Re-imagining the Knife

Approaching a series that spans over two decades, the expectations of quality are set quite high. Metal Gear has existed in several successful forms, and has even pulled off a card battler with ease. The MG universe is ripe for exploration, and just because Solid Snake has since retired from the battlefield, doesn’t mean the fighting stops. Metal Gear Rising: Revegeance takes another look at the MG universe, this time, with a clean cut approach, and a familiar warrior to enter the fray.

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Through a collaboration of Konami (Metal Gear Solid) and Platinum Games (Bayonetta), Metal Gear Rising looks to explore further the action side of the MG games, while maintaining the quality game play and story line quirks the series has been known for. Set four years after the events of MGS4, we explore the unexplored terrains as Raiden, who has been recently equipped with a new cyborg ninja suit, with which better to enhance his fighting capabilities.

The crux of the game play will be akin to other action titles of the same genre (Ninja Gaiden, Devil May Cry), possessing a fast paced combo system with a new angle. Raiden’s High Frequency Blade will act as the conduit for all things awesome, as you have the ability to cut your foes and environments anyway you see fit. While simple combo’s exist within the confines of your regular mobility, and you can use “Blade Mode” to turn into super slow mo badass supreme. The effects of the slowed time will allow you the concentration to dispatch your foes as you effortlessly cut them to pieces. Your right control stick will allow you to change the angle of the blade real time in 360 degrees, ensuring your cuts will be accurate, and devastating…

…or, if you want to get real perverse, your cuts can be as ineffective and sloppy as you want them to be, the choice is yours.

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The demo starts off with the option for a tutorial, which is immediately reminiscent of Metal Gear Solid 2’s own VR missions. The game will further litter the smaller nods to the series past, as to keep you in touch with the roots from which Raiden grew. The tutorial of the demo is very barebones, and only allows a quick run down of the aforementioned Blade Mode, and basic sprinting jumping mechanics. I felt as if the training session was a little too brief, and left me wondering how many combat subtleties existed that I was unaware of. (Turns out, a lot, as the almighty counter can quite easily change the tide of a battle. Flowing in between Blade Mode, Ninja Run, and the lock on combo system offers a bit in the ways of fighting maneuvers, but isn’t touched upon).

I brushed it aside, as I started up the main mission briefing. The Opening for the demo (and possibly, the whole retail game), is yet another nod to MGS intro’s of the past. Raiden is given a run down from fellow squad mates about the urgency of the enemy threat, as he quickly accelerates towards his target by way of ocean grazing one man jet. The intro is graciously done, and somehow combines the majesty from MGS 1, 2, and 3, with a little cyborg ninja thrown in for some extra flavor

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The Codecs still exists too, and predictably adds further layers of intrigue and humor to the player at any given time. I’m very glad they did not do away with the all important communications system, as Raiden helps to point out “It’s nice to see the basic system hasn’t changed with this new body”.

From the get go, you will find controlling Raiden empowering, as most cyborg ninja’s tend to be. The departure from the slow and quiet moving essence that is Snake will certainly open up any Metal Gear’s fans eyes. Despite this, the faster play will delight as you flash Raiden too and fro around the battle field in the blink of an eye.

The sword and sword play often act as your measuring stick of entertainment. The game will constantly give you new ways of seeing how your slicing measures up, very usually ending with a chaotic gore fest as your final measurement. You’ll be very engaged and surprised even from the first free bee encounter, as you quickly dispatch three foes within a seconds time. They’re powerless bodies turning clock wise in the air as you choose the next major appendage they will lose, always one cut away from the end of a battle.

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While the ever existing experiment in “Will it Slice?” is highly addictive, Raiden’s other feats will not fail to be noticed. His blade countering technique can deflect bullets and cut rockets on the fly, and his fast moving floor slide gives you fun reach and entraining foot work. The enemies aren’t the only thing that’s fun to cut, as you will encounter anything from boxes, cars, and the more absurd like watermelons, to best practice your very own version of being a Samurai Delicatessen. Delicious.

While the endless fodder that the ground troops provide is a great exercise in combo technique, some of the meatier battles, like that with a Metal Gear, are even more explosive. Your first encounter with one of the bi-pedal mass produced cow imitators from four will remind you of why Raiden is now the new boss. These battles will reinforce the notion of how much stronger he’s become. While I found the counter attack tango with the mechanical beast entertaining, I rushed forward and cut down the synthetic abomination to smithereens within seconds. The team at Platinum really nailed the feeling of how effortlessly Raiden ripped apart the titular enemies in MGS4, and give you a sense of invincibility through the handling of your blade.

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While I blew through most of the demo, and made an easy time of it, the demo’s boss, with whom I’m now appropriating the name Mr. Woof Woof for, reminds you it won’t all be a walk in the park. The fight starts off with a classically stylized Metal Gear encounter, complete with near death and taunting words galore. Once the battle commences, you’ll have to play a far more aggressive blade game, whether it be offensively or defensively to stay alive. The counter will help make or break your boss battles, and timing your rush and utilizing your Blade Mode for maximum damage will help reach higher ranks and better scores.

The ending of the boss is needless to say, a bit by bit blow of aerial proportions. You will be given a brief couple seconds to juggle the beastie in the air, as you hack and slash your way to a better tomorrow. A satisfying ending to another epic exchange in the realm of Metal Gear bosses. With good form, the parting words of Mr. Woof Woof even allude to a clever cliff hanger, like many Metal Gear Bosses and parting words that have come before.

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The demo was overall, far more entertaining than I had imagined. The High Frequency Blade, in my eyes, gets top billing, despite Raiden being the main character. With the overhaul of Raiden’s character as a bad ass, I stand impressed they were able to match him with a weapon that out performs his lethal bravado. The Blade Mode helps to cut a niche for the game in a market over crowded with top notch action titles, and the demo only gave me a small taste of what was to come.

One of the other elements I appreciated aside from the fluidly brutal combat, was the cohesion in which MGR’s story seems to have. Not content with just a one off, Kojima’s work on the game (along side Platinum), has obviously added a major benefit, as the main story acts as a direct consequence for the events in MGS4. While the Patriots and S.O.P are no more, the back lash from their fall has created a more technologically advanced alternative. The game does not exist in a vacuum, and the very apparently developing culture of cause and effect is appreciated., and helps accredit an already robust game universe. A spin offs true test is to stand on it’s own, and Rising does so, while providing further interest to the main story, an obvious plus for new comers and MG vets alike.

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February 19th seems further now than ever, and If the demo is anything to go on, with just a little more patience, we’ll be enjoying a cut above the rest in no time.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Re-imagining the Knife

  1. pashfordmurano

    Reblogged this on Active Time Event and commented:

    Metal Gear Preview: Re-imagining the Knife

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