Eurogamer Expo 2012 has closed its doors for the year, boasting over 50,000 attendees, a brand new home console showing and almost every major upcoming release being playable. Over the next 2 weeks expect to see Previews and coverage of the latest and greatest titles from the Parable team!
As many of you will know, there was a massive fan outcry when Metal Gear Rising was properly unveiled. A Raiden more over the top than we’ve ever seen, a bombastic combat system and aesthetic that puts any of the other entries in the Metal Gear Solid series to shame and a whole slew of possible story continuity issues. Of course, the other title starring the least favourite Jack in Kojima’s critically acclaimed IP, Metal Gear Solid 2, is considered the black sheep and I was expecting Rising to follow suit with a rather average game. I was more than wrong. Platinum Games have really pulled out all the stops and put together a title that may well contend for my Game of the Year 2013.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was originally intended as a Kinect title, with the key gimmick being the ability to cut anything. Great. It sounds like the kind of idea that would raise a lot more problems than any it manages to solve, but since the announcement that it was to be a standard title and would be released on PS3 and Xbox 360 it seemed to be a title that would be left in creative limbo, unsure of what it wanted to be or achieve. I got the chance to play through the demo at Eurogamer Expo on Playstation 3 and left with all of my fears completely vanished within a matter of minutes.
As soon as we drop into the action after a cutscene that is perfectly inkeeping with what we come to expect from a Metal Gear Solid title (that is extremely long dialogues and overly intricate scenarios), we’re on a beach with an all too linear route ahead of us. I take a moment to test out the controls, having neglected to go through the optional tutorial. Raiden is surprisingly heavy to move, with a slow swagger rather than the agility expected from a “ninja”, but a quick flick of the shoulder buttons allows him to traverse quickly and sneak. Moving on from the 30 second session of learning the basic controls, I advance up a rickety staircase (that is destructable, as a note) and encounter the first taste of combat in Platinum Games’ take on Raiden.
While at its base, Rising plays almost identically to a good percentage of current action titles, especially reminiscent of Bayonetta (understandably considering they’re both developed by the same studio), the real core of the gameplay comes in with the blade control that is available. When sufficient charge is obtained through either combat or leeching it from defeated enemies, you can activate what is essentially slow-mo, which will zoom you into Raiden’s third person view and allow you to direct your slashes with the analogue stick. This allows you the precision needed to slice off arms, legs or event decimate weapons and leave your opposition unarmed. The possibilities for what you can do with this mechanic alone on standard grunts is absolutely massive and it feels incredibly satisfying to pull off on a group. Which you will do, a lot.
After a few more smaller skirmishes with enemies, we get the opportunity to battle against the first of many mechs that make an appearance in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance: the Geckos that were incredibly prevalent during the first half of Guns of the Patriots. They pack a fierce punch with quick melee attacks and move quicker than one would expect, but it’s fairly easy to cut them down to size, literally. I found that using precision slicing made the Gecko fight all too easy, with it being unable to land more than a single blow on me before I swiftly dealt retribution in the shape of the removal of its legs, rendering the hulking contraption useless.
Following this first major foray into the combat system, which is fluid, customisable and overall fun and rewarding above almost any other action title this gen, the game threw you through a very short platforming section. It worked well enough, but I really hope that Platinum stray away from having these sections take any kind of focus in the full title, instead putting more of an emphasis on the stealth gameplay that came right after it.
While the point to point stealth was fairly linear, it provided a few different options such as going across a bridge or down the bottom and utilising the environment in different ways to avoid fighting the enemies patrolling the area. I found it fairly easy to avoid detection, the enemies being much less alert than I would have originally expected but obviously stealth isn’t one of the integral parts of this title, because combat is the main selling point. It works well enough but it isn’t something that could carry the title on its own, but I had a good amount of fun toying around with it in shorter bursts.
The final section of the playable demo of Rising pits you against a mechanical leopard in a boss fight that impressed me above all else in the showing. In this battle it becomes imperative to utilise parries, via a combination of the square button and relevant directional key to the enemy. It’s fairly difficult to successfully pull off consistently, requiring excellent timing and reflexes, but doing so give you a really sleek animation of fending off your attacker as well as stunning them for a short while. The battle was tougher and took longer than one would expect from a demo boss, but it really showed the calibre of title that Platinum Games have managed to present.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance looks sleek and sexy and plays exactly as it looks. It’s smooth, beautiful and packs a surprising amount of depth into a title that takes a gargantuan franchise in a really interesting direction. I’m really excited to see if Platinum Games can make this title have the staying power to keep it as entertaining throughout the full title, and I can’t wait to slice up some more robots. Bring on Raiden.
We playtested Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance on the Playstation 3.
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