WHEN METAL GEAR SOLID 2 debuted in 2001, fans were outraged to discover that series protagonist Solid Snake only appeared in a minor role. MGS2 instead centered on an effeminate pretty boy named Raiden, who fans immediately despised—mostly because he wasn't what they'd come to expect from Hideo Kojima's stealth-action franchise.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance once again drops players into the shoes of Raiden, but this version of the character is a far cry from the weepy child we first met. These days Raiden is a cybernetic ninja, complete with superhuman acrobatic skills and an electric sword that cuts through anything. Development on Revengeance was handled by Platinum Games, a developer most famous for the phenomenal Bayonetta, and the team's ability to create games that are equal parts crazy spectacle and legitimately cool set pieces go a long way toward making Raiden's latest adventure as entertaining as any prior Metal Gear titles.

If you come into Revengeance hoping for stealthy tension, you're going to be disappointed—Revengeance focuses on over-the-top action, and less than a minute into the game, you'll find yourself slicing apart giant robots and leaping from one flying missile to the next. The action never lets up during the campaign's eight-to-10 hour runtime, and while that may seem short on paper, in practice it's a perfect length for this adventure. Gone too are the series' trademark convoluted plot points, and while I adored Kojima's crazy creativity, Revengeance proves that a leaner, more focused gameplay experience perfectly fits the Metal Gear universe.

With Kojima obviously growing tired of the Metal Gear franchise—Metal Gear Solid 4's endless cutscenes proved that much—it's nice to see a new developer take the reins and knock it out of the park. Revengeance is a new direction for Metal Gear—and it's the most fun I've had with the series in a long time.