The Metal Gear Rising series has never been well known for its accurate portrayal of physics and scientific advances. Hell if anything, it's known for how outrageously it showcases human strength and knowledge, often over-exasperating just what we're capable as an intelligent race. However, it has never, ever, gone as far as the most recent trailer for Metal Gear Solid: Rising, or Metal Gear Rising, or Revengeance (is that even a word?), or whatever it's called. The most recent trailer was outrageously awesome, but for all the wrong reasons.
The first thing I couldn't help but notice is how aggressively Konami and Kojima Productions are trying to make Raiden -- that cybernetically-enhanced character from Metal Gear Solid 4 -- look cool. Next to the sly and sleek series protagonist, Solid Snake, that's a hell of a lot to live up to. In Metal Gear Solid 2 he was introduced as some sort of Snake protege, although his douchebag tendencies effectively saw him thrown out with the trash by the series' passionate support base.
I'm not quite sure why -- or if -- Raiden even deserves his own game. Do we care enough about this character? Does he have enough weight in the series to dictate his own game? Clearly he does, although Hideo Kojima was probably questioning the relevance himself in choosing to work on Peace Walker and not the previously-canned but now resurrected cyber-ninja action game in Rising (who'd have thought "cyber-ninja action game" would have relevance to the Metal Gear series?).
I wonder if the idea here is to branch "Metal Gear Rising" into a separate franchise, although considering how far removed this game looks from previous Metal Gear games, I can't help but feel somewhat cautious about what such a title can do for the series brand. The Metal Gear Acid series for PSP was essentially a card-combat game, sure, but it still had a pretty strong focus on stealth and hand-to-hand combat. It just played more like that of an RPG.
The game on its own accord looks awesome, but it looks pretty far removed from the slow, stealth-driven action we saw in the game's original trailer. Remember the lurking in the shadows before the quick burst and hack-and-slash gameplay? It seemed especially Metal Gear-esque. Now we have Bayonetta meets Vanquish meets Devil May Cry (and throw in every other third-person, Japanese-developer action game with a ridiculous, incoherent cyber-tech narrative), which isn't surprising considering Bayonetta developer Platinum Games is now at the helm.
What perplexes me the most about the trailer is how much it actually dilutes the worth of Solid Snake. Why the hell was he risking so much when such advanced technology was available to characters like Raiden? Why the hell are Snake's epic boss fights compounded by Raiden's seemingly effortless ability to slice tanks in half, flip over Rays and take down entire armies? Far removed from Metal Gear, alright.
So why not branch this series off and create it around Raiden, but distance it from Metal Gear? The only reason I can think of is that the nano-machines in use in the game have the ability to suppress Raiden's personality, therefore altering his perception of the world. The trailer showcased a whole bunch of over-the-top gory action, not something we'd normally associate with Metal Gear, and 'Solid' is no less a spin-off within the franchise than 'Rising' is supposed to be.
That's where I get really confused: this game was initially set within the 'Solid' universe, before the name was dropped to become 'Rising' on its own accord, and therefore completely separate to what's offered elsewhere in Metal Gear. It's obvious that it's a spin-off, but this looks to be a spin-off going in all sorts of directions, completely and utterly removed from everything that has established the Metal Gear brand up to this point.
As much as this game might be taking from the Metal Gear universe -- characters, weapons, plot points -- I'm not sure how much it will offer the brand in maintaining that name. As gamers we're always crying for innovation and unique content, but people seem confused more than anything by this game's most recent trailer. Intrigued? Maybe, but I certainly feel that any such Metal Gear spin-off would have just as much weight and worth even without the name attached to it. Something had to have gone astray for the game to be cancelled and then renamed, so perhaps the issues being raised by gamers are the same concerns the series creator has for this intriguing, but perplexing, action game. Continuing on with the story and ditching 'Metal Gear' may be the best move for this hilariously outrageous-looking game.
By Gaetano Prestia
What did you think of the Metal Gear Rising trailer?