June 13, 2012

E3 2012 – Hands On with Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Metal Gear Rising Revengeance E3 2012
Despite being the only Metal Gear title without the word Solid since the original two MSX releases that gave birth to the franchise, Solid is the first word that came to mind after playing through the E3 demo for Platinum Games’ and Kojima Productions game with the strange name I’ve come to love.

The second word was relieved.

I was relieved to find that Platinum Games’ had found the means to balance their distinct brand of third-person action with the original premise of the Rising trailer first seen at E3 2010. No one is going to be accused of reinventing the wheel here, and as suspected, the spirit of Platinum’s Bayonetta and Vanquish shine strong in the offering, but said offering seems poised to deliver another solid action title from the developer, and fans of those previous efforts can expect the same level of chaotic polish they’ve grown accustomed to.

Metal Gear Rising Revengeance E3 2012
Platinum’s playful sense of humor also dances rather well with Kojima Production’s own shtick, whether it was the tables of watermelons waiting to be sliced offering a shout-out to that E3 2010 reveal trailer, or a keycard carrying enemy I eventually found hiding beneath a cardboard box.

Rising’s E3 demo is a tutorial mission, with Raiden taking training orders that quickly reveal two primary methods of attacking opponents. Players can have Raiden repeatedly hack at enemies by mashing a primary attack button, but they can also hold down another to engage a slow-down blade mode, at which point angled slices can be chosen and executed multiple times with the analog stick – causing enemies to be sliced to bits in slow motion. The effect is very reminiscent of Vanquish’s slow-down mechanic, and also based on a gauge that needs to recharge.

Raiden’s gauge is recharged by hacking away at more enemies, but can also be filled by slicing certain enemies and pressing a button prompt to claim the glowing blue innards within – salvaging the other dominant theme of 2010’s reveal, Zan Datsu, or “cut” and “take”.

Metal Gear Rising Revengeance E3 2012
While there are many flat building surfaces meant to create area confining walls, stone pillars provided more practice for Raiden’s blade to slice through, along with any objects discovered along the way. Raiden’s more stealthy agenda revealed an ability to drop from above to impale unsuspecting enemies, as well as the advantage gained by sneaking up behind enemies for silent kills rather than rushing out to alert an entire squad – though either approach is acceptable here. There was also an early confrontation with a Gekko, which necessitated a bit of slice and dodge work before Raiden was finally able to put a finishing stab through the top of it.

As with previous Platinum releases, Rising can’t seem to escape the necessity of quicktime events, including a sequence where players need to dash across a crumbling bridge. Where these become necessary to resolve larger battles, Platinum does employ ludicrous action, such as tapping buttons to jump between missiles fired from a helicopter, reaching the craft in order to slow-down time while hanging in the air and issuing the critical strikes that bring it down – which sadly also brought the demo to an end.

My greatest relief is that this doesn’t simply feel like a hack and slash title, though there is a great deal of that to be had depending on your play style. The game certainly feels familiar given the pedigree, as difficult and rewarding to master as Platinum’s two most recent action titles – though any fan of third-person action could hardly complain about drawing strong comparisons to such releases.

During the week I was also offered the chance to join a group of journalists for a sit down interview with Platinum Game’s Atsushi Inaba and Kojima Production’s Yuji Korekado, the audio of which you can stream and/or download below.


E3 2012 Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance [00:26:17]

[direct download]

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