Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance – Blade Wolf DLC

August 11, 2013

Last month I found myself both excited, and ultimately disappointed, over the first story focused downloadable content pack for the tremendously awesome Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. With Jetstream Sam now out of the way, along comes story pack numero due: Blade Wolf. Like Sam, Blade Wolf introduces a new playable character (guess who?), a series of missions connected by pre-rendered cut-scenes, and a handful of VR missions. It’s more of the same, sometimes better, other times worse. And ultimately still not what I would have liked from Revengeance DLC.

Like Sam, Blade Wolf’s journey is told through cut-scenes rendered and snapped together with no degradation in quality from the main game, looking as sharp as ever, with a returning voice cast as well as someone new. As a post-game reminiscence of his pre-Raiden adventuring, Blade Wolf recounts his interactions with Mistral, his longing for freedom, and why the newly introduced Khamsim is a dude you want to kill. And like Sam, it’s mostly all padding the character’s back story with not a whole lot of necessary development. It’s nice to see Blade Wolf and Mistral interact, but when such a significant portion of the DLC take place in virtualised training missions (Blade Wolf only goes on one actual mission, at the end), that interaction amounts to mostly just banter. And Khamsin is so loosely introduced that it’s pretty obvious he’s the Desperado member who was originally left on the cutting room floor. Even if he was created just for this DLC there’s hardly any alluring character development to make him memorable.

However, he does have a pretty cool jet axe.

blade wolf 5 500x281 Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance – Blade Wolf DLC

Gameplay adopts a similar formula to Sam, attempting to spice up the Raiden familiarity with a character built on different combat fundamentals. Or in Blade Wolf’s case, the lack thereof. While I really appreciated Sam’s similar though totally reworked timings and damage system for a more methodical and superbly appropriate samurai-like swordplay, Blade Wolf is all about stealth. In fact, his basic combat system of light and heavy attacks is fairly simplistic, and I couldn’t really get into a groove of intricate, tightly controlled combos and counters. In some ways he’s a bit easier to play in that respect, but getting right into the thick of it also turns out to be a little more boring. The issue of Sam’s stagnant moveset and weapons persist through to Blade Wolf, again offering no combat or equipment upgrades.

Instead, Blade Wolf’s encounters are designed heavily around the Revengeance stealth system, almost all enemies and scenarios default to non-alert status with very few forced, scripted battles. It works well enough, in the same way the Revengeance stealth already works, and it does open Blade Wolf to some interesting new additions. For example, Blade Wolf is able to collect and throw knives. Yes, a cyborg dog with a chainsaw tail throwing knives. They seemed almost totally useless to me in direct combat, but did make for excellent lures. Punt a knife at an enemy from afar, and watch as he slowly wanders away to investigate. Good for setting up a stealthy ambush.

Even though this all works well enough, the issue here is that Revengeance‘s stealth system was simply serviceable, nothing deep or outstanding. And in that respect it worked. It was contextual. Try and clear as much of an area as sneakily as you can, and if/when you fail then indulge in the rich, brutal combat system. Unlike mainline Metal Gear Solid there’s not a lot of involvement or depth to manoeuvring your way past AI and setting them up for stealth kills, and so Blade Wolf is similarly shallow. I mean, it is fun, but it’s also a bit easy at times. And if things do go pear shaped you’re forced to fall back on a combat system that cannot go toe-to-toe with Raiden’s best.

blade wolf 4 500x281 Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance – Blade Wolf DLC

Environments, just like Sam, are almost exclusively remixed existing environments. So again you’ll be backtracking through areas Raiden has already explored. Literally backtracking, as many are now in reverse. There’s a few optional, tangent VR missions thrown in for good measure, and some of the main missions are spiced up with VR-like alterations (remember, most of Blade Wolf takes place in a simulation). The most prominent of these litters a stage with a bunch of floating yellow platforms for a dash of good old fashioned platforming. And naturally it doesn’t work all that well. Much like the VR Mission Pack, the first DLC release,Revengeance really doesn’t have the polished foundations to allow platforming to act as any kind of focus. Optional? Sure. But the trademark floaty collision detection and nightmare camera do not translate well into a sequence of dedicating platforming.

Finally, the much hyped boss fight against Khamsin is a mixed experience. The idea suitably ridiculous in all the best ways possible, as Khamsim stomps around in a mech suit, wielding a jet axe. He fights in a unique style, with his own grapples and combo system. He’s even got this cool contextual sequence that lets you use some of that stealth. But, to my surprise, I found it all very easy. My first playthrough was on hard, and when I say “easy” I don’t mean “I’m a master at countering and thus S ranked him first try”. I mean he was easy in that his contextual stealth sequence wasn’t challenging and took off a massive chunk of damage, and the battle was drenched in item drops that ensured my nanopaste was always at maximum capacity. A cool fight, but far removed from Revengeance‘s otherwise intense, brutally challenging duels.

As for value, either Konami read my Jetstream Sam review, or I wasn’t the only one calling out the AU$15 price tag as total bollocks. Blade Wolf is priced at ~AU$10.35, almost five bucks cheaper. We’re still paying more than the United States by about AU$3, as they saw a price drop too, but I can better recommendBlade Wolf at a $10 price tag over Sam’s $15.

But even at better value and with good ideas I’m still left a bit disappointed. Like Sam, there’s nothing offensive about Blade Wolf’s mission pack. And I think if you’re a fan of Revengeance you’ll get a good bit of fun out of it. But it’s not a necessary experience, nor one that capitalises on Revengeance‘s best qualities, nor introduces some new, game changing element wrapped in a totally fresh package. It’s more Revengeance, not quite as good as the main game, but a fun enough diversion if you’re into that kind of thing.


Blade Wolf stealth | Reduced price | Cool boss idea


Misplaced platforming | Repetitious | Easy at times

Overall Score: