Welcome to this week’s article of The Good, Bad, and What The?, where we took a good, long look at characters in movies, video games, anime, and books and put them on the judgement table to see if they are worthy to be in their respective stories. I strongly believe that well developed characters are more important than anything else in a good story, so I always judge them hard. At the end of every character’s evaluation I will give them one of four ratings: Good for those characters that are developed and deserve their place in the story, Bad for those characters that have no place being made or interacting with anyone else in the story, What The for the characters I just can’t figure out, and then the characters who are dull as dishwasher will get the rating of Sack of Potatoes. Today on the judgement table: Raiden, the main character of “Metal Gear Rising Revengeance.”
“Metal Gear Rising Revengeance” is one of the few “Metal Gear” games that doesn’t have you playing as Snake with his tactical espionage action. Instead, you play as Raiden the cyborg ninja death machine that can shred anything he pleases apart with his blade. “Revengeance” takes place after the events of “Metal Gear Solid 4” where Raiden is now part of a private military company (PMC). He works for the company called Maverick, which is a security detail that defends major influential figures. While protecting an African president they are ambushed. Raiden tries to defend the president but is met with powerful resistance from some mysterious super cyborgs that kill the president. Raiden then gets an agenda to stop the atrocities that these enemies are committing. They are called Desperado and their business is to make money off of war. They’re basically trying to create war so they can rake in the big bucks. For this article I am only going to focus on Raiden as he is in “Revengeance”, as I haven’t played “MGS4.”
Raiden is a man who is now a cyborg ninja with incredible skill and strength. If you look up the definition of the words badass, amazing, or destruction you are gonna see a picture of Raiden right next to Bayonetta. Platinum knows how to make their main characters awesome. To give you an idea of how insanely powerful Raiden is, I’ll give you some examples. So the first boss you fight in the game is an old “MGS” classic, Metal Gear Ray. After leaping up with missiles flying at him, Raiden then proceeds to slice the Metal Gear’s arm off and then grab it by the other arm and literally throw it across the city. As “MGS” fans know, Metal Gears don’t go down easy so it comes back and throws Raiden up on top of a building. Raiden then runs down the building while dodging missiles and slices the Metal Gear right in half. Raiden takes the blade arm off another Metal Gear and beats that Metal Gear to death with it. Raiden jumps out of a helicopter in mid air and shreds apart two fighter jets. This guys never stops being awesome. The mechanics of the game allow you to slice your enemies into as many pieces as you possibly can using blade mode. All of the insanely cool stuff you makes you immediately love Raiden because of how powerful playing as him makes you feel. “That was freaking amazing!” is a sentence you say a lot as you slice car in half that are being thrown at you. Raiden is a beast of destruction and you feel pretty great for it but he is more than a rampant death machine too.
Raiden is a character with a not so pleasant backstory. A young orphan born and raised as a child soldier in Liberia, Raiden was killing from a very young age, and he was very very good at it. Due to his innate skill to kill and feeling of very little remorse towards this killing, little Raiden, whose real name is Jack, got the nickname Jack the Ripper. It’s brought up many times that Raiden was such a skilled killer and one particular character, Jetstream Sam, tells Raiden “You are denying your blade its purpose.” Sam can tell Raiden is holding back his murdering urge and trying to convince himself he is a defender of the weak. Eventually Raiden accepts who he is and unleashes Jack the Ripper once again and tears apart his enemies. Raiden accepts that he is and always has been a killer but he knows uses it for a better purpose. He still is a defender of those who need it, but he accepted his flaw. You must understand the flaws you have to better yourself, so a character doing that gives them a more human and interesting feel. Despite his very dark past there are other characters that see Raiden as a good friend and hero. He may be good at killing and destruction, but you do feel bad for the guy quite often, and then you slice up ten guys and watch stuff explode and you feel better. The whole premise of “Revengeance” is that Raiden is trying to stop a huge war and is saving kids from becoming child soldiers like he was and he will do whatever it takes.
Raiden knows himself what is right and breaks the rules to get it done. Raiden will break national laws if that’s what it takes. He has a huge sense of justice despite his evil past and his affinity for killing. Raiden is aware that he isn’t totally in the right but doesn’t care because he will do what it takes to make sure other children avoid the horrors he went through as a child soldier. He wants to save and protect anyone he can and if he must cut down others to protect those who are much weaker than so be it.
So down to the verdict. Raiden gets the verdict of Good. He is a character who accepts his flaws and difficult background. Raiden knows he is seen as evil by many people but he doesn’t care because he is doing what he must to fight for his beliefs. Regardless of what someone might be like, you can’t help but appreciate a person that fights like that for what they believe in regardless of what that belief is. Also like I said before, Raiden is the living definition of a badass destruction and hey, who doesn’t like feeling like an absolute beast when they play video games.