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Hands-On with Metal Gear Rising’s Jetstream Sam DLC

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has been out for about two months already and still one of the best action games of the year. Konami and Platinum Games have been releasing downloadable content for the game since its release from new VR missions and now new single player chapters with different characters to play as. This new single player DLC features Raiden’s rival Jetstream Sam and his chapter takes place before the events of the main game. It explains how Sam ended up joining with World Marshal and eventually face off against Maverick. If you’re itching to play more Metal Gear Rising, the Jetstream Sam DLC is well worth the $10 or 1200 Microsoft Points if you’re playing it on Xbox 360.

Despite sharing similar core gameplay mechanics with Blade Mode, parrying, regaining health and energy by Zandatsu, and having sub-weapons such as rocket launchers and grenades, Sam does have a different fighting style compared to Raiden. Instead of having Raiden’s Ninja Run abilities, Sam can double jump and air dash. Sam can also recover from the air and the wall after an attack to deal more damage against the opposition. He also has a new charge attack that is key in taking out enemies along with his signature quick draw. Instead of having his own Ripper Mode, Sam can taunt enemies so he can dish out more damage to enemies as they become more reckless with their attacks. Even though it feels Sam has a limited arsenal of moves, he is still fun to play as once you advantage of his special abilities. Playing him like Raiden won’t get the job done, especially against bosses, which you fought before in the main game.

Another difference with the Jetstream Sam DLC is how Sam upgrades his health and energy. Instead of spending BP from the main game, they are collectables to find in this one long chapter. New VR Missions are also found in the same way and they’re the only way to play them as they can not be accessed from the VR Missions menu screen. Also, Sam fights in reused environments against enemies from the main game and bosses I won’t spoil here. Platinum Games arguably played it a bit too safe with this DLC, but despite using reused assets, Sam’s combat style does still shine. Sam’s long chapter does take about two to three hours to beat on Normal, but it can be replayed in harder difficulties and there are new trophies to get as well.

The graphics were mostly unchanged in Metal Gear Rising’s newest single player DLC, but there are new cutscenes featuring Sam and other characters. However, the same issues that prevented the main game from perfection are still here from the bad camera, specifically in intense combat situations, and the game not telling you about item management. What I mean about that is the whole health system of sticking with one bar or multiple requiring nanopastes. The framerate also takes a big hit in this DLC at times, especially in moments involving Blade Mode and Zandatsu, to the point it becomes a slideshow. The music tracks are also reused as well, especially with the boss battles, but that’s not much of an issue since the soundtrack is still pretty good as it was in the main game.

Even though it reuses assets, environments, enemies, and bosses, I still had a good time playing through Metal Gear Rising’s Jetstream Sam DLC. Sam’s combat style does differ from Raiden's with the additions of charged attacks, air dashing, and taunting enemies to do more damage. In some way, Sam reminds me a bit of the old Dante from the Devil May Cry games. Sure, he doesn't have the repertoire Dante has, but he does have a bit of the attitude. The camera is still a big problem as it was in the main game, but the framerate hitches during some Blade Mode and Zandatsu scenes are the worst I seen from this game so far. Hopefully that won’t be the case in the upcoming Blade Wolf DLC next month, which will be radically different from this DLC and Raiden's campaign. There is enough value out of the Jetstream Sam DLC to justify its $10 price point with the long chapter, new VR missions, and replaying it on harder difficulties. More Metal Gear Rising is not a bad thing and if you’re looking to play the game with a different character that has an unique combat style, then Sam will indeed show you a good time.


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