Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Overview and Review: Metal Gear Rising Revengeance US Limited Edition (w/Pics)

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Note: This review is for the US Limited Edition of Metal Gear Rising Revengeance and NOT the game itself.

It has been a very long time since my last review.  It would have been less long if Aliens: Colonial Marines had not been the magnificent failure that so many people claim it to have been. It has been even longer since a new Metal Gear game came out. The last one was Peacewalker (if you don’t count the HD collection). Maybe it’s because of that almost 3 year Metal Gear drought that I had no problem putting down 150 dollars on one of the more expensive game editions out there. Lets see if this premium priced set is worth the high asking price. The following items are included in the Limited Edition (inclusions specific to Gamestop via pre-order are noted where applicable):

1. Metal Gear Rising Revengeance
2. Soundtrack
3. Steelbook
4. Lamp
5. Artbook (Gamestop Exclusive)
6. Grey Fox Ninja Skin + Fox Blade DLC (Gamestop Exclusive)


Packaging:

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            Believe it or not, packaging is one of the more interesting things to look at when reviewing special editions. Packaging needs to inform the customer, look attractive on a store shelf, and, most importantly, protect sometimes-fragile contents. Some products even go the extra mile and make the packaging part of the premium edition experience (ala Soul Calibur V and Uncharted 3). For this edition, I was not expecting much. The need for this package to protect something as fragile as a double layered glass lamp meant that the box had to be almost completely focused on ensuring the safe transport of said lamp.
            And it is. The lamp is secured in such a way that I would be surprised if anyone actually managed to receive one with broken glass. The game and steelbook are also well protected. They are placed on a simple and effective cardboard tray. It’s not much, but it doesn’t need to be as the steelbook and game are not anywhere near as fragile as the lamp.

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The outer box is made with a nice thick sturdy cardboard. On the top of the box is an unexpected but supremely useful plastic handle. The graphics on the box are well printed and absolutely incredible. There are two images of Raiden on the box. Each image takes up two of the box’s faces. This is an imposing looking product that will easily warrant a closer look or purchase from potential customers. 

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In one of the bottom corners of the box, there is a list of the edition’s contents. It is very straightforward and lackluster. It seems as though it was put there because the graphic artist begrudgingly realized that it needed to be there. It’s lack of prominence is not much of a loss.
            All in all, the packaging is quite fantastic. 

Soundtrack:

            The soundtrack consists of 32 tracks. Having listened to most of it, I can say that it is exactly what I expected it to be. It has lots of video-game-y sounding music. If music from an action game is the kind of thing you find yourself wanting to listen to, then this inclusion might be up your alley. For my money, though, it’s kind of a waste.

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            On the plus side, the included soundtrack is actually on a disc. It’s nice to see Konami not opting to make the soundtrack a digital download. Unfortunately, the soundtrack does not come with a case. It doesn’t even come with a paper sleeve. Instead, it comes packaged with the game in a second tray (pretty rare for PS3 boxes). The lack of dedicated packaging is a slight annoyance that leads to a bigger annoyance. It seems that Konami have forgotten that CD’s need to have track listings made available to listeners. Nowhere in the Limited Edition could I find any information pertaining to the soundtrack’s included tunes. Not even itunes knew what the tracks should be called (meaning that no one has uploaded them yet). Worse yet, I called Konami support and they told me that there is no list of the included songs available. They suggested that I email their support team and that a list would be sent to me when one was ready.
            I will, of course, update this review when I hear back from Konami support. For now, though, the lack of a track list and case are not what I expected from such an expensive Limited Edition.

Steelbook:

            Some people go crazy for steelbooks. I don’t know why that is. I can understand that they look cool and all, but they’re not cool enough for me to pay (as some people do) import prices just to get a rare out of region steelbook. In any case, the steelbook included in this set looks gorgeous. It’s one of those rare steelbooks that decides NOT to use a heavy gloss on the outside. This means that you DON’T have to worry about attracting millions of fingerprints. The artwork both inside and outside is well chosen. The inside has space for the manual, the game disc, and even the soundtrack. The steelbook is mostly a great addition. It’s also mostly a slap in the face to PS3 owners.

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            As most people already know, PS3 game boxes are about the same size as bluray boxes whereas Xbox360 boxes are the same size as DVD boxes. Bluray boxes and DVD boxes are NOT interchangeable. It’s curious, then, that Konami has included a DVD sized steelbook with the PS3 version of MGR’s Limited Edition. This has two negative effects. The first is that one can’t have MGR sitting next to it’s PS3 brothers without having it look completely out of place. The other negative effect is that the box can’t properly hold the included manual because the PS3-sized manual is too short for the steelbook’s insert-holding tabs. Like I said. It’s a slap in the face.

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I feel like there should be someone keeping score of how many times companies think that this sort of sizing mistake is okay. From my own experiences, the PS3 wall of shame includes the DVD-sized boxes for MGR, The Hitman HD Trilogy, and Castlevania Lords of Shadow’s LE (also from Konami).

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With so many games being released in the correct size, it’s clear that including a blu-ray sized steelbook is possible. Konami clearly just didn’t care enough to produce two different sizes of this steelbook. For the amount that they charged for this Limited Edition, that kind of oversight is supremely shameful.

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Lamp:

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            Let’s face it, no one decided to spend 90 dollars above the regular price of this game for a steelbook and soundtrack (well, maybe some people did). The two previously discussed inclusions are so insubstantial that this lamp needs to be nothing short of incredible for this Limited Edition to be worth the asking price.
            The lamp base is made of plastic and has the game’s title cut out. This allows the name to light up when the lamp is turned on. The top part of the lamp has a double layering of glass. This was done so that the blade could be housed inside a bubble of the lamp’s glass. This means that while it sometimes looks like the electricity is radiating off of the blade, the currents never actually touch any part of the blade save for the very top. It’s an effective illusion.

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            The blade on the inside is sculpted well enough for what it is. It may even be made of metal in places. The actual blade, for example, even has a sharpened edge. No one’s going to mistake it for a replica, but it’s also not cheaply made. It does what it needs to do and that is fine by me.

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            The lamp has three modes. Off, on, and plasma (that’s just what I’m calling it). The "off" mode is just it off. The “on” mode has the lamp lighting up with blue LED’s and the “plasma” mode has the blue LED’s in conjunction with the electric currents pulsating.

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            So, how is the pulsing current effect? Well, it’s mostly cool. When it’s working properly, it looks great. The problem is that it’s not always working properly. The current looks best when it’s coursing through the whole lamp but often times the current seems to get stuck at the top and only pulses upwards. Not only does this look far less exciting, but the lamp also makes a fair amount of noise when the current gets stuck at the top. It sounds like someone is taking a shower in the next room. It’s a real drag, as this lamp, like I said previously, looks really cool when it’s doing what it’s supposed to do.

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            I wish there were some way to get it to stop wanting to pool it’s energy upwards, but even with that problem, the lamp is one of the nicer Limited Edition inclusions out there.

Update: After having the lamp running for about an hour, I noticed the distinct smell of burning plastic. I turned it off and disconnected it. When handling it, I noticed that there was a part on the bottom that was VERY hot. It was so hot, in fact, that there was a spot where the plastic was pliable when touched (starting to melt). I have since kept the lamp off and have emailed Konami support asking for a replacement. The lamp I received is clearly not safe. I will update this section when I hear back from Konami.

Update 2: According to Gamefaqs user fokaisnake, there is a way to adjust the voltage on the bottom to change the size of the arcs. This may fix the way the plasma pools to the top. However, this is not listed in the manual and I am reluctant to try it due to the earlier update. Until I hear from Konami, I wouldn't recommend trying much of anything at the moment. 

Update 3: The incredibly courteous support team at Konami sent me my replacement lamp. All I had to do was send them back my defective one. I didn't have to send any other part of the edition for the exchange. The new lamp that I received is in perfect working condition. On top of that, the plasma never pools at the top of the lamp the way the old one did. As of yet, I still have not touched the screw mentioned in update 2. I don't feel that I'll ever have to. 

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Artbook (Gamestop Exclusive):

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            The Gamestop Pre-order artbook is really really small. There are about 25 pages. It’s thin enough that the book’s spine isn’t even glued. The whole book is just stapled together. It’s worth noting that the book is very nice and that the artwork is phenomenal. It’s the kind of thing that makes for a very nice, if somewhat unsubstantial, bonus. I am very glad that I got it, but I would not recommend trying to track one down if you purchase Metal Gear Rising through another retailer.

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Grey Fox + Fox Blade DLC (Gamestop Exclusive):

            The Gamestop DLC was for Pre-Orders and the code for downloading the content is printed on the receipt when you pick up your game. It’s an ugly but effective way to deliver the content to the customer. The code is redeemed through the PSN and comes in at enough Mbs to imply that the skin and weapon are not merely disc locked content.

            The DLC must be purchased with in-game currency. The blade and skin are 200,000 points each. Though this does make it so the weapons and armor don't break the game's difficulty due to overpowering, it also makes it so that you can't readily use something you got as a bonus. Since I don't yet have the points to buy my DLC, I have not yet used the DLC. I imagine that once I can afford to re-unlock it, I will like it.

            I will update this review if I find anything particularly great or terrible about the DLC. If I don’t update this part, just assume that, like the artbook, it’s nice but not necessary to have.

Value:

            Konami charged a premium above even the standard premium for this particular edition. In fact, I could have purchased 2 brand new games and had 30 extra bucks to spend if I’d skipped this set. There needed to be a whole lot of value to justify Konami’s asking price. Did the set deliver? Even though the lamp could be one of the coolest Limited Edition Items I’ve ever seen, this set is clearly NOT worth the asking price.
            The steelbook is nice only for 360 owners. The soundtrack has no song list made available to the public. And the lamp could potentially be a fire hazard. Even if it wasn’t a potential house burner, the lamp’s cool look still wouldn’t be enough to justify the ridiculously high price point. There’s simply not enough content in this Limited Edition set. As it stands, Metal Gear Rising's Limited Edition is probably (value-wise) the most disappointing thing I have yet to review.
            What a shame. This could have been great. I cannot recommend this set. I also encourage those of you who already bought this set to be VERY careful with the lamp. Check the bottom for overheating.

Update: Having a working lamp has made this set far more satisfying. I still think that it doesn't offer nearly enough content to justify the price, but I no longer feel that the edition is quite the travesty I once thought it to be. 


            

3 comments:

Adam said...

that's one cool lamp

Anonymous said...

You really got the short end of the stick regarding your plasma lamp.
I've had mine on for half an hour the second I plugged it in; no noise, no electrical focus near the top, and no heat. I too have the Xbox edition, however I ordered mine from Amazon.
-SPOILER-
The Murasama looks nice with the Inferno Custom Body. Dat red.

enesis said...

After read your review , I'm still plan to buy one .
Beside it's premium price , I like the packaging art , steelcase and most is the plasma lamp .
thanks for your review .