Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance – Jetstream DLC Review
This game was reviewed on the Xbox 360.
With a little bit of hacking and slashing, a new piece of DLC for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has cut its way onto our consoles. Entitled Jetstream, this expansion dives into the back story of titular character Jetstream Sam, a.k.a. The Cool Brazilian Wind, and how he got involved with the private military corporation (PMC), World Marshal (WM).
Is this expansion skilled with its blade, or does it stumble around like a child wielding a stick? Oh, and by the way, spoilers ahead from MGR’s campaign, so if you haven’t finished it yet, now is the time! Here, I’ll even wait for you.
Oh good, you’re back! Wasn’t that fun? Jetstream attempts to explain the origins story of Sam, a key antagonist from the main game’s plot. The scene opens on Senator Armstrong and Typhoon speaking a bit about philosophy and their sinister plans, before mentioning that the Cool Brazilian Wind is on his way. Enter Sam, who arrives on a sleek looking motorcycle – which keen gamers will recognise from a later mission in the original story. Having just attempted to take down major drug cartels and other lowlifes in Brazil, he is looking to sneak into World Marshal’s headquarters. His goal: take down the seemingly evil PMC and put a stop to their nefarious plots – letting justice prevail. However, the outcome may not be what he expected, since you’ll distinctly recall him working for the group in the main title.
What one would expect from this DLC fray would be a plot-driven prologue, full of important character development for Sam, and perhaps even a scene with Blade Wolf (who you’ll recall mentioned he respected Sam as he worked with him once). What you’ll get, however, is a single two-hour chapter that is a highly diluted version of this concept, heavy on revisiting areas (which Sam even offhandedly mentions) we saw and enemies we fought already in MGR – with scarcely any real plot or growth. Sam seems to enter into the narrative quite randomly, with his origins explained with what feels like as little detail as needed. He claims to be motivated by revenge, but for what we never discover. I would go as far as saying that we learn more about the Cool Brazilian Wind from the main campaign itself than we do from the expansion that was designed to shed more light on his character. Furthermore, the reasons for his joining of WM are barely touched on, as Sam does a total character flip from wanting to destroy them to deciding to work for them over a few empty words, basically just because WM asked nicely. In turn, this causes players to view Sam as less of a hero who used the villains to reach his goal (as he was portrayed in MGR), and more of an individual who can’t make up his own mind. Overall, the entire chapter feels like a missed chance at better exploring a fantastic character and villain.
Gameplay in Jetstream is somewhat different than in MGR, mainly down to a few differences in character. While Raiden is known as a cyborg ninja, Sam is more of a samurai (which is probably where he got the name) – and utilizes a form of Iaido, or “quick-draw”. As some of you may remember, Sam’s scabbard comes loaded with an ejection mechanism powered by what appears to be modified .50 caliber rounds that allow our samurai friend to draw his sword at inhuman speeds – as witnessed when he slashed off Raiden’s arm and eye. This technique factors heavily into Sam’s play-style, asking players to hold the heavy attack button at the end of a combo in order to charge up, before unleashing either a single devastating slash or a barrage of weaker ones. While this system is a lot less complicated than Raiden’s lightning-fast katana work and is a creative variation based on Sam’s character, it also features a lot less combinations – making it feel a little watered down. I found myself using the same couple of techniques the entire time, which got boring fairly fast. Players can still utilize the Zandatsu mechanic though, so feel free to slash your fallen enemies into hundreds of pieces!
A couple other differences set Sam apart from Raiden in terms of play, namely Taunting and Jumping. While Raiden was capable of his high-energy Ninja Run, Sam is a little more low-key and chooses a tried-and-tested approach – the Double Jump. How he utilises this technique is unknown (thrusters in his legs, perhaps), but it ends up being a little less fun than running up and across objects at lightning speed. Due to this difference, Sam is incapable of stealth takedowns, meaning the player has no choice but to face each and every foe head on – a huge loss in variation. In place of these moves though, Sam has a Taunt, which can set affected enemies (including bosses) into a sloppy frenzy. The idea behind this tactic is classic: angry enemies make dumb mistakes. Unfortunately, things don’t quite work out like this. Having two-to-three angry enemies whip out a series of rage-induced attacks can totally swarm you, leading to a swift demise – usually before you can even finish the Taunt (as you can’t move until the Taunt is completed). This is even worse when fighting bosses, as they already feature attacks that are only semi-blockable, leaving you exposed after a parry – so the intensity of the battle heightens when they’re angry and constantly on the offensive. Every instance I used this technique, I found it to be more detrimental than helpful.
As with the main title, Jetstream features a handful of Virtual Reality (VR) missions for players to test their skills with. Unlike MGR though, these missions can only be played from within the campaign mission itself. As you traverse the environment, you’ll see computer consoles similar to the ones that unlocked VR missions in MGR. However, instead of simply making the mission available for play at a later time on the main menu, a message pops up asking if the players would like to step into the simulation right away. If you choose to, you will return right where you left off in the story before you started the VR mission, but this still poses a slight problem: many gamers like to revisit extra arenas like this after they’ve finished the narrative, making the demand of playing it then and there a little unfair. Furthermore, if you do try out the mission and find it a bit over your caliber, you have to replay the main story up until that point in order to try again. A small design oversight, but a dampening one all the same.
Overall, Jetstream is a decent expansion that allows players to revisit Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance in a new way. However, it’s riddled with tiny issues that drag it down, and features a short and sadly unrealized story that could have been so much more. Problems aside, MGR fans will still have a solid two hours of fun as they slash their way into World Marshal’s inner sanctum. If you feel the need to sharpen your blade, Jetstream is a good, short prologue to Raiden’s standalone tale. Just don’t expect your usual complex and deep Metal Gear plot with this one, as you’re not going to get it.
Final Score: 4.0 / 5.0 and a mild breeze brushing on your face.
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