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Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance – the love letter vision

Wednesday, 7 November 2012 08:27 GMT By Brenna Hillier

In the weeks since Brenna Hillier last looked at Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, it’s turned into a very different game – and one she’s even more excited to play.

I really liked Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance when I played it in September. I was a bit behind the times; the demo Konami let me distribute greasy fingerprints all over had been to E3 and gamescom before turning up in the local PR office.

This trailer debuted at the Tokyo Game
Show and introduced the awesome
robot chainsaw tail dogs.

In the wake of Tokyo Game Show, a new build started doing the rounds, and not before time. We’re only a few months from Revengeance’s February 2013 release, and a playable demo is even now in some lucky consumers’ hands – shipped with the Zone of the Enders HD Collection – so we really needed to see something more than a proof-of-concept. The last build was certainly fun, but the new version, which I got cosy with last week, makes the old one look like an entertaining tech demo as opposed to a product you might fork over dollars for.

So what’s changed? Plenty. Rather than have Raiden turn up in a simulated environment filled with watermelons and jokey little asides, the new preview kicks off with an optional tutorial in traditional Metal Gear VR space. Once through this, we’re dropped – quite literally – onto a familiar beach, but this time, armed with some knowledge of why we’re there, that we’re perhaps a quarter of the way into the game, and with nary a fruit in sight.

Raiden, it seems, was acting as bodyguard for the president of an African nation when the politician was kidnapped by a terrorist organisation or PMC of some kind. In the resulting battle, the fey blond lost an eye, half his face, and most of his bishonen good looks (although this didn’t stop Pat, a Metal Gear beginner, from believing Raiden was a woman; it’s those whippet-like muscles and high-heeled ninja claws I guess) but gained a thirst for – you guess it – revengeance.

I can’t say I see it myself; he’s far less
androgynous than his round-hipped
MGS2 appearance.

After a demo-exlcusive text intro, the plot was delivered in typical Metal Gear style, via cutscene and Codec (although notably, Raiden communicates via fancy AR display rather than a simple in-ear radio) but in spite of the lengthy exposition it felt ever-so-slightly different to Hideo Kojima’s epics. Platinum Games’ spin-off delineation allows the project to take a slightly sillier feel, but I mean that in the most loving way – Metal Gear has always been pretty silly, but now it’s aware of it, and it wants you to play along rather than make excuses. Raiden interrupts an ominously weighty discussion of the morality of war by labelling his enemies baddies and announcing that he intends to tear them up, echoing the player’s own feelings. Towards the end of the demo, he holds a conversation with a robot dog with a chainsaw on its tail about the ethics of AI and free will, but it takes less than three minutes. Kojima’s probably contemplating suicide just so he can spin in his grave.

Finally getting a glimpse of the plot which underpins the action and finding it both comfortably familiar and self-consciously light-hearted is a relief, as it puts some of my Metal Gear nerd concerns to rest, but it’s finding significant changes to the gameplay which really got me salivating.

In the earlier build of Revengeance, Blade Time was a valuable resource. It ran out quickly, but once you engaged it, Raiden became unstoppable, slicing apart Geckos with laughable ease; it wasn’t a “push to win” button, but it was close. In the intervening months, Platinum has revised the system, making it easier to earn and longer-lasting, but significantly less powerful. You really need to aim your strikes to feel the benefit, and enemies no longer sit around patiently waiting for you to slice them to ribbons – even grunts flip out of the way and lob grenades at you if you hesitate.

Trailers suggest one of these will
eventually buddy up with Raiden and I am
pretty sure it will be 100% radtastic.

Outside of Blade Time, Platinum has cracked down on the button mashing I guiltily indulged in last time. Even on easy I had my arse handed to me a few times, but I never felt like it was anything but my fault; the limited stealth mechanics mean you’re in control of how and when Raiden enters combat, and leaping right into the low ground between two Geckos, a sniper, and two blokes with rocket launchers wasn’t exactly my most strategic moment. Parrying remains one of the best tactics when facing overwhelming foes, and although the timing is tricky at first, nailing it is satisfying without being overpowered. In crowds, it’s all on you; keep moving and spread your attention, watch for telegraphs and hammer every opening or Raiden will be bemoaning his flat batteries in no time.

Bearing in mind that all this takes place at high speed and you may begin to understand why the control pad had to be pried from my cramping, claw-like hands. It’s quite hard, friends, is what I’m saying; this is no soft-headed action effort with the Metal Gear brand lazily attached. This is Bayonetta stripped of the worrying sexuality and rampant camp; it’s Vanquish sans gunplay plus the charm of an iconic universe. It’s a love letter to Kojima’s vision written not in crayon but with the laser-cut precision of a developer widely acknowledged as being at the top of its game.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is due on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 in February 2013.

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36 Comments

  1. Patrick Garratt

    I’m seriously not into Metal Gear at all, but I really enjoyed what I saw of this at EG Expo. Seemed like a very solid action game.

    #1 2 years ago
  2. YoungZer0

    I don’t think it’s fair to say the MGS Series has less worrying sexuality. At least Bayonetta doesn’t take itself serious.

    Anyway, judging by the demo footage i saw on Youtube (Don’t want to buy a new/old game just for a demo) the game looks extremely fun and i definitely enjoy that the cutscenes have a decent length, the writing is (compared to Kojimas work) not so bad after all. Voiceacting seems to be fine too. While the russian guy doesn’t even know how to pronounce one word, the german guy definitely knew what he was doing, that’s exceptional work here.

    The only problem (and i’m aware that those are small) is that a few of the models just look wrong, proportionally. The black guy for example, his arms are way too big. His Forearm is about the same size as the rest of his arm. Why exactly is he this buffed up anyway?

    Then you have Raiden himself, his silhouette just looks wrong. I think in games like these, the silhouette is the most important aspect of the model. Higher and lower parts of the legs look to be of the same width. I know he has some jumpy things attached on the lower part, but it still looks bad. They should’ve been smaller. Now he looks like some kid has drawn him.

    And then there is the aesthetic. I’m mostly talking about the colors here. MGS always had a beautiful mix of vibrant colors. In 1 and 2 it was blue, in 3 brown and green and in 4 blue and brown. It’s completely missing here. The colors are washed out in the environment, military fps style. But effects are very colorful. Frankly it just looks ugly.

    They should’ve looked at the new DmC for inspiration. That game just oozes of beautiful colors.

    Here’s the demo footage for those who don’t want to spend money on it:

    http://youtu.be/JDWcPi0agsI

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Dave Cook

    Played this a few times now. If you like your hack n slash titles incredibly difficult, very fast and riddled with mad combos then you will like this. It’s Bayonetta on turbo mode.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. Ireland Michael

    Platinum. <3

    #4 2 years ago
  5. GwynbleiddiuM

    @1 Except MGRising is not a MGS game, and the story is not canon either.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Ireland Michael

    @5 Of course it’s not an MGS game. It’s MGR.

    And who honestly gives a crap if the story is canon or not (which is still up in the air anyway), as long as the gameplay is enjoyable?

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Deacon

    Great piece Brenna! I’m so very excited to get my hands on this.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. Greek God

    cant wait to buy it
    Platinum Games :D

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Clupula

    It is canon. This is the only site I’ve seen where anyone says that. It’s so odd. The story very much takes place after MGS4. Kojima himself has said it’s canon.

    And may I remind people who have a problem with this of breakdancing Raiden versus the Gekkos?

    Anyway, I don’t see what was so worrying about Bayonetta’s sexuality, myself. People need to stop being so repressed. It was parody, for crissakes.

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Dave Cook

    @9 nah it’s not, although it does put its own spin on canon plot points we know – such as Raiden’s past as a child soldier. It’s all non-canon in the end though.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Clupula

    Can you show me where Kojima says it isn’t? Because if you can prove to me 100% that it isn’t canon, you just saved me $60.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Dave Cook

    “We’ve only said that the period setting is several years after MGS4. Metal Gear Rising is not part of the Metal Gear Solid series. At present, we can’t say more than this. – Kojima”

    http://www.ign.com/boards/threads/metal-gear-rising-revengeance-non-canon-confirmed.207432551/

    But why not play it if it’s not canon? It’s seriously good. You’d be missing out.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Clupula

    That quote doesn’t mean it’s non-canon. It means that it’s not part of Solid anymore. Metal Gear Solid ends with MGS4. The overall Metal Gear canon, though, is more than MGS. It also includes the two MSX Metal Gear games and this, from everything else I’ve read.

    And I wouldn’t play some stupid “what-if” title because part of the fun of the series has always been the storyline. I’m wasting my time if the game doesn’t further that.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. Clupula

    In fact, if it’s not canon, why even bother setting it after MGS4? If it’s just a simple what-if story, why not have Raiden fighting The Boss and Liquid Snake why they’re at it? Everything I’ve read says that the Solid story ends with MGS4 and Rising is the start of a new chapter in the canon. That’s why Platinum wanted it to take place after 4, so they wouldn’t be stuck in events that have to happen, rather it gives them the opportunity to help shape the future canon instead.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Ireland Michael

    @12 He also said a few weeks later than its canonical relevance will depend entirely on how well the game does.

    Its a moot point anyway. All that matters is the quality of the gameplay.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. Dave Cook

    @15 +1

    #16 2 years ago
  17. Clupula

    @15 – well, that I can get behind. I can understand if the game sells like crap pretending it never happened.

    Alright, then it’s still a day-one buy.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. Clupula

    But in the Metal Gear games, it’s undeniable that storyline matters. I’d say about a good 25% of the experience is the storyline and how it effects the canon. MGS3 is my favorite game of all time. If it had the same story as MGS2, I don’t think I’d like it anywhere near as much. The battle with The Boss at the end of the game feels more urgent because of the relationship between Snake and her. The emotional resonance of it enhances the gameplay. The lack of which is why I didn’t care about the battle with Solidus in MGS2. The gameplay mechanics of that battle were interesting, but I felt nothing during it, so it just felt like, “Okay, I guess this is the last boss. Let me beat it and see the ending,” instead of actually caring about the outcome.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. GwynbleiddiuM

    @Clupula It’s non-canon, it’s as Canon as Metal Gear: Snake’s Revenge, Metal Gear Acid series and that MGS on Gameboy. When Kojima says it’s not part of the MGS series, he means that it’s not canon, that means the story and plot is not of his creation and vision for the series. The story that isn’t of Kojima’s writing is not canon, therefore, MGR is not canon, Kojima didn’t create it and he didn’t write the story. It’s a spin off, plain and simple.

    As far as the game being good, being canon or not has nothing to do with the fact that I dislike it. I keep remembering the footage Kojima demonstrated on Microsoft’s E3 conf, I can’t erase that image off my memory it was so damn great, they couldn’t come up with a good enough gameplay so they ditched it entirely and that’s why I despise MGR and I’m not gonna bother myself with it. Besides, Hack n Slash action games aren’t really my favorite, I play them if I come across them which is a rare occasion. Liked the Onimusha games on PS2 a lot, mainly because I liked Takeshi Kaneshiro a lot and those games were cool.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Ireland Michael

    @20 Fanboys. Gotta love ‘em.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. ManuOtaku

    Loving all their games, including their clover time, i cannot wait for this game, i dont mind if it is cannon or not cannon in the MG saga, just knowing is a platinum game, i cannot really wait, this developer has yet not let me down with a regular-bad game, therefore i cannot really wait to play this game, i see it as another platinum games, instead of a metal gear one, and that fact alone is the only one i need to know.

    #21 2 years ago
  22. Custard Ganet

    I also enjoy the stories to the MGS games,yes they have a lot of silliness and cheeseiness to them but that just adds to my enjoyment of them,not to bothered if this is canon or not,I have yet to play a Platinum games title that had any kind of interesting story,but they are pros at silliness and judging by the demo it will have that in spades too,which is a plus for me.Looks to be quite a challenge too from the playthroughs of the demo i have seen.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. YoungZer0

    Does it even matter if it’s canon or not? It’s not like anything could ruin the MGS Series further.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. absolutezero

    Whats more Portable Ops has more or less been completely written out of the over-arching story and in a series which contains Metal Gear Solid 2 story continuity is of very little importance.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. Dragon246

    @24
    I heard the rumors about about portable ops but nothing has been confirmed.

    #25 2 years ago
  26. absolutezero

    I don’t think it ever will be confirmed but the evidence more or less speaks for itself, theres a total of about one mention of the events of Portable Ops in Peace Walker and then its never spoken of ever again.

    Metal Gear is one of the most backwards gazing series in gaming so to pay no attention to a major entry says everything.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. Dragon246

    Roy Campbell met big boss in that game. I would hate it to be non-canonical. It had one of the best story in the entire MGS franchise.

    #27 2 years ago
  28. Clupula

    @24 – The Portable Ops thing still has no actual proof to it. Even one mention of it in Peace Walker means it still counts. Unfortunately, I’ve never played it so I don’t know what it added to the series besides the meeting with Roy Campbell. I know it was certainly listed in the Database as part of the canon.

    @19 – Kojima said it was not part of the SOLID series, not Metal Gear, in general. And then, as was pointed out a few weeks later, he said that it depended on the response to the game how canon it is.

    #28 2 years ago
  29. GwynbleiddiuM

    @28 It has nothing to do with the SOLID part, METAL GEAR SOLID is the title of the franchise and the canon titles to the plot of this franchise are MG, MG2, MGS, MGS2, MGS3, MGS4 and MGS:PW, With Portable Ops not being confirmed by the man himself.

    And how it will be received and endorsed by gamers will not change the fact that the plot is still non-canon to MGS games, it only means that there can be more MGRs in the future, as a product that will have its own life.

    @20 Not sure if anything I said has anything to do with being a fanboy, I said gameplay-wise I don’t like the new direction as opposed to the prototype footage they shown. It’s a matter of personal preference.

    #29 2 years ago
  30. polygem

    this game looks so damn sexy

    #30 2 years ago
  31. YoungZer0

    @30: Good for you, Mr. President.

    #31 2 years ago
  32. polygem

    @32: made my day

    :D

    #32 2 years ago
  33. Brenna Hillier

    @32 @30 well, that’s one spammer to escape my smacking today; I can’t ruin this thread.

    #33 2 years ago
  34. polygem

    indeed!

    #34 2 years ago
  35. Clupula

    @19 – wait a minute…you called this a spin-off, but said it’s not canon…do you know the definition of canon?

    Anything that is part of the overall story is canon. A spin-off would be canon, as well. A reboot would be non-canon because it would negate everything that happened before. A “what-if” story, which shows an alternate version of a game’s events would also not be canon.

    To use a television example, Caprica is a spin-off of Battlestar Galactica, but they are both considered canon to one story.

    I think I see where your mistake is. And as far as the story goes, while Platinum are writing it, I’ve also read that Kojima has people whose job it is to make sure they don’t go too crazy with it and keep it within the acceptable parameters of what can and can’t happen in the Metal Gear world. That certainly sounds like they’re taking quite a lot more care towards it than whoever it was that Konami got to do Snake’s Revenge.

    @23 – what’s exactly ruined it, in your eyes? The only game that I think went off the rails was MGS2, which had a storyline so bad I actually had to be convinced by several friends that MGS3 was worth picking up. I don’t have a problem with the naonmachines in MGS4 and I rather liked Peace Walker’s story.

    #35 2 years ago
  36. YoungZer0

    @36: Everything.

    The whole point of MGS4 is apologizing for MGS2. Everything that made the people go ‘Woah, wtf, this doesn’t make sense.’ Hideo explained all that with … NANOMACHINES/LAZY PLOTDEVICE in MGS4!

    Ironically, while trying to fix what he did in MGS2, he fucked up more in MGS4.

    Why is Big Boss still alive, really WHY?! Does he need to? No. He doesn’t need to be there. At all. Why the fuck does Big Mama (ROFL!) still run around with such a huge cleavage, Madonna much?

    Ocelot hypnotized himself to believe that he’s actually Liquid, really?

    The Beauty and the Beast are all people suffering greatly from PTSD and that’s a good reason to hire them … why exactly? And after you defeat them they cuddle you and somehow that hurts you?

    It seems Hideo has no balls to pull anything off that might offend the fans.

    Why didn’t Raiden just die after protecting Snake from Outer Haven? That would’ve been perfect. It would’ve been beautiful.

    Why are they acting like Naomi was some kind of victim in the whole game? Why did Otacon cry for her death? That woman made out with the killer of his sister. Why couldn’t she die faster?

    And Snake didn’t die at the end although he crawled through a microwave? He should have been burned to a crisp. Hideo should have shown Snake crawling through the Microwave and at the end of it would be a single button to destroy the AI and that would be it. No fight against Ocelot, nothing, just an old man dead. And that would’ve been beautiful.

    Meryl should have died too, but instead we get an awkward marriage at the end. And let’s not even talk about Raidens family reunion.

    Hideo invests a lot of time to build drama only to say at the end “Everything’s fine.”

    Where did his courage go? Remember Emma’s death?

    And Peace Walker? Really? “I programmed an AI to be like the Boss so i could get some answers from it.”

    And then you have some kind of utter nonsense with fucking butterflies at the end.

    #36 2 years ago

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