This is a review by Rafe
There's something to be said about purity of design. Many games lose focus on what the core mechanics are meant to offer during development and become bloated with bells and whistles which are just not needed. Revengeance is not one of those games. Much like the other output of Platinum games, such as Beyonetta and Vanquish, it takes a core idea and hones it to a ridiculous degree. This game doesn't have a block button nor a roll. To parry a blow the player has to press the movement stick toward your opponent and the light attack button. This takes some getting used to especially those who have played their fair share of hack and slash recently such as the sublime DMC. Once the player's style has adjusted though, MGR:R flows like few others and gives almost a zen like experience while underway. The pace rarely let's up throughout with it bouncing between fighting foot soldiers, running away from helicopters and fighting giant bosses; and that's just the first level. You truly feel like you are Raiden, silly high heels and all.
The most unique selling point within the gameplay is blade mode. This slows time down to a crawl and allows for precision cutting on enemies and objects. This mode is far from a simple novelty but a key component for recovering health, getting more experience and getting a better score for the stage. It's also key to beating the game's many bosses who generally need to be weakened then hit on specific points.
Story is typical Metal gear, all nonsense about private military companies, mercenaries and corrupt governments. It's an incredibly enjoyable romp though and keeps you interested right up to the end. In typical Kojima fashion the cut sequences are long and incredibly stylish with everyone apparently aware that they must try to ham things up as much as possible. While in past Metal Gear games this has come under quite a lot of criticism you'll be relieved for having an opportunity to rest your hands after an epic boss battle.
The length and amount of cuts scenes also do a good job of masking how brief the game is. Even after watching every cut sequence and having to retry a few of the later bosses my run through was at around the 6 and a half hour mark. This shouldn't put anyone off though, as at it's core the game is score attack based and encourages you to play through multiple times to get new unlocks and beat past rating with improved equipment. Revengeance feels like Dark souls in this regard, rewarding the player for their increased skill when they come to do past fights. It would be nice if the new game mode had the difficulty turned up but this isn't much of an issue as you can simply select a higher difficulty when you continue from your finished game.
Between stages you can upgrade Raiden's health, energy and damage as well as buy weapon from defeated bosses. This allows for the core fighting mechanic to be expended with different styles making those replays that much more worthwhile. You can also get new moves unlocked as well as ones specific to certain weapons. These new moves are unfortunately never explained within the main game so I didn't end up using them. A moves list would be very much appreciated, maybe something that will get patched in later.
Being a Metal Gear game, there is of course stealth sections but they are mostly entirely optional. For example, you can sneak through a section early on that tasks you with slicing a hand off a soldier to get through a gate. Achieving this task allows you to continue on undetected while failing results in you being scalded by your team mate and results in Raiden slicing the door open. Having this mechanic helps to add variety to play but those just looking for a scrap can just run in sword first. This is aided by a AR (augmented Reality) vision mode what highlights enemies in red and show where items are around the level.
Secrets are hidden throughout each stage in the form of standard red item boxes, steel power up item that are generally a bit tougher to find and a set of 20 data files that unlock stuff in the collection section of the main menu. The files are cool to look at but far from vital for those who just want to play. It adds that little bit extra game time for those kleptomaniacs out there, looking to get every ounce of value out of their purchase.
There's not much to talk about on the downside of things. The only thing that really stick out is the camera that can become a real pain sometimes. This isn't too much of an issue on the tougher boss fights as you will only be facing a single opponent for the most part so tapping lock on will focus you on where you need to go. This isn't the case with regular fights though and tight environments are one of the few points where it feels like Revengeance is being cheap.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a brilliant game and the best hack and slash in recent memory, possibly even of the generation. It has style as well as substance, something that is so rare in modern entertainment. It's had a rocky development since its 2009 announcement but leaving development duties to platinum was the best move Kojima could have made. I urge everyone to at least give the demo a go, gaining that zen feeling provided by this experience is something everyone should try to attain in their gaming life.