For those not already acquainted with the Metal Gear Saga, the series is set in a dystopian future where warfare is privatised. Up until the events of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, the conflicts between Private Military Companies (PMCs) were orchestrated by a secret society named the Patriots. Since the collapse of the Patriots, rogue PMCs equipped with cyborg technology have splintered off and fallen into disruptive power struggles. Raiden (who fans of the series will remember from previous games in the Metal Gear universe), an advanced cyborg member of a peace keeping PMC is forced to face his own past whilst trying to prevent the world from collapsing into chaos. In the demo, Raiden heads to the Georgian town of Abkhazia to neutralise terrorists who have taken over the region.
Raiden’s primary weapon is a rather handy katana, with two main attack buttons, and an intriguing new “Blade Mode”. In this mode the player can precisely control the angle at which Raiden swings his blade using the right analogue stick. The tutorial demonstrates how you can use this feature to attack hostage takers without injuring the hostage. Unfortunately, this feature is not particularly useful in the rest of the demo. It will be interesting to hopefully see it used to its full potential when the game is released.
Early on in the demo it is apparent how vital stealth kills and strategy are, as when you are surrounded by a large number of enemies it’s very easy to lose yourself in a button bashing frenzy! The combat controls have a very steep learning curve – despite going through the tutorial (which only covers “Blade Mode”) nothing is really explained. You are thrown in at the deep end with only an on-screen tip for a parry technique that appears to be the primary combat mechanic, at least during the demo. It took some working out to learn how to use this effectively: essentially, you must respond to visual clues – orange glows and red cross-hairs – to know when to time your parry. Hopefully, the full game includes better teaching mechanics than just frustrating trial and error.
The demo shows that the development team have managed to accurately maintain the whole Metal Gear feel whilst bringing a new twist to the series. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has a fast-paced, action-heavy slant and all-new combat mechanics, but still finds room for such nostalgic gems as the iconic ‘spotted’ noise we all know and love from previous games. That said, I can’t see Raiden shuffling along under any cardboard boxes!
Overall this seems like a great spin-off of the traditional series and it’s exciting to see where Platinum Games and Konami is going to be heading.