Though Raiden's adventure may be over, Platinum Games and Konami are keeping Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance going with new downloadable content featuring some of his co-stars. The first add-on gives us a look at Desperado assassin Jetstream Sam, and tells the story of how he came to be a mercenary for hire. Unfortunately, it's not a very interesting tale.
Jetstream Sam's story picks up a short time before the beginning of Metal Gear Rising. Sam has decided to infiltrate World Marshal headquarters in Colorado as part of a training exercise/job interview. It's all very unclear why he's cutting down all these mercenaries employed by Desperado, when in fact he's thinking about joining up with the group. Usually Metal Gear games are over-explained to the point of tedium, but in this downloadable content the story is so bare bones, you wonder if anyone at Platinum or Kojima Productions actually knows Jetstream Sam's backstory and motivations. Part of what made the idea of this DLC so appealing was getting to live a few hours in the shoes of Rising's most compelling antagonist. Sadly, you get more substance from his few appearances in the main game than you do from the hour or so you'll spend with this add-on.
Just because there isn't much meat to Jetstream Sam's story doesn't mean the combat doesn't once again deliver. Sam plays quite differently from Raiden, and it will take some adjustment to get used to the new flavor his moveset brings to the game. His parrying window is shorter (almost to the point of frustration), his attacks are slower, and he doesn't get to use any primary weapons outside of his Muramasa blade. Sam is much quicker to evade, and has new charging attacks to use. This is a character about finesse and patience, whereas even the luckiest button-mashers could make decent progress with Raiden. Trying that same tactic with Sam will almost instantly lead to your obliteration at the hands of Desperado.
It certainly makes playing as Sam somewhat worthwhile, as you can tell a lot of time went into making him a fully realized combatant, even if the same couldn't be said for his character. There are few things as satisfying as completing a nice combo of attacks, and stunning your foes long enough to pull off one of Sam's charged slices. If you time your attacks well, you can absolutely demolish and destroy any enemy in your path with great ease. Miss a parry or two, and forget to dodge, and you'll be restarting checkpoint after checkpoint.
Along Sam's journey, you'll travel through some very similar areas, as the entire add-on is just retreads of Revengeance's levels at World Marshal HQ. Even the boss battles are set to wash, rinse, repeat. First you'll take on LQ-84i (aka Blade Wolf), then Metal Gear Ray, and it all culminates in a throwdown with the Senator. It really is a shame the only new ground uncovered is with Sam's combat, as at least one new fresh area or face could have made all the difference.
Considering how little new content there is in Jetstream Sam, it's tough to recommend this DLC to anyone that isn't an absolute die-hard completionist. It's moderately fun, but doesn't do anything drastically different from the core game, and almost makes Sam himself a bit of a disappointment. Even with a few new VR missions to unlock, there's just not enough here to be excited about.
This review is based on the PlayStation 3 version of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance - Jetstream Sam. A code was provided to us by the publisher.