Friday, November 1, 2013

Thumbs down to Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

While starting off fairly strong in the awesomeness department, Metal Gear Rising: Revengance, overall, isn't a very good game.

First, it is very short.  I got to the final boss fight and it was around four hours of play.  While the gameplay itself was mostly okay, and it's hard to grow tired of chopping your opponents to bits and pulling their guts out, both the stealth and platforming elements were not very well integrated into the game.  Ninja Run was a constant disappointment.  Running around and killing people has a high (Assassin's Creed high) bar, but this was pretty badly implemented.  It was easy to get Raiden stuck in all manner of places using Ninja Run, which is a less cool version of AC's freerunning where you can't really climb anything any any small overhang gets you caught.  And in all other ways, it was clear that stealth wasn't really that much of a priority in game design, either.  I've got a lot of experience at stealth games - and Kojima has a lot of experience making them, virtually inventing the genre - so this was both noteworthy and atrocious.

Worse, though, I had . . . forgotten how awful the faux philosophy got.  Pretty much before any given boss fight, you're going to have half an hour of idiots spouting platitudes at you - and just the most awful, small-minded, reprehensible bullshit.  That people are cruel by nature, so this rationalizes mass murder!  Free will means being able to kill you who want, when you want to kill them!  Ugh.  It sounded like the sort of thing you'd get from an Internet bully.

It is also one of those things that could be done well, but no video game has ever really done it well: making the bad guys plausible and relatable.  Well, let me tell you, bad philosophy isn't it.  It would have been far better to have a good revenge story than sophomoric attempts at philosophy.

But the part where it just grows awful beyond measure is the final boss fight.  I played it for over an hour before quitting.  Every so often, he would just become invulnerable and regenerate all his health.  Huh.  After, oh, I dunno, the fifth time of this happening, I decided that the final boss fight was bullshit and decided not to do it.  I'm sure there's some trick I was missing, but I did miss it and the game gave me zero clues how to beat him.  I could have kept fighting him forever, I felt.  Since I didn't like the fight very much - boss fights always give the best powers to the bad guys, often neutralizing your own special powers in the process - this did not please me.

I am also not a fan of that thing where, in the middle of the fight, the boss gets to take some time off, just jump up somewhere and hurl things or throw more enemies at you.

Long does not mean good.  It also works against the idea of a climax, which should be brief in duration.  A "climax" that goes on and on is no longer climatic.

The different stages of the boss fight were also interspersed with more sophomoric philosophical rambling.  It's actually hard to tell you what he said because it made no sense, but apparently it has to do with war being freedom, and killing "weak" people because they don't want to kill, and how he'll be elected to be PRESIDENT OF AMERICA with his pro-killing-the-weak stance or something.  And nanomachines!  Which, of course, do everything.  There is nothing nanomachines don't do!  For instance, they make bosses invulnerable.

A game of *very* brief duration (again, this is contrary to every other Metal Gear game I've either hear or played, where there was a lot of content), the poorly integrated stealth (which struck me as extremely strange given that this is a Metal Gear game) and freerunning elements and the awful, just painfully bad attempts to philosophy - yes, and for the last time, yes, everyone has reasons why they do the terrible things that they do, but it doesn't obligate anyone to take those reasons seriously, at the end of the day, every MGR boss did nothing but rationalize why genocide was justifiable in the most banal way possible, subverting the language of freedom to promote tyranny - and the reprehensibly bad final boss fight (even before you get to the part where you can beat the final boss, you must endure over half an hour of tedious speeches) means I give this game a Metal Gear Solid thumbs down.  While the action game elements are solid, there are just too many checks in the minus column for this game and the checks are too big.

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