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Hands-On with Metal Gear Rising’s Blade Wolf DLC

Last month, Konami and Platinum Games released the first single-player DLC for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance featuring Raiden’s rival Jetstream Sam. While Sam played similarly to Raiden on a majority of gameplay aspects, it is time for a little change of pace with this month’s new piece of DLC featuring Blade Wolf, otherwise known as LQ-84i. The core gameplay remains the same from Blade Mode, parrying, and Zandatsu, but this time you’re playing as a wolf and a different playstyle is encouraged to mess around with. For $7 or 560 Microsoft Points, is the Blade Wolf DLC worth picking up? This is the closest we are all gonna get to playing a new Okami again minus the paint mechanics and slowmo, but it is feels good to play as a wolf-like character in an action game again.

Similar to Jetstream Sam’s campaign, the Blade Wolf DLC takes place before the events of Raiden's quest towards vengeance as we meet up with LQ-84i before he runs into Raiden. There are numerous cutscenes with it and Mistral, one of the bosses in the main game, and the wolf questions his role in Desperado of being an AI doing orders wanting more freedom. A set of training and VR missions fill up the first third of the campaign while the rest takes place where the first chapter of the game is, but in reverse. In other words, it is structured like Dante’s journey in the second half of Devil May Cry 4 in terms of going backtracking in familiar environments.

As far as gameplay is concerned, the Blade Wolf has quick and heavy attacks similar to Raiden and Sam, but thanks to its tail, the heavy attacks are also good from a distance. Blade mode doesn't have to be done up close for the LQ-84i, which is good. Another noticeable difference especially coming from the Sam DLC is that the wolf has Raiden’s Ninja Kill move where he can stealth kill enemies from behind. It is actually possible to cruise through this hour or two DLC campaign with only stealth kills, or as Platinum calls it for the wolf “Hunt Kills.” Even enemies that don’t seem to be instantly killed from behind during Raiden’s main quest can be with the Blade Wolf. In many ways, stealth is encouraged to use especially in a fast-paced character action game like Metal Gear Rising, which it is a good change of pace from Raiden and Sam’s playstyles. Sure, the Blade Wolf has a limited moveset like Sam, but luckily the campaign is not that long because things would get repetitive otherwise.

Also similar to the Sam DLC is how upgrades work for the LQ-84i. Health and energy upgrades have to be found in the wild instead of going to the customize screen. Another five VR missions are also hidden throughout the campaign and can not accessed in the main VR menu. Other than reused assets and environments, there is one new boss battle that closes out this DLC, which is against a new character named Khashim. For replay value, there are other collectables to find and harder difficulties to beat, so there is enough to be worthy of your seven dollars.

As with the Jetstream Sam DLC, more Metal Gear Rising is a good thing and that what the Blade Wolf offers. It is a great change of pace from the sword slicing and quick drawing for a more stealthy and methodical approach. The framerate does hitch at times when too many things are happening on screen, a flaw the last DLC also had, but the game is still 60 frames per second at its finest. This is pretty much it for DLC for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance in terms of what is already announced and I don’t expect any more since Platinum is busy with other games like The Wonderful 101 and Bayonetta 2, but who knows, maybe more VR missions are in the works. In the meantime, the Blade Wolf DLC is definitely worth your time and another reason to go back to playing arguably the best action game of the year so far again.


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