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Blimey! The Metal Gear Solid series has changed a bit I last played one. Admittedly, that was the original Playstation version game, where the emphasis was very much on sneaking around and remaining undetected. For a gamer like me, who thrives on action and all-out attack, this was dull stuff. MGS Revengeance is much more up my street, with a stronger emphasis on hack and slash action adventure and less on sneaking around.
You take the role of cyborg warrior Raiden, currently assigned to protect the President of a peace-loving African nation. When the President is kidnapped by a terrorist cell, Raiden must set off to rescue him and find out who is behind it.
The plot for Revengeance starts off fairly sensible, but quickly goes down the usual bonkers route you would expect from an MGS game. You quickly find it getting more convoluted and making increasingly less sense. Don't worry too much about this. The plot is not terribly important and if you don't understand it, you're won't miss out on much. The main thing is that the individual mission objectives are clear so you always know what you need to do to get onto the next stage.
In fact, at times, the plot rather gets in the way of things. The frequency and length of cut-scenes has been a long-standing complaint in the MGS series, and that's not about to change. You sometimes feel like something of a spectator as you have to watch yet another cut-scene and this can slow the pace of the game down. Thankfully, most cut-scenes can be skipped so if you're an impatient little monkey like me, you don't have to sit and watch them.
Graphically, Revengeance looks stunning. Backgrounds are incredible; character animations are superb and full of imagination, and some of the enemies just breath-taking. Early in the game for example, you have to square up against a massive robot (think ED 209 from Robocop after 10 years on steroids). OK, it's fairly easy to defeat, but it looks great. Revengeance continues to impress with its presentation throughout. Just when you think you've seen everything it could possibly offer, it pulls something new out the bag. It's an over-used phrase, but Revengeance really does have a cinematic quality.
It is surprisingly violent and bloody (again, a departure from the MGS games I remember). Enemies are hacked to pieces, limbs are sliced off and there is liberal use of the red stuff. At times, it felt more like I was playing a Mortal Kombat title than an MGS one. This is particularly true when you enter Blade Mode (a Matrix-like time slowing phase) where you can target specific limbs, performing decapitations, or slicing an enemy's limbs off one by one. It's something you might want to bear in mind if you have younger gamers in your household. Revengeance could easily be accused of glorifying violence, and is like to get Daily Mail readers rather hot under the collar.
As befits the emphasis on action, Revengeance is a very noisy game, full of adrenalin-pumping tunes and loud, atmospheric sound effects. It reminds me of the old arcade games of the 90s - loud, bright, in-your-face and a whole lot of fun to play.
Character movement and control is well handled. Combat in particular is very fluid and feels natural. It's also highly accessible - after just a couple of brief tutorials, you will already have developed the main skills that will see you through the rest of the game. That's a real strength of Revengeance; it throws you more or less straight into the action without making you learn a load of complicated controls, but you feel ready for it. You can pick it up as you go along, making for a very accessible game.
If there's a major complaint, it's that the Campaign Mode is rather short. It will take the average gamer around 4-6 hours to complete which is not really enough for a full price release. You can ramp the difficulty level up, but even on higher settings, it's not that tricky. There's also not much replay value and once I'd finished Campaign Mode, I had no real desire to go back to it.
If you're a fan of the Metal Gear Solid series Revengeance is (by all accounts) a very different beast from the rest of the series. Its emphasis on combat and action, rather than stealth may disappoint existing fans, but as long are you know what you are getting, Revengeance is a good game.
It's not without its faults and at £17 for a new copy it really needed a longer campaign mode. However, if you're a fan of bonkers hack and slash arcade titles, then it's a decent game. MGS purists may not like the lack of stealth action, but this is still a very solid series entry (pun definitely intended)
(c) copyright SWSt 2013