What's that, you say? A robot wolf?
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance's Jetstream DLC was a bit of a disappointment. It consisted of mostly re-used environments, similar play mechanics, and didn't really have any bearing on the core plot nor did it enhance the characters in any way.
Well, this new DLC also has re-used environments nearly all the way throughout the course of the narrative, but at least you get to kick some ass as a robot wolf with a chainsaw.
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Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance: Blade Wolf (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 [reviewed])
Developer: Platinum Games
Released: May 14, 2013 (Xbox 360), May 15 (PlayStation 3)
MSRP: $6.99 (560 Microsoft Points)
The Blade Wolf DLC is basically a weird mish-mash of VR and normal missions that lasts around an hour. Yes, barring a few VR environments, practically all of the DLC is just a repeat of a few mission locales from the core game (most notably R-01). But unlike the Jetstream DLC, the new playable character (Blade Wolf LQ-84i) is pretty cool in his own right. In combat, he feels a lot like Raiden in that he has light attacks, heavy attacks, and can even zandatsu. But movement-wise, he's fundamentally different and will take some getting used to.
Without using the run function, Blade Wolf essentially walks at a stalking pace. It seems like a lame mechanic to slow down gameplay, but actually, it allows for some awesome stealth sections. Specifically there's a few instances in an office building where Blade Wolf can hide under a wall that would be too low for Raiden, and jump out, brutally killing his prey with a devastating metal tail through the chest.
He's no slouch in combat either, as he can utilize his signature "combination attacks" (read: robot speak for "combos") to slice up enemies, as well as using the typical Rising dodge move, projectile knives, and parrying. Since Blade Wolf is a bit slower than his humanoid counterparts, it took a while before I could really start to get comfortable in the higher difficulties, which made me feel like I was playing a slightly different game -- I like that.
Unlike Sam or Raiden, Blade Wolf actually feels like a different character, but not so different or out there that he couldn't work in an action game like this. Honestly, I would have preferred the option to play as him in the campaign -- but alas, that's not an option -- nor is the ability to upgrade Blade Wolf in any way.
The missions themselves are basically stealth-centric, with some optional and forced action thrown in for good measure. My absolute favorite part was one very cool VR platforming section that feels deliciously old-school. It basically pits you in a familiar street environment, but puts moving aerial blocks in your way and asks you to get from point A to point B. It felt a lot like the time trials in Mirror's Edge, and it's something I sorely wanted more of, but didn't get, from the DLC.
All of your objectives are wholly integrated into the story, and there's nothing as odd as the tacked-on VR Missions from Jetstream. Since Blade Wolf is so fun to play, the environments (which are better as a whole compared to Sam's story) at least feel a little different, even if they're re-used. Of course, everyone's probably wondering about the main event -- since Konami plastered it on every single advertisement for the add-on -- the "brand new" boss encounter.
Khamsin, a blood-crazed mercenary that doesn't really get any substantial introduction or backstory is your huckleberry here, decked out in a giant scythe-wielding mech at the very end of the DLC. To be blunt, the fight is only engaging on higher difficulties, but it does have some pretty cool and new mechanics -- like the ability to sneak up and drill into his suit to slice him up. It's over before you know it on lower difficulty levels, but it's still a fun new fight, and I wish there were more of them.
Story-wise, the narrative is fairly throwaway like Jetstream as it provides little bearing on the overall plot of Rising. It's not all that complicated -- Blade Wolf is programmed to work for Mistral before the events of Rising, and you get to play through one small incident. You do get a little insight though into the backstory and motivations of LQ-84i -- at least, a lot more insight than the Sam DLC gave, because wolfie actually says more than a few lines here. It's all stuff you can probably just make up in your head, but still, if you're a diehard Rising fan you'll appreciate the light exploration of the character.
Blade Wolf rides on the coattails of an interesting character, but suffers from some of the same issues as the Jetstream DLC in that it doesn't do enough. With all new environments and maybe some more of the aforementioned old-school VR mission action, this would be a must-buy. As it stands, only the most hardcore should apply here, but at least it offers up some good old-fashioned robotic chainsaw-hacking fun.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance: Blade Wolf reviewed by Chris Carter
A solid game that definitely has an audience. Might lack replay value, could be too short or there are some hard-to-ignore faults, but the experience is fun.
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