Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is not your average Metal Gear game. Bringing on Platinum Games as the developer, the game eschews stealth entirely in favor of over the top, hack-’n-slash action. Though its story seems like it will be the usual convoluted Kojima affair, the gameplay is anything but.
I made a mad dash for the Konami booth as soon as the show floor opened this morning, hoping to get in and play Metal Gear Rising before the line swelled to its usual size. I was lucky enough to get in with the first group of the day, so here are my impressions.
The presentation began by herding a small group of us into a room to watch an introductory video. It was a live action sequence, detailing Raiden’s augmentation and subordination to the Maverick Security Consulting group. While somewhat interesting, the video was overly long and very cheesy – yep, this is still a Metal Gear game as far as the story is concerned.
Once the video was over, we were ushered into another room, this time with playable demo stations. The demo is basically a big tutorial that teaches you what the new and improved Raiden is capable of. In short, he is capable of quite a bit. The first lesson was in Blade Mode, the game’s signature gameplay feature. Blade Mode can be activated by holding down the left shoulder button. It slows time to a near standstill and allows you to angle your blade in any way you like, then release for a slice that goes through damn near anything. Metal, flesh, stone – you name it, Raiden can cut it. It was unclear whether or not Blade Mode will be tied to a limited energy meter or if you’ll be able to use it as often as you like, but I think it’s safe to assume you won’t have an unlimited amount of it. I could see it making the game quite easy otherwise.
After learning the particulars of Blade Mode, the demo moved on to “live” targets rather than cardboard cutouts and watermelons. Combat in MGR is fast and responsive. You’ve got a heavy attack and a wide attack, and using them together can create some pretty devastating combos. Some combos end in quick time events, wherein Raiden rips out the enemy’s processor core, while others might give you a Blade time prompt for you to finish off the enemy in a stylish manner.
You’ll also face off against the large and menacing Gekkos, which fans of the series will recognize as the mooing, bipedal walkers from Metal Gear Solid 4. There was a rocket launcher provided to help dispatch them, but who needs rockets when you can slice right through their vulnerable legs with Blade Mode? One good cut will send a Gekko toppling over, rendering it harmless.
My hands on time with the game was all too brief, lasting less than 10 minutes. I can’t help but feel like they could (and should) have skipped the live action videos shown beforehand in order to allow for more play time. I also have a feeling this scenario will be a metaphor for the game itself – lots of cutscenes, not so much gameplay, as per usual with the Metal Gear franchise.
Even so, what I played was quite enjoyable, and I’m looking forward to picking the game up when it launches in early 2013 for Xbox 360 and PS3.