Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance – Preview
The Metal Gear series has never been one to shy away from weird concepts or nonsensical subtitles, and this is perhaps no more evident than with the newest entry in the series. Originally dropped by Kojima Productions and later revived by Platinum Studios, Revengeance is a Metal Gear game where sneaking about and hiding in cardboard boxes makes way for bat-shit-crazy ninja flips, bloody combat and enemies chopped more finely than an M&S layered salad. Raiden once again takes over the hero duties for this foray, but luckily for everyone he’s the “took a course in bad-ass” Raiden from the fourth game, not the “good news Colonel, we’ve managed to avoid drowning” berk from the second.
The demo covered the tutorial portion of the game, serving to accustom players to the swordplay, and provided plenty of targets to unleash your fury on. Getting used to the blade was far simpler than I expected; players hold down a shoulder button then use the left stick for the vertical plane of attack, and the right stick handles which direction they swing. On top of this, targets will have a specific weak spot or particularly vulnerable area that will yield a better reward for successfully slashing, and allows you to take out targets without hurting their hostages, or gain access to their power source for an extra boost. What feels odd and perhaps a little clumsy at first soon feels rather intuitive, and you’ll soon be slicing your foes into ridiculously tiny pieces, seeing them fall apart in slow motion, then explode. It’s massively gratifying and far too easy to get carried away, as I found myself doing when I cut a melon into so many pieces that the demo literally couldn’t handle it and retaliated by bricking itself. Clearly Raiden’s blade was as sharp as my wit, har har.
Once the demo had been reset and eyes fixed upon me so I wouldn’t replicate my melon menacing, I set off against some opponents who could actually retaliate, and it was here where tactics could come into play. While there’s absolutely nothing stopping you running in screaming at the top of your lungs (the latter not actually being an in-game feature and apparently massively distracting to all around you) as you lay waste to everyone who dares exist in front of you, there are some minor benefits to thinking ahead. Those who miss the stealth of the previous games can take part in some very rudimentary sneaking by creeping up behind your enemies and pulling their spines out, which manages to be simultaneously awesome and seemingly quiet enough to not disturb anyone fifteen feet away from you. If you suddenly find yourself longing for the days when you could go through without killing anyone, apparently the feature is still included if you choose to just chop their hands off, but this is a Metal Gear title that cares much more about looking shiny and shooting gallons of blood at your face than your poxy feelings about some in-game soldiers.
Those wanting to take down more than a few soldiers or the Gekko units of MGS4 fame will soon find themselves satisfied, as an attack helicopter comes to take Raiden down, or more specifically, the ground he’s standing on. Cue Raiden running across the bridge as it collapses around him, and some slight frustration as you attempt to get used to the changing camera angles, those pesky quick-time events and the fact that if you take your fingers off the sticks during the more cinematic moments you’ll find Raiden plummeting to his doom more often than you’d like. It was an admittedly low-point of the demo, as it it failed to provide anything you hadn’t seen or become tired of back in the 90s with Crash Bandicoot.
However, it all paid off once the showdown with the chopper arrived, and though it was a predictable boss battle, it was no less fun for it. Essentially, you have to find the rocket launchers scattered about the battlefield, stun the helicopter with a well-placed shot, then climb up the scenery and give it a bit of a slashing. Doesn’t sound that great? Well, that’s because I haven’t mentioned the end of the fight, where you run up the missiles it fires at you, backflip and slash the helicopter into so many pieces that logic takes a vacation and forces the aircraft to explode.
As my time with the demo ended, I actually found myself warming to the idea of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. I originally had been on the fence once I’d heard Platinum had taken over from Kojima Productions and had made it a lot more action orientated, but now I could easily see myself taking a chance on the game, come release. The sword-play is easy to get used to and cleverly controlled, plus it’s incredibly satisfying to create absolute carnage and make playthings of your opponents. It’s empowerment gameplay at its most extreme, and throw in the fact that each section of the game ranks you on your skill afterwards and you have a title that’ll encourage you to keep coming back for more. Granted, Revengeance is a total oddity, and one that’s more than likely to chase away some long-term fans of the series who wanted something with a little more in common with previous Metal Gears, but those who give it a chance could potentially find one of the most ballistic, insane and awesome action games in recent memory.
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