Metal Gear is one of the most famous stealth action series ever made and is renowned for its labyrinthine plots, cinematic sequences and spectacular action scenes. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is set four years after Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and promotes cyborg ninja Raiden from supporting character to full-blown hero.
Raiden works for a private military company called Maverick Security, which specialises in training armies and protecting VIPs, in this case the prime minister of an African country that's recovering from civil war. A rival company called Desperado Enterprises unleashes an army of cyborgs to kidnap the president and start another war, and it's up to Raiden to stop them.
Raiden must also battle against the memories of his secret past as a child soldier, which come back to haunt him and influence his decisions later in the game. Although several members of Maverick help Raiden along the way by providing info and a new hi-tech body armour, he faces a number of formidable opponents including a female cyborg, a ninja and a sword-fighting specialist.
He's got the look
Metal Gear's trademark over-the-top action scenes and high production values are on show here. Developer Platinum Games also created the hack-and-slash action game Bayonetta, and it has brought the same fluid combat and unbelievable action to Revengeance.
Raiden's look has evolved since his last outing. He's older and has a darker side to his personality, reflected in his new black exoskeleton that also covers his left eye. Enemies are also beefed up with body armour, and some of the bigger bosses you encounter almost fill the screen.
The main story can be played over and over as many times as you like, which is extremely rewarding once you've honed your battle skills, found new weapons and become even more powerful. Thirty virtual reality missions, the first of many downloadable add-on packs, will provide new challenges for Raiden, while other add-ons planned for 2013 include extra weapons and the ability to play as other characters.
Nowhere to hide
Whereas previous Metal Gear games were all about creeping up on enemies or slipping by them undetected, Revengeance is all about full-on action. Every battle is fought out in the open with not a piece of camouflage in sight.
Along with standard light and heavy attacks, Raiden has two different combat modes that set him apart from his enemies: Ninja Run and Blade mode. Holding the R1 button enters Ninja Run and sees Raiden skip through environments and past obstacles without breaking his stride, as well as sliding under enemies in direct combat.
Blade mode, meanwhile, activates once you defeat enough cyborgs and lets you slow time, where with a few flicks of the right stick you can precision slice and dice enemy limbs using your katana. The results are gruesome and gory, making Revengeance a game for adults only. While in Blade mode you can also cut open cyborgs to reveal fuel, which Raiden can steal to heal.
The action flows seamlessly from one thrilling action scene to another. Look out for the duel on board a speeding train, the speed crawl down the side of a building while avoiding fireballs, and the moment where Raiden leaps from missile to missile in mid-air to reach a giant enemy boss. You won't believe your eyes.