Copyright Adam Schlosser
Contact:
aschloss@gmail.com


Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser


Posted by Pip

R9M11- Envy Can Pick A Winner

And here you thought Envy was just a big sexist jerk, but nay! He fully accepts his minor role in the grand scheme of things and his limited usefulness in situations that don't involve punching things, getting stuff off high shelves, or opening jam jars. Envy sees that the lady-demons around him are the ones with smarts, what it takes to run a realm, and the fortitude to rip out and consume somebody's heart when the situation calls for it. I hope you feel bad for misjudging Envy now. I think we see who the true monster was here: Bigotry. Or peer pressure. I forget which one. They both seem kind of bad.
Say no to drugs.


Quick Review: Metal Gear Solid: Rising- Since this is a game in a storied franchise, here's a quick breakdown of my history of Metal Gear. MGS 2 was my first one and it's the only one I'd say was great. MGS1 was good, but playing 2 first ruined the impact. 3 and 4 were totally forgettable. The gameplay of the series has been uninteresting, I mostly just care about the wacky stories.
Now, on to the new game! Rising ditches the focus on stealth and instead shifts over to more action and combat. Where Wolverine (the last action game I discussed) was a dumb game made more fun by its stupidity, Metal Gear Rising is a dumb game done poorly made thanks to its stupidity. So we're starting off by saying a movie cash-in game is the better product in this comparison. Ouch.
Rising has quick time events galore. Almost every enemy in the game has a quick time event and every boss seems to have at least two or three. You have to restart from a checkpoint if you check a tutorial or buy an upgrade. The game doesn't explain how to use skills you purchase without delving into some menus for help text, and even once you find out what they do, the skills aren't very interesting. You have your magic sword and are given the impetus to cut up anything and everything, taking out fences, cars, and giant air duct fans, but then you're regularly stopped by simple things like wooden doors. Raiden also greatly suffers from being awesomely overpowered in cutscenes where he's running up walls and the sides of buildings, but then in the game, he can't even pull himself up a ledge or run up something that's more than a few feet tall. Once you chop something up, the pieces still have collision for a bit, so you're frequently stuck in place, trapped in the chopped up bits and you can't jump or walk until the pieces disappear. The game just simply isn't fun to play. The camera is awful so you're frequently getting hit by things you can't see and if you try to lock the camera to an enemy that's close, the game will instead focus on an enemy that's behind a wall or on the other side of the room and not a threat. The view is too swimmy on top of that. Sometimes the camera moves all around in fights or even the blade mode and other times it stays where you want it, so you can't learn its faults and compensate for them. The combat is extremely parry-intensive but the game does a godawful job of explaining it to you. I completed the parrying tutorial and I have no idea how to do it well. I understand WHAT I'm supposed to do, but I don't know HOW or WHEN to do it. Am I pushing the button too many times? Am I pushing it too early? Too late? There are times when I'd parry without meaning to and other times when I was totally focused on it and then Raiden would just let the enemy wail on him. I've grown to despise parrying systems in games. I've never played a game with a great or even fun parry system. The only ones I can remotely stomach are the "Tap Block right before you're hit" kind (hey, another chance for a Wolverine comparison), but even they still suck. Parrying systems never feel like they reward you for being good, they just punish you for not mastering them. If you fail, the enemy will beat you up, but if you succeed, you don't get anything besides the absence of pain. Parrying doesn't even let you do a cool return attack because it frequently knocks enemies away from you, so you parry and then have to run over to where they got shoved and they've recovered by then, unless you knocked them up against a wall. Switch the game to easy and it auto-parries for you and while it makes the game tolerable, it's still so tedious. You've removed all difficulty from the game so you're just going through boring motions. The finisher animations are too long and the same one plays every time you do a special kill on an enemy. Doing the finishers refills your health and sword magic so you're incentivized to always do it, which means you're going to watch that same animation a lot. The boss fights would have been fun if they didn't go on for so long. They're not difficult outside of the parrying, the bosses just have way too much health and are only vulnerable for short windows and have long cycles of being invincible/out of the playing field so you can't hit them.
Even ignoring the combat and gameplay, the package itself is nowhere near as interesting as the things that make Metal Gear Solid neat. The music is terrible and extremely loud. I ended up having to turn the music setting down to 2, while I had the sounds and voices at 8 and 10. There are times when I'd regret having the voice volume up because Raiden's voice is laughably bad when he tries to be gruff and dark. Some of the bad guys are great. The French lady, the second in command American guy Sundowner (I had to look that up, I couldn't even remember the bad guy I liked's name), and the final boss all have personalities and they're fun and evil in a silly way and their evil plan is the closest the game ever comes to MGS insanity and fun. Sam, the Monsoon guy, and everybody on the good guy's side are totally forgettable and completely uninteresting. Your robot dog pal is fun for a little bit because he starts off totally condescending and belittles humanity, but by the end of the game it's learned the value of the human spirit and emotion and becomes yet another waste of screen time. The rest of the story is garbage. It's not just half-assed philosophizing, it's half-assed philosophizing that's bad compared to Metal Gear's normal dime-store “deep” themes. And so much of this bad script is delivered to you by the lazy “hand to your ear while you slowly walk” method of handling dialogue. Even when the game isn't devolving into sub-high schooler philosophy, the story is just bad and poorly told. When the final boss has you against the ropes and is doing the standard “beating you up before you recover and are now suddenly strong enough to beat him”, I was rooting for the villain. Raiden's body is all robot parts but his head is still human, so I spent those cutscenes not cheering for Raiden to get up and fight, but for the villain to just punch Raiden in his stupid human face parts. All the anime-isms in the ending cutscene just left me angry. I went from "Ugh, I'm glad I'm done with this crappy game" after beating the last boss's quick-time bonanza to "I hate video games and I hate people" watching the ending.
To end with a final Wolverine comparison, Wolverine was a silly cash-in on an established franchise that was janky and weird but pretty darn fun. Metal Gear Rising was a silly cash-in on an established franchise that was janky and weird and pretty darn terrible.