JetStream Sam gets his very own story DLC in this expansion for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, but unfortunately it’s mostly recycled content.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was a game that got caught up in development hell, and a lot of people lost faith in it. When the game finally released (thanks to a resurrection by Platinum Games), it proved to be a fantastic action game with a lot of depth, even though it was a bit on the short side. Metal Gear fans and critics alike sung the game’s praises, and now we’re being offered a handful of DLC add-ons for MGR, beginning with a chapter focusing on JetStream Sam. Sam was one of my absolute favorite characters in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, so I was happy to hear I’d be able to play as him. Unfortunately, it’s not all I hoped it would be.
As you may recall from the base game of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, JetStream Sam, or “The Cool Brazilian Wind” joins up with the nefarious PMC group World Marshall. This DLC is designed to shed more light on Sam’s motivations for joining them and his character in general, but it falls painfully short. The few cutscenes on offer here are interesting, and Sam is charismatic as ever, but these are almost the only new assets created for this DLC. Every area you fight through is a retread, from the sewers to World Marshall HQ, all while battling very familiar bosses like Metal Gear Ray and Armstrong to familiar (though still awesome) music. While controlling Sam is fun and different enough from Raiden, it’s tough to justify the $10 admission price of this DLC on what is almost just a new playable character shoehorned into a section of Raiden’s campaign.
Also, is it just me, or did JetStream Sam seem way faster when Raiden fought him in the campaign? Here he controls quite slowly and feels clunky and cumbersome. He packs some cool moves though, like a charge slash similar to Ryu’s in Ninja Gaiden, a flying counter, a double jump, and a taunt that angers enemies, weakening their defenses. However he just does not feel anywhere near as strong as Raiden did near the endgame, and you can’t upgrade him at all. He also is missing a lot of Raiden’s important skills, like the stealth kill. Considering that a solid amount of time is spent in this DLC hiding in boxes and drum cans, it seems quite odd that the stealth kill was left out. Thus, every enemy group needs to be sneaked past entirely, or engaged, which almost seems purposefully done just to pad the DLC’s length. Also, I found it really weird that JetStream Sam uses Raiden’s Zandatsu technique and absorbs enemies’ electrolytes, when the campaign’s story suggested he had hardly any cybernetic upgrades. I guess it’s such a core part of the gameplay that it couldn’t be left out.
Another thing worth mentioning: this DLC is incredibly difficult at times. Granted, it took me a bit to get re-acclimated with the game’s controls, not to mention the awkwardness of adjusting to Sam’s play style, but there’s no doubt that enemies and bosses are much more aggressive and spammy than before. The final fight with Armstrong is so nearly impossible that I gave up after about an hour of trial and error, which is something I really didn’t want to do. Like Mortal Kombat’s Shao Kahn, the guy just spams unblockable grabs and attacks over and over again, until he breaks your spirit enough to turn off the game. I watched the DLC’s ending on YouTube. I would have just lowered the difficulty, but Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance forces you to restart a chapter to change it, which I was definitely not going to do.
It’s frustrating, because this DLC could have been so much more. If the team had put some time into fresh environments, and maybe new enemies, it would be easier to justify the price. Even someone like me, who’s both a huge Metal Gear fan and a fan of this particular character, won’t get a lot out of it. I was actually shocked that there was no JetStream Sam Vs. Raiden match-up here- what a wasted opportunity. For those who can’t get enough Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, go ahead and pick it up, but be warned that this feels more like a fleshed-out VR mission than anything else.