The Metal Gear series is known for stirring up controversy. Certain entries garnering just as much praise as they do criticism. The best example of this is Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, an action game that played nothing like previous Metal Gear experiences, leaning far away from stealth to instead focus on extreme melee combat. Despite being nine years old at this point, the game is experiencing a resurgence, with concurrent Steam players up 1,000 percent as of May 2022. But why are so many players flocking to it nearly a decade later? The answer?
Memes, of course. As it turns out, they are the DNA of the soul. You didn’t know?
More than just a meme
Before Japanese developer PlatinumGames became famous for NieR: Automata, Astral Chain, and Bayonetta 2, the studio released a little action game called Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.
This was a game that, at the time, garnered praise from critics but never really caught on with the audience at large. It was quickly forgotten about, especially with the launch of Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain just two years later. It also didn’t help that Snake wasn’t the star, instead, putting you in the shoes of a cyborg, katana-wielding Raiden.
But in 2022, a Redditor by the name of LeoWeebK27 posted a GIF featuring one of the game’s bosses, Jetstream Sam, stroking his chin. The caption? “I should dip my balls in sulfuric acid.” This went on to receive nearly 16,000 upvotes, leading to the widespread popularity of the meme — and in turn, the game itself.
Then, popular YouTuber Jacob Geller released a video titled “Why does Metal Gear Rising keep getting more popular?” in May 2022, racking up over 700,000 views. The video focuses on what makes this game so special but also touches upon the sheer number of memes that have stemmed from Revengeance — likely leading to even more players jumping into it in 2022.
The thing is — despite being an easily “meme-able” game, it’s far more than that. The story is ridiculously entertaining, the music is bombastic and explosive, and the gameplay is arguably the finest PlatinumGames has ever created. Its boss fights are unbelievably over-the-top, each one getting in your face while focusing on scale. These battles make this game feel monumental, even nearly a decade later.
Cut my life into pieces
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is comparable to Devil May Cry in that your goal is to keep your combo going by unleashing devastating attacks on your enemies. The flow and overall feeling across both games are similar, but Revengeance adds an extra layer thanks to the implementation of Blade Mode.
Blade Mode allows you to temporarily slow down time and slice everything in your path by using the analog stick. Enemies have certain weaknesses that can be uncovered by slicing in a particular direction — like diagonally left to right, for example. In doing so, you can easily take out your opponent, while also replenishing your Fuel Cell meter, which is used to enter Blade Mode. Skilled players can constantly chain these Blade Mode attacks together as long as they’re quick enough, having a nearly endless supply of Fuel Cells while keeping the combo going.
The other notable thing about Blade Mode is that you can pretty much slice every item you come into contact with. When outside of combat, you have unlimited Fuel Cells, giving you free rein to destroy everything in your path. Cars, light posts, containers, and watermelons (so many watermelons) can be absolutely demolished with Raiden's sword. While in Blade Mode, time slows to a crawl, so once you deactivate it, everything you’ve been slicing comes crumbling down, which is far more satisfying than you might expect.
It may not play like a traditional Metal Gear game, but Revengeance is worth experiencing, serving as an approachable, and — most importantly — a fun action game. Many of the Metal Gear games include hours upon hours of complicated (and convoluted) cutscenes and clunky controls. In short, they are hard to get into. But Revengeance, on the other hand, can be completed in around six hours, with a straightforward story that is just enough to justify you slaying gigantic chainsaw robots and cyborg senators.
This game isn’t the easiest to get your hands on in 2022 since it’s not available through Xbox Game Pass or other subscription-based gaming services. You can, however, pick it up via the Microsoft Store to play on Xbox 360, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X|S. It’s also available on Steam. For 30 bucks, you might as well join the fad by playing a game that, according to Kotaku, is “blowing TF up” right now.