Cyborg ninjas fight against one another in battles whereby using their enhanced cyborg powers, they can lift something as heavy as a tank and a helicopter at the same time, or even an entire skyscraper and hurl it at you. You get up off the ground, brush yourself off and then using nothing but your trusty sword, slice him (in slow motion) into LITERALLY 150 tiny little pieces. This is Metal Gear Rising Revengeance.

The Metal Gear series has always been about stealth, patience, observation and planning each of your actions carefully. The Raiden we all know (but not all of us love) from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons Of Liberty and Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns Of The Patriots returns to take the lead role in this game. Raiden is super fast, very strong and when playing as him you will actually feel like a badass.

Metal Gear Rising salutes the previous Metal Gear games and then goes on to produce it’s own blend of super fast combat with less emphasis on guns and a lot more emphasis on sword fighting. MGRR also allows you to play with stealth elements such as hiding under a cardboard box or hiding in a barrel and the game will even reward you when you pull of a stealth kill in this way with extra battle points (currency used to upgrade Raiden). The stealth elements are there if you want to use them but you could quite easily still progress through the entire game without even so much as trying them out if you want to play completely with a hack and slash style.

The graphics for character models and NPC’s in the game are stunning but the actual level environments leave a little to be desired as they are often drab, colourless shades of grey. The levels seem very empty of actual furnishings or objects to populate the rooms, corridors or outside areas. This could be in part due to the fact that you can slice up any object you can see into as many pieces as you like. Trees can be cut down into mere twigs and whole cars can be sliced up into nothing more than a few metal shards.

There are plenty of hidden collectibles strewn about the games levels and these are made easier to find with an ability that looks as though it has been ripped straight out of Batman Arkham Asylum. Similar to the ‘Detective Mode‘ from Batman, Raiden can activate a mode that allows him to see through walls and spot collectibles and clues in the surrounding area with ease.

The upgrades make a huge difference to Raiden’s abilities allowing him to upgrade the standard abilities of extra life and more damage with weapons, to being able to attain a wider range of combat moves and even the ability to use a boss enemies weapon for the rest of the game. The upgrading works well and the way you earn or find upgrade points to buy the upgrades works fine but my major gripe with the upgrade system overall is that you can only upgrade Raiden at the end of a chapter. There are no other ways to upgrade him on the fly or when I were in the middle of a chapter.

Fighting large groups of enemies is fast, frantic and always fun. Slicing enemies in slow motion never fails to amaze, as in slow motion you hack away at their limbs and head and afterwards watch as they attempt to crawl around on the floor picking up their limbs. There are times where you get to fight against helicopters and can actually run along the missiles they fire at you, climbing from missile to missile as you go and eventually reaching the top of the helicopter, you can slice it into tiny little chunks of metal, Very satisfying indeed. The sword will be your main weapon choice but there are an array of grenades that do everything from blind the enemies with a smoke screen to one grenade that stuns enemies into a paralysed state. The rocket launchers are back and are perfect for when those pesky helicopters do fly your way.

Other enemies include cyborg dogs which can be tricky customers to deal with at first because of their sheer speed and agility. Learning the correct parry attacks and moves that are best used for each enemy can really help you as you progress to save you from dying constantly while you just bash every and any button. You will carve out a particular set of attacks and moves that you feel most happy with and are most effective for you. I personally liked to slide under enemies and attack them in slow motion and then while under them, jumping upwards, I could launch a few fast attacks at them and finally finish them off by ripping out their spine. Ripping out the spines of enemies may sound horrible but it is good! No, Really! It’s good! This is the way you recharge your health and energy. Ahhh, how Japanese.

The boss battles are varied and each boss requires you to utilise a certain attack or slow-motion-slice a specific area of the boss in order for him or her to lose an arm, a leg, a head or some other body part. The bosses continue to grow bigger and bigger throughout the game until at one point you are fighting an enemy that is literally 500 times your size. The fast paced heavy metal and power rock music that accompanies the boss fights really puts you into the mood to kick some serious ass.

The story attempts to mix the real world events of 9/11, the recession, the war in Afghanistan and other similar events into it’s story but this just feels awkward and in complete juxtaposition to the actual ninja, cyborg, throw a building at your head gameplay. I feel the story writer for the game was almost attempting to make the story feel relevant to what’s going on in the world today and what they had probably hoped would be a deep, meaningful, truth hurts storyline turned out to be more of a ‘that’s weird they just mentioned 9/11 in this game’ moment instead.

The cut scenes from the other Metal Gear games are infamous for being very, very long but Platinum Games know there audience and they clearly understand that for an extremely fast paced hack and slash game the speed of cut scenes need to fit with the pacing of the gameplay, so the cut scenes are kept to a perfectly short to average length.

Overall, I enjoyed Metal Gear Rising Revengeance and I would recommend it strongly to hack and slash fans or dedicated Metal Gear fans who are invested in the Metal Gear lore more so than those that like the actual gameplay of the original Metal Gear Solid series.