush and is hardcore in it's own ways. If I had to judge games based entirely on their boss battles, this would be one of the best games ever (which it already is, but still). You can unlock VR missions throughout the game. Just like you would expect from a Metal Gear game, the early ones are easy, middle ones kind of challenging, and last few are absolute controller-throwing, hair-pulling, scream-inducing bullshit. Doesn't make the game any less fun, though.
Overall, this game met my expectations. The gameplay is awesome, the graphics and animations are more fluid and realistic than MGS4, the music is fucking metal, and the boss battles are astounding. If I have to judge this year by one game, this will almost definitely be it. A great start to what has to be a great year for gaming.
HBM, signing out.