There are quite a few reviews for this game and probably more to be expected, haven't read them all in depth but i will try not to go on and on and hit all the same exact points.
Platinum Games meets Konami, ever play Bayonetta? Vanquish? Both beautifully over the top action games, Bayonetta being a hack and slash, Vanquish being a third person shooter, both amazing examples of their own genres respectively, and with MGR:R i can't help but feel that both Bayonetta and Vanquish had a love child.
The hack and slash style of Bayonetta (albeit a combat system not AS complex/varied as Bayonetta admittedly, but i am a fan of the phrase "keep it simple stupid") and the futuristic setting that Vanquish had, obviously majority of this comes from the Metal Gear universe itself, but you can definatly feel Platinum's unique twist on the series.
This brings us to another point, the whole debate regarding if its a true Metal Gear game or not, and many long time Metal Gear fans seem a bit turned off with the pure action style, but to that i simply say this; we have plenty of "real" Metal Gear "SOLID" games, MGS1-4, Peace Walker, the new one that was announced (heard it was delayed or canceled no idea if those were just rumors/whatever), they made a very conscious decision to rename it Metal Gear "RISING", this is not to downplay how awesome the previous MGS games were, but change is always welcome, as far as game play is concerned at least.
The story will honestly be hit or miss with most people, i will try not to spoil anything but if you want zero spoilers, i suggest not reading any further and skip to the end for the score/summary.
The bad guys are pretty obviously over the top evil, and somehow represent the government/big brother, they want to literally harvest children's brains to train them into killers, and have no qualms about disposing of large quantities of useless children. Here's the thing though, its pretty clearly meant to be over the top, i mean first of all its Platinum Games, it's what they're known for, and on top of that they were given the METAL GEAR universe to mess around with.....an already crazy vision of a future war torn earth, with an even more crazy cast of characters, from invisible ninjas to a random fat guy who loves C4....so.....we pretty much knew what to expect....
Personally i really enjoyed the story, however if you don't like sitting through large sections of text/audio via the Codec calls, you can easily miss a ton of story, one thing to note before you play is always check your Codec for new lines of dialogue, it really does add a lot to the story to help flesh it out without having the need for really long cut scenes which is what MGS is known for, not that long cut scenes are bad, but Codec calls are 100% optional for the most part, and are easy to either read through quickly or fast forward through. A lot of the games humor comes through the various Codec conversations with the various characters, always use the Codec on every single boss/different stage of the boss, for either tips or humorous observations.
As far as the game play goes it starts off pretty tough and unforgiving, but the instant you learn the needed skills/moves, you're pretty much set for the entire game, Blade Mode, Block/Parry, Combos/Weapons and lastly different types of enemies. Be sure to try out the VR missions whenever you unlock them as can be good training for the game.
If you've watched Angry Joe's review of Metal Gear Rising you'll remember he mentioned about the block mechanic being pretty much broken, basically attack is pressing X or Y, and blocking is pressing X + towards the enemy, but lets say you input X + towards an enemy, unless the enemy is attacking or about to hit you, instead it will attack, so effectively if you keep mashing towards the enemy with the left stick and attack, you can continue to attack and still block pretty much everything.
The block cancels most moves and can itself be canceled by an Evade i think, and overall the timing for the block is definitely VERY lenient, i did notice it in the demo but its honestly not an issue with the game, but it literally needs to be that way because of the way the game play is designed. Meaning enemies that attack really fast and without pause sometimes, not to mention multiple enemies attacking at the same time, and its worth noting that the higher the difficulty you play the more aggressive the enemy AI is, even using new moves or just using them far more often for devastating results.
As i mentioned before once you learn the few essential moves/skills, the combat becomes pretty simplistic, Bayonetta had a much deeper combat system overall and more varied weapons and even far more combos, but honestly its not knocking MGR because it works fine, its meant to be fast paced so you slice an enemy a few times to weaken him and then enter blade mode to slice him up and rip out his juicy cyber spine for all the health/electrolytes you may need. You have a few sub weapons that you obtain after each major boss, typically human/cyborg hybrids like Mr. Lightning Bolt, all have their specific uses and add a nice variety other than the standard sword. Multiple swords to unlock via beating certain difficulties/VR missions etc. You also have items like the iconic cardboard box from Metal Gear Solid, used for some sneaking to either weaken enemy numbers before engaging directly or the few minor "stealth" sequences, don't expect Metal Gear style stealth, because you will be disappointed.
An entire play through (my first time was on hard difficulty) is roughly 7 hours, although my time of 7 hours 30 minutes roughly i am sure included the various VR missions i played and time spent exploring everything, so actual game length would be closer to 5-6 on average i guess, short yes, but quality over quantity.
Since it's so short i rented it for 1 week and already beat it twice through and got through about half of a no damage/s rank run on the highest difficulty "Revengeance", so it's definitely difficulty to justify a £40/$60 price tag, but in retrospect to me as a fan of the original MGS games, and a fan of the previous Platinum Games titles, AND a fan of action games in general, it could be worth it just so that they continue making awesome games and to show the developer support if you enjoyed their product. If you're on the fence just rent it/wait for a price drop, its simply not a game you want to miss out on.
The highlight of the game is without a doubt the boss fights, oh my lord the boss fights.......take notes developers, this is how you do boss fights, the intro boss fight ALONE hands down beats if not equals any boss in a game worth noting, lets just say in action genre. Not to mention achievements for beating each "real" boss and take zero damage, 2/5 of which i have
, very fun to just try yourself and not watch videos, like i took hours upon hours to finally beat the 2nd boss Monsoon with zero damage, the fight itself lasted a while as i was damaging him slowly and it was on the highest difficulty, but after watching a video i can now beat him in a few minutes with zero damage, with only a few attempts.
I missed 1 little sub chapter right before his boss fight so missed out on the S rank for the entire chapter, but managed to no damage kill him within 2 attempts within minutes, once you know the best strategy, but the fun was figuring it out for myself, words cannot explain the euphoric feeling of finally beating something for yourself after hours of trying and many moments of frustration and many much needed breaks in between, really the Monsoon battle will hurt your thumbs not to mention your eyes if going for a no damage run.
The game gets a 5/5 from me, as in whatever types of games you like just try it out anyway, its a must play, but maybe not at the full price tag for everybody, can easily beat it multiple times just by renting it. Great over the top action, amazing boss fights that will be hard to top, not to mention HOW ALL HACK AND SLASH GAMES NEED TO BE IN THE FUTURE, sorry for caps.
The soundtrack is pretty much perfectly fitting for the game and i swear all of the songs themselves are programmed to crescendo/break into a sick guitar solo/vocal mix at the perfect time during boss fights.
Seriously, the worst thing i can say about the game is it ruins most other games, forever i will be thinking....."why can't i just go slow motion and slice this guy up into a million pieces?", throw Raiden from MGR into ANY game, ANY setting, ANY time, and he would make it freaking awesome.
Edit: Will mention a few more negatives, a few camera issues, overly difficult VR missions (just try to beat them all with a gold medal and you'll soon find out), although i enjoy a challenge and probably too used to the easy games of today. One really annoying section is an easily miss-able sub chapter that involves spending like 10 minutes throwing 1 EMP grenade followed by 1 rocket repeated like 30-40 times because you literally can't get near the Mech and the only way to kill it with zero damage is really slow and boring, not to mention difficult to perfect while taking zero damage, which makes it far easier to get an S rank, not really complaining about difficulty just mentioning it for completionists/people who really enjoy a challenge, just that one sub chapter is so poorly designed its just pure annoying.