All that we have seen and played of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance thus far suggests that credit must be given to Kojima Productions for showing so much faith in Platinum Games‘ ability to deliver an entertaining Metal Gear spin-off. That’s exactly how everyone should take this game, as a spin-off. Although Platinum’s work may not appeal to every living Metal Gear Solid fan, players who love action games should definitely check out Revengeance.
The Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance demo presented at E3 2012 was not a part of the core game, but a VR training mission tutorial designed to help players understand the mechanics of the sword-dicing rage fest known as “ZanDatsu.” The controls are fairly simple, but for MGS fans more accustomed to stealth than action, the new controls could take a little time to master. Instead of button smashing, we are given joystick flicking.
To slow down the action and hack apart an opponent using the high frequency katana blade, the controller’s left bumper must be held down. Using the joystick to position the camera, the right joystick is used to aim the angle at which you’d like to slice. Once an angle has been chosen, all that is needed is a little flick of the right joystick to complete a cut. Using the right stick to re-angle your sword’s path of destruction, multiple cuts can be performed in a matter of seconds, obliterating opponents and objects alike. This action reduces Raiden’s power bar, but he can refuel by defeating enemies or finding energy within each level.
Speaking as an avid MGS fan, this new type of gameplay did take some getting used to. At first it was a bit difficult using both joysticks to line up the enemy and the slicing angle accordingly, and then flicking the right joystick to follow through. Fortunately, the routine became fun with practice. The katana adds a very fluid feeling to the game, and it’s easy to forget that other moves are available because the slicing and dicing is so fun. Raiden comes well equipped with heavy melee combo attacks that can come in handy, though some of those moves also deplete his energy meter.
All of the sleek visual elements of the Metal Gear franchise are present in Revengeance, but some fans may wish that Platinum could have improved the engine in order to push the graphics a little further than what was presented in Metal Gear Solid 4. The enemies have gotten a little smarter compared to past games though, and should provide a great challenge. Then again, you can perform ZanDatsu on multiple enemies at once, evening the odds. Incidentally, Revengeance will be the first Metal Gear game that has a jump button.
As a Metal Gear game, Revengeance would not be complete without the “exclamation point noise,” but that audio cue proves to be pointless because the whole game is based on quick brutal attacks. There is a certain amount of sneaking involved in keeping enemies situated so that Raiden can use the environment to kill them; nearly anything can be sliced and diced, except for primary buildings and landscapes natural to Earth (and it is quite fun to cut away at every little thing just to see it explode into pieces).
Players who think they can beat the system and play it stealthy won’t be able to because there is no way for Raiden to crouch or lie down, and the game’s forced camera angles can make it frustrating to complete certain attacks. Forced camera angles have always been a part of the Metal Gear series, but they don’t work quite as well in this action-focused game.
Revengeance does not defame the name Metal Gear Solid. It is a self-contained story, centered around Raiden’s past and present (as seen in the latest E3 trailer), and it hardly touches on the MGS storylines with Solid Snake. Simply stated, Revengeance is all about Raiden and his mission to seek out those who have wronged him, and players looking for a great new spin on action gaming will get what they are looking for. Even Metal Gear purists who scoff at Revengeance’s approach should give the game a chance — there are definitely elements that mark it as a Metal Gear game, despite the new, action-heavy mechanics.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is due in early 2013 for the Xbox 360 and PS3.
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