E3 2012: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Hands-On Preview – A Rose By Any Other Name...
Written Monday, June 11, 2012 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
Ever since Metal Gear Solid, the Metal Gear franchise has had a strange fixation with watermelons and cardboard boxes. The good news then, is that both are still very much in abundance in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, the stupidly named Snake-less hack and slasher from Bayonetta dev Platinum Games. Aesthetically and thematically, Revengeance is still very much a Metal Gear game, but that's where the comparisons end. Stealth is a dirty word here, and Raiden – as you'll well know - is now an insane cybernetically-enhanced ninja with a high-frequency blade that can cut through practically anything. Solid Snake he ain't.
To say that Revengeance is something of a departure for the Metal Gear franchise is a major understatement then, but with Platinum Games' at the helm, it's an enticing one that draws upon the studio's experience within the action genre. Our first hands-on with Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance picks up with the opening tutorial, which introduces you to Raiden's slicing and dicing abilities that lend your cuts a precision that never ceases to be completely gratifying.
You can tear through Revengeance bashing the face buttons to unleash combos, but pulling the L2 trigger slows things down a bit and enables you to line up slices with the right analogue stick. While you're aiming Raiden's cuts with the right analogue stick, you adjust the camera with the left stick to align Raiden's blade, and co-ordinating the two feels rather like patting your head and rubbing your stomach at first. But after a bit of practice, it soon becomes second nature.
Initially you might find yourself clumsily lopping chunks off your targets without considering your aim, but upon mastering the analogue stick butchery, you'll be thinly slicing your foes into twitching meaty morsels like an insane butcher. And therein lies Revengeance's gameplay hook: the ability to cut all and sundry into bits. Beginning with wooden cutouts, we get a feel for the slice and dice, as well as the sweet spots to cut for bonus points. The tutorial ramps up with precision cutting required to avoid carving hostages, while there's a few props thrown in including a rusty car and a gigantic watermelon to slice into ribbons.
With the tutorial in the bag, we move onto some soft, fleshy targets waiting to taste the edge of Raiden's sword. With such a precise sword-wielding mechanic, you're able to lop off limbs, decapitate and bisect enemies, hack off their legs or go wild and slice indiscriminately. But that's just the basics. You can actually dismember enemies with blinding speed and reduce them to tiny pieces without a second's thought. If you're careful with your targeting, you can shave thin slices off of bad guys or get strategic with where you cut. Cut an enemy across his waist and he'll crawl after you, so finishing the job properly can be vital. Unless you get a sadistic kick out of watching a dismembered troop claw his way across the ground.
Not all enemy troops are such a pushover though, and some will block your barrage of attacks, and even your precision slicing. You can break an enemy's guard with a heavy attack using triangle, and string together lightning fast high-kicking combos with jabs of the square button, and once you've opened up their defences, you'll find it hard to resist going straight into Raiden's up-close and personal enemy shredding stance. Cutting enemies and objects into chunks will surely never get old, especially given how intuitive the system eventually becomes once you've mastered it.
Our hands-on takes us through a derelict street, littered with rusty cars and crates (yes, we cut those up too) with arrows on Raiden's HUD guiding us towards our objective, before we come upon a gate that we have to slice through (of course) leading to a console that requires a keycard. Cue more soldier slicing on the search for the missing keycard and a few snatched nano repair units to keep Raiden's health topped up, and we've accessed the console and moved on. Tackling more troops and a bipedal Gekko Metal Gear straight out of MGS4, it all looks clear for a moment. Except it isn't. Now there's an attack helicopter on Raiden's trail.
It's at this juncture that we need to hold R2 and exploit Raiden's 'ninja run', enabling him to leap cars and other obstacles without breaking a sweat, while outrunning the pursuing choppers destroying the scenery around us. This includes a bridge that we have to cross, and as it topples under a barrage of projectiles, we enter a brief QTE where Raiden plunges his sword into the dangling walkway leaving him hanging. A bit more ninja running is all that's required to get us back on horizontal ground and sprinting towards a dead end, where the helicopter has us pinned down.
Luckily, there's a few homing rocket launchers lying around in this area, marked on Raiden's HUD and after a few carefully aimed blasts, the chopper begins to slowly descend to ground level, leaving it vulnerable to a bout of hack and slash. Suddenly, the annoying whirlybird gets a second wind and takes to the sky once again, unleashing a volley of missiles our way. Another QTE prompts us to ninja run towards the chopper, hopping from missile to missile towards the cockpit, at which point we leap above it, poised and ready to get chopping once again.
Starting with the rotors before cleaving through the fuselage, we use Raiden's rapid slicing skills to cut the helicopter into small shards that come raining to the ground, sparking and exploding on impact. It's yet another awesome moment in a hands-on demo that freewheels breathlessly between unhinged, OTT action-packed moments without missing a beat.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance might not be the Metal Gear you know and love then, but it's something that'll delight hack and slash fans. As Metal Gear fans ourselves, it's also an interesting offshoot for the series, despite moving away from stealth gameplay entirely. This is less 'Tactical Espionage Action' and more 'Action Action Action', but with Platinum Games at the wheel, and this hands-on session providing such an unrelenting barrage of thrills, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance has all the key ingredients to make it something well worth looking out for early next year. Play it, and you'll even forgive Raiden for whining his way through MGS2. It's that good.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is out in early 2013.