It’s safe to say that Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance – the series’ recently released departure from its stealth-action norm – had high hopes to live up to. Thankfully, it seems to have done so, receiving critical acclaim and impressing the majority of the Internet’s more vocal message board critics. The game – which favours high intensity action over slow-paced stealth – was short, but it was fun and well-made, not to mention interesting. As such, it’s no surprise that fans wanted more, and that Konami has been readying downloadable content packs to enhance the experience.
The first of the planned campaign add-ons, a stand-alone prequel chapter starring the memorable foe named Jetstream Sam, has now made its way to our favourite high-definition devices, offering players more sword-slicing action for a ten dollar price tag. Anticipated and previewed, its content has been speculated about and discussed. Now that it’s out, however, it’s time to rate what’s there and weigh its merits. Unfortunately, there aren’t many this time around, as what we’ve been provided with is more lacklustre than impressive.
As mentioned above, this Jetstream Sam downloadable content pack is set before the bloody action presented within the core game. For that reason, it really doesn’t matter if you decide to play through it before taking on the retail Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance experience, though it’s probably safe to say that most will wait until after they’ve finished Raiden’s storyline before doing so. Regardless, those who pay the steep and unjustified admission price can expect to find out how independent mercenary Sam became a bad guy. It’s an interesting premise, but one that isn’t as fleshed out or as interesting as it could’ve been, settling for basic and uninspired instead. Sure, there are a couple interesting bits to be found, but nothing memorable.
The good news here is that the included action is predominantly similar to what fans of the game are used to. Like Raiden, Jetstream Sam is all about slicing up cyborgs with his sword. The two use similar mechanics, though Sam’s combat abilities aren’t as impressive or as fluid as his white-haired foe’s. He’s well-trained in combat, but lacks the immersive quickness that Raiden possesses. Still, there’s fun to be had with what is a decent variation of a solid combat system.
Unfortunately, an Achilles’ Heel presents itself in the form of the pack’s below-average length. For ten dollars, one should expect at least three or four hours of bonus content, if not more. That isn’t the case here, though, as Metal Gear Rising‘s first campaign add-on is only about an hour and a half long. That’s it. Going further, it’s important to mention that almost half of that time is taken up by cutscenes. Although I spent 90 minutes playing through this add-on, the in-game clock listed only forty-seven minutes of actual playtime. How can that justify a ten dollar asking price, especially when there’s no real replay value apart from a few hidden VR missions?
When you consider that this new mini-campaign, if you will, is only one chapter long, then it becomes even harder to justify the purchase. Add in recycled environments, enemies and characters, not to mention a lack of identity, and you have something that most would be wise to pass on. This is only for the diehards, and even those folks should go in knowing that this is about as linear as they come, offering a bit of sewer exploration before a jaunt through an office building. Throughout all of that, the focus is on combat, and there’s next to no variety. Granted, a couple of the included boss battles are of above-average quality.
If you loved Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, then its Jetstream Sam add-on is surely enticing you with its availability. However, unless you eat, sleep and breathe Metal Gear, this probably isn’t the best way to spend the ten dollars that’s burning a hole through your pocket.
This review is based on the Xbox 360 version of the game, which we were provided with.