"Rising and Slashing"
I've been waiting a long time for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. It stars the maligned hero of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Raiden. I'm probably one of the few people who thought Sons of Liberty was an incredibly unique experience, an experiment questioning the ramifications of a digitized world through the gameplay. It was almost like a philosophical thesis playing itself out in the battles between Raiden, Arsenal Gear, and Raiden himself again. Back then, a lot of players bought Sons of Liberty to play as Solid Snake and were disappointed by the unexpected switch to Raiden. This time around, Raiden is transparently the hero, especially as Solid Snake's story was so neatly wrapped up in MGS4: Guns of the Patriots. Revengeance is an amazing experience, even without Old Snake at the helm.
Remember those visceral combat scenes between Vamp and Raiden in Metal Gear Solid 4? Now, you get to experience them directly. In the first chapter alone, you wrestle with groups of Gekkos, fight a Metal Gear Ray, sprint on top of aerial missiles, race down a building while missiles come your way, then slash the Ray in half. That's followed by a train sequence in which Raiden gets his arm hacked off, "Again", as he himself laments, he fails to save the prime minister he's been hired to protect, barely getting away with his life. He is reborn to take out his foes, and like the production history of the game, he always comes back.
Created in a collaborative effort between Platinum Game and Kojima Productions, MGR: Revengeance reportedly had a troubled development cycle. Fortunately, none of it shows in the final product, as the game is incredibly well polished. The zandatsu sequences, in which Raiden slices his foes into pieces, is an amazing mechanic and a technological marvel; limbs get lopped off, foes get cut in half, and helicopters are split into a hundred slices. I've worked in games before, but I have never seen this kind of mechanic in a game and I kept on wondering how they achieved it. The character models are stylistically cybernetic, and the animations are flashy, even if somewhat over-the-top. Voice acting, as usual, works well, and the music is a nice techno blend that adapts to the environment. Revengeance is a smoothly art directed game.
For those who've wondered how stealth will be incorporated, I'll be upfront in saying I think you're looking at the wrong game. There are elements of stealth, particularly with alternative routes and the iconic cardboard box. But not only does that deprive you of precious BP, which you can use to upgrade and customize Raiden's various gear, it defeats the purpose of Revengeance, which is to wage bladed armageddon on your foes. This is not Metal Gear Solid, nor does it intend to be, which helps the game establish its own bloody identity.
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He has been working in film and games for over a decade. On his off time, he likes to travel the world. His short story collection, Watering Heaven, was just published by Signal 8 Press.
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