Platinum Games – a developer known for over-the-top, flashy action games – working on Metal Gear - a series focused on being stealthy – was definitely a jarring pairing at first. While I’ve long applauded new developers working on an existing IP, I’ll admit I was scratching my head on Platinum tackling such a distinctive and established series. After playing through Rising, it’s clear that this isn’t your typical Metal Gear game, for better or for worse.
Platinum Gear Solid
From the early minutes of the game, it’s clear that this is more of a Platinum game than a Metal Gear Solid one. From the over-the-top theatricals to the cheesy dialogue, it felt like I was transported into Bayonetta all over again. Seeing Raiden fly through the air while jumping on missiles and disregarding the laws of physics is not only entertaining to watch but keeps with the series’ tradition of having polished cutscenes. I’m even willing to put up with the excessive quick time events since it allowed me to watch Raiden run up walls and do more flips than a gymnast.
Home Is Where The Blade Is
Platinum might have turned the gameplay of the series a full 180 degrees. However, it hasn’t forgotten the long storied history of Metal Gear. From subtle jokes to enemy designs, Platinum payed great attention to honoring the game’s predecessors. It’s similar to the new DmC, a fresh interpretation of a long-running series that doesn’t forget its roots.
Bosses To Die For
No matter how you slice it, the best part of Metal Gear games were the incredibly interesting boss battles. Rising continues the trend with incredibly intriguing and fun boss fights at the end of each level. I am slightly disappointed that bosses are often introduced right before you kill them. It doesn’t give the player any time to really explore the history of each boss. Even so, the tidbits that are revealed remain very interesting as each boss has its own quirky backstory. From a gameplay perspective, each boss also forces the player to use new methods to take each one on, keeping the wait between fights worth it.
Fight the Camera
When it comes to mechanical hiccups, none are as frustrating as the camera. The camera that follows Raiden on his journey often struggles to keep up with all the action. I’m more likely to be staring at a wall, the ground, or a column than I am at Raiden. This is even more frustrating during some of the boss fights. I’ve lost battles simply because I couldn’t see what was going on. You had one job, camera…and you’ve failed me.
Slice and Dice…and Slice…and Slice
The whole angle for Rising was that it had this great gaming mechanic revolving around slicing enemies during a bullet time sequence. Frankly, it just doesn’t work well. The slicing mechanic is fun the first few times, but it becomes an absolute chore later on. This is even worse when it’s required to use the slicing mechanic at certain points. It also doesn’t help that sliced-up objects look unsettlingly fake next to un-sliced objects.
This is definitely not the Metal Gear game you’ve grown to love in the past few years. However, that’s not necessarily such a bad thing. Platinum Games delivers its own twist to a storied series and definitely leaves quite an impression. It’s not a long or particularly exciting journey, but the fun boss fights and Platinum’s quirks make the voyage worth it for fans.
Review Platform: PlayStation 3