I got the Japanese version of Metal Gear Rising Revengeance a few days ago.
Now that I think about it, it’s been a while since I got both versions of a Japanese game. Last time I used to buy the English version first, to understand the game, and then buy the Japanese version to get what was ‘lost’ during localization. These days I just get the Japanese version.
The reasons I also bought the US version for this game were 1) it was released early. The US release date was two days earlier than other regions, and it even broke the release date and 2) Metal Gear series’ voice acting is pretty notable, and the differences between English and Japanese voice-acting in the series have been interesting comparisons for me. I have had the pleasures of enjoying both versions of previous Metal Gear installments, and I rather keep the tradition than make an exception.
I gotta say, I’m mildly disappointed with the English version. The voice acting is an accent fest. To be fair, it has been this way since MGS1, but it has never felt so… blatantly obvious. The subtitle work, like MGS4, is sloppy in a few places. It’s like they don’t have the time to QA it extensively or the people concerned are not doing their jobs properly. Some lines are inaccurate or wrong, and they even forgot to put line breaks on some lines in the final chapter, so you have these long lines that go over the screen and you can’t read some of the words. I thought in MGS4 when they misspelled Raiden’s line ‘I’m lightning’ to ‘I’m lighting’ it couldn’t get much worse. These are minor blemishes that are nevertheless noticeable, and it hurts the image of the whole package.
As I played the Japanese version, my mind starts to piece together some inklings that I have always had when I played previous Metal Gear games in both languages. Raiden is probably one character in video games that is a vastly different character in Japanese and English versions just by his dialogues alone.
It starts from MGS2, his first appearance. In MGS2 Japanese version he sounds as cool as Snake, only younger. In MGS2, he is ‘whiny’. I think the localization team never expected that Raiden would appear again in future installments. Anyway, rather than fixing Raiden’s character to match the Japanese counterpart, it seems they decided to just ‘go with the error’ (error is too strong a word, I admit), akin to the Street Fighter series where some characters have their names swapped in the two versions.
Bottom line is, in Japanese version, Raiden is consistently cool and calm. In English version, he starts being whiny. Then in MGS4 he tries to sound like a bad-ass. In Rising he is at times inconsiderate and arrogant. Even his dialogue is changed to reflect this. For example, in Japanese version when he talks to one of his support team members for the first time in the game, he actually just said ‘good to have you here’. In English version, he tries to make an excuse to avoid the guy’s briefing. In later part of the game he even tries to growl like Batman in Dark Knight series.
I personally prefer Raiden Japanese version but it’s not a stretch to imagine that the English version is also well accepted. As some people have put it, the corny bad-ass lines suit the nature of the game.
I also prefer the Japanese package. It is cleaner and makes for a nice collection.
The back cover:
It has been a tradition for Japanese version Metal Gear covers to have this simple design of white background and grids of screenshots. Only now they add a little touch with the cuttings. Brilliant.
Simple and clean. Watch what happens when I take out the instruction manual and disc:
I also feel bad for those who get the US version. In US, to get Gray Fox outfit DLC you need to preorder from GameStop. To get MGS4 outfit you need to purchase it on PSN at later date. In Japan, Gray Fox outfit DLC is provided in every first-print copy of the game. And the MGS4 outfit? You can get the code for free if you just let the Japanese official site tweet an advertisement message using your Twitter account. It only took a minute if you already have Twitter and you can even delete the tweet afterward.