April 17, 2013
Taking place well before the events of the main game, Samuel Minuano Rodriguez is a vigilante swordsman set on a warpath with World Marshal intending to storm the gates and end its villainy. Little does he realize, Senator Armstrong and his Desperado cronies were already expecting his arrival and are counting on him to slice his way into their inner sanctum.
Although Sam can Zandatsu and siphon power cells with the best of them, being an augmented samurai versus being a peak conditioned cybernetic ninja is not without its share of differences. Sam's dash enables him to deflect bullets just like Raiden's but lacks the matching speed and auto hurdle. To compensate, Sam is given a double jump and air dash for further mobility. Sam also has the ability to taunt opponents, which inflicts aggression and raises enemy attack power but with the benefit of lowering their defense which makes for an interesting approach in tactics.
Being heftier and samurais not known for acrobatic theatrics, Sam doesn't offer much in high flying versatility. Weak attacks are the only deployment of chain combos with heavy strikes saved best for finishers. However, charging heavy attack unleashes a storm of unrelenting fury, varying in degrees depending on how long you hold down the button. A full charged heavy attack grants frames of invincibility and often times instantly weakens opponents to becoming susceptible to getting their cells jacked. Additionally, if Sam gets thrown against a wall you can bounce off and counter attack for interesting results.
With the differences in fighting styles and general speed, playing as Sam isn't something that a lot of players can pick up naturally. As a slower swordsman, often times Sam will have to rely on parrying (ugh) when he is in a tight spot and the limited motions of the Muramasa makes fighting off ganging foes a desperate struggle (evident in his VR missions). Familiar bosses also take up completely different attack patterns ensuring a distinctive experience from that of Raiden's adventure.
Nevertheless, Sam's journey has its appeal as it is a refreshing new challenge from the main game. The only bold faced let down however is the fact that it's very short - equivalent to one mission and a half. For those that have beaten Revengeance enough times to get an idea of World Marshal's layout from bottom to top will know what I mean. As an upgrade screen is out of the question, Sam's only option to ensure his longevity is to track down as many gray Zandatsu boxes as possible to boost his health and energy cell capacity.
Sam also unwittingly suffers from a touch of DmC syndrome where the star protagonist is gifted with a multitude of side weapons while the other has little to work with. Cleaving people with the Muramasa at times gets a tad repetitive bringing to mind that Sam is also more than capable of holding his own bare handed in his main game boss fight, certainly impressive and another side of his combat prowess that many would've been obliged to partake in. Sadly, this is never utilized in the DLC, despite a lot of easy opportunities to bring it about. For the man that struck all the nerves with Raiden, the lack in style factor (a single boot to the face for QTE finishers, limited swordplay, and less than spectacular crowd control) certainly puts the samurai's regaled reputation in question as if he's holding back.
Playing as Sam is like playing as Vergil in DmC. They're characters you've always wanted to play as and rightfully so as their rivals' main stories often has them showcasing a depth that many would like to explore. Sam unfortunately wasn't given much in wow factor with a chasm of difference that could've been filled. Fortunately, Sam's escapade isn't anywhere within being a hot mess as Vergil's. The DLC can be best perceived as an attachable accessory that adds a nice new layer to a game that many of us haven't even neared being tired of replaying, in spite of the fact that there could've been more done to bring out his infamous allure.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance - Jetstream was reviewed on the PS3. You can read more about GamingUnion.net's scoring policy here.