I’m gonna cut you up!
Every loyal Metal Gear fan has the right to be cautious about Rising. “Revengeance” still trips me up, and spin-offs are always dangerous territory for such a highly regarded mainstay of the industry. However, they should also be excited, and after twenty delightful minutes of explosive slicing, I’m sold on the over the top idea.
This isn’t your typical Metal Gear game. There’s no Solid Snake. There’s very little sneaking around. But there’s plenty of badass killing. Playing as cyborg-ninja Raiden, MGR: Revengeance is strictly a sword-based action game with a strong emphasis on its revolutionary slicing mechanics.
The intriguing Blade Mode was the focus of our time with Metal Gear Rising. By holding down the left bumper to enter a bullet time of sorts, the right analogue stick can be used to control the direction of Raiden’s vicious strikes. Opponents can be finished in one fell swoop, chopped into hundreds of tiny pieces, or have a single layer of metal shaved of their mechanical arms.
Opening in a well-populated swordsman’s playground, we could slice and dice anything in Raiden’s path, from target enemies, to a car, to watermelons and even a well entrenched bridge that came crumbling to the ground after a few swift strikes. The fun is in targeting specific areas of your cyborg counterpart and watching Raiden’s blade tread perfectly along its designated path. Alternatively, waggling the control stick every-which-way to your thumb’s limits will be just as effective; albeit without the same satisfaction.
The fun is in targeting specific areas of your cyborg counterpart and watching Raiden’s blade tread perfectly along its designated path.
The exact control over the sword’s movement is akin to that promised by the Wii’s motion controls prior to launch, and more recently those of MotionPlus that never delivered on the hyped potential; only it’s all done with an analogue stick. The precision that motion control failed to deliver to the fencing genre is being brought to life by a standard controller; that will likely please the Metal Gear faithful.
As exhilarating as Blade Mode is, Raiden would be far too overpowered if he had access to a sword that can casually pass through menacing cyborgs. Access to the specialised skill is restricted by the Blade Meter, which is filled by carrying out more conventional attacks, like those of Bayonetta. Attacks are fast and relatively effortless, with a dash of style added by ripping out an unsuspecting spine when the opportunity presents itself. That comparison is no coincidence. With Kojima Productions taking a backseat, Platinum Games has stepped up to helm the ambitious project that clearly doesn’t take itself too seriously.
Over the course of the short preview, I cunningly defeated two ludicrous bosses and ran into an even more outrageous third that had me clutching at the controller rearing to go. These aren’t humans and it’s not a realistic recreation of any facet of modern life. Revengeance knows that, and playfully executes the extreme, entertaining situations aware that it’s all meant to be a cheeky thrill.
While I adopted a more more direct approach, each boss could also be countered by using the environment to Raiden’s advantage. Just as I sliced up the family wagon in the opening minute, a ferris wheel could be dislodged from its foundations and rolled onto one, while the experience was culminated by Raiden leaping above a viciously attacking helicopter and slicing its rotors into shards of scrap metal.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance isn’t like any Metal Gear game I’ve played before, but then again, it’s hard to compare it to anything in my illustrious gaming history. With the foundations of Bayonetta, an exhilarating take on sword control, and the benefit of not taking itself too seriously, Revengeance is shaping up to be another must play title in the busiest February on-record.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance will be released in Australia and New Zealand on February 21, 2013, for PS3 and Xbox 360.
By Ben Salter