Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
18 cert, Konami, Xbox 360 (also PS3) ****
“Revengeance” is a silly and, frankly, nonexistent word. But for the purposes of this game, it’s strangely perfect. In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance you play a cyborg ninja who vows revenge after losing bits of his body in a fight. Subtlety and correct spelling are clearly out; violence and excess are in. Why choose “revenge” or “vengeance” when you can splice together an unholy cyborg hybrid of both?
Raiden, a veteran of the franchise, is working for a private security company when he witnesses a military coup. Having failed to stop the militia and suffering devastating wounds, he vows to make things right. This leads him on a mission that reveals disregard for human life and contemptible abuse of power.
The press material describes this game as part of the Metal Gear Solid universe, but it feels more like a spin-off: it’s not a stealth game, cut-scenes are shorter than usual, the gameplay is faster and simpler. This is a bloody, decadent third-person action game.
The combat plays beautifully. You mostly use a high-tech sword to cut through enemies, but the game has a variety of toys and weapons. The sword can be controlled by either buttons or an analogue stick, making for rich, fast-paced and gratifying combat (even if some battles are overlong).
MGR: R is both strangely sombre and utterly outrageous. It’s probably the only game this year to feature both debates on the ethics of war and giant killer robots that resemble bulls and wolves.