Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Preview for PlayStation 3 (PS3)

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Preview for PlayStation 3 (PS3)

Let’s Just Pretend Revengeance Is A Real Word

Hideo Kojima’s non-Metal Gear project, Zone of the Enders, has just come out in a shiny new HD collection. Fans who scrambled out to their nearest retailer to pick up the disc will be pleased to know that they’re also able to get their hands on an early playable demo of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, which is essentially Platinum Games’ take on the Metal Gear franchise. In case you don’t care about the ZOE franchise and aren’t willing to part with $40 for a Revengeance demo, we here at Cheat Code Central took it for a spin for you. You’re welcome.

First of all, it must be noted that this is absolutely not a Metal Gear Solid title. If you expect any sort of stealth gameplay, you’ll be better off waiting for the upcoming Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes, which returns longtime fans to the glory days of Big Boss.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Screenshot

Revengeance, though, tells a story that takes place five years after Metal Gear Solid 4. You’ll take command of Raiden, who’s since become “more machine than man” (if I can quote the illustrious Obi Wan Kenobi) and has thus ditched those stealth tactics that Solid Snake tends to prefer.

This quickly begins to feel weird.

Now, let me explain what I mean by that. Revengeance’s gameplay mechanics have nothing to do with any of the Solid titles. Instead of sneaking around, using silenced weapons, breaking necks, distracting guards with live snakes and nudie mags, etc., Raiden viciously slices up everything in his path. This is fine, because, as I already pointed out, this is a Platinum-developed action title rather than a Solid title. But the weirdness comes in when you realize that everything has this Metal Gear Solid skin on it.

You see, Revengeance looks like Metal Gear Solid 4. Platinum completely nailed the aesthetic. The problem is that this was an aesthetic completely built around stealth mechanics—especially when it comes to the HUD. You’ve got the Soliton Radar (think: MGS 1 and 2 rather than 3 and 4), which is weird because you don’t really need it. It’s nice, I suppose, but there’s not really a point to having it there when you’re not studying guard movements and avoiding vision cones.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Screenshot

Additionally, when guards spot you, you’ll see the iconic exclamation mark and hear the alert sound as the Enemy Alert Mode countdown starts. For those of us who have been playing Metal Gear games for the past fourteen years, this triggers the part of our brains that makes us want to find a place to hide, not the part of our brains that makes us want to become insanely violent.

Yet there are absolutely no stealth tools here—at least, I certainly didn’t find any in the demo. You can’t press up against walls to look around corners, you can’t tap walls to distract guards, and you can’t hide inside cardboard boxes. You just run in and slice things up. It’s weird, because it feels completely counterintuitive to Metal Gear veterans, especially when everything about the HUD seems to be encouraging you to take a sneaky approach.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Screenshot

Then again, that’s where the coolest innovation of Revengeance comes in. Raiden carries his trademark katana, which is sharp enough to cut through steel and stone. Players are able to slice in any direction, and most objects in the environment can be chopped to bits. There are some strategic uses for this, such as chopping down pillars to rain stonework down on your enemies or hacking open boxes to steal the goodies inside. In fact, you can chop entire cars into several pieces, which serves no real purpose in the demo except to make you feel incredibly badass. You’ll hit the left bumper (L1 on the PS3), then use the left stick to rotate the angle of Raiden’s blade while the game slows down to allow you to hack multiple times in rapid succession. There is even a counter that will tell you how many pieces you’ve chopped the offending object into, which is a fun little touch.

When human/cyborg enemies come into the mix, this begins to get pretty sadistic. Yes, you can chop off legs and watch your enemies drag their torsos around. However, this won’t prevent them from attacking; standing too close to a de-legged guard is a good way to have your shins violently hacked at.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Screenshot

The demo concludes with a boss fight against a doglike cyborg thing that claims to possess a superior intellect to Raiden even though it tends to call out its attacks before it does them. Which totally doesn’t seem like something a supergenius A.I. would do. Still, this thing is definitely not a pushover, and it will summon guards at one point in the fight, then later on bring in a Gekko.

Now, the Metal Gear franchise is known for bringing us some of the best boss fights in gaming history, and with that in mind, this cyborg dog thing feels a bit lackluster. It certainly doesn’t hold a candle to Psycho Mantis or The End. The fight is based mostly off button mashing and quick reflexes, which fits Platinum’s gameplay style, but doesn’t really jive with the whole Metal Gear vibe. Hopefully the boss battles become more creative and interesting as the game goes on, with some innovative ways to bring baddies down cheaply and easily (like sniping The End while he’s in the wheelchair or using your fake death pill on The Fear).

Ultimately, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance provides a completely reimagined Metal Gear experience with just enough old school touches to confuse longtime fans. That’s not to say it’s terrible—I’m quite looking forward to the full release—it’s just hard to get used to. And there’s a good chance a lot of fans are going to feel a bit betrayed by that. I guess we’ll find out if diehard Snake fans will be able to stomach it when it launches in February of next year.

Game Features:

  • Rising’s stealth elements will emphasize Raiden’s considerable speed and agility through what Matsuyama describes as “hunting stealth.”
  • Gameplay will focus on two key elements: swordfighting, and a style of stealth that is more fast-paced and action-oriented.
  • “Cutting” entails sophisticated swordplay that lets players engage in third person melee combat, as well as precisely slash enemies and objects “at will” along a geometrical plane using a “free slicing” mode.

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