November 5, 2012

Demo Report – Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

Demo Report Metal Gear Rising Revegeance
The Zone of the Enders HD Collection hit retail shelves last week, harkening back to the golden days of the PlayStation 2 – all the more so for the demo disc it includes with a fresh look at Platinum Games’ spin-off from the Metal Gear franchise.

The short demo offers a different trip from the one appearing at E3 earlier this year, beginning with a new optional VR tutorial, which attempts to ensure players get familiar with the game’s blade mode before stepping into the game proper.

Holding down the left trigger on the 360 controller, the right analog stick can be rotated to see the angle of a potential slice, engaged by letting go of the analog stick for a precise single strike. This proves useful for slicing cardboard enemies in training, but in the field, getting Zen with hitting the analog stick repeatedly to unleash a fury of slices comes in handy for quickly dispatching the Gekko’s that appear.

Demo Report Metal Gear Rising Revegeance
The demo opens with Raiden flying into Abkhazia, where the Desperado Enforcement group has instigated a military coup. The game’s cut-scenes manage to mention the idea of being rewarded by retrieving body parts from cybernetic enemies along the way, specifically their left hands – it doesn’t seem to come up in the demo, but I want to know more about this as soon as possible.

After an initial encounter with three cyber ninjas, the demo primarily offers one semi-lengthy street where players can sample ninja running and slicing. The longer players remain in blade mode, the more the gauge drains, and unlike most time-slowing features in other games, here the gauge will not automatically replenish itself.

Slicing through enemies at the right angle to expose their glowing blue innards offers Raiden a chance to claim those electrolytes in order to replenish his health and the blade mode gauge – the gauge also fills via the primary hack and slash offered by two sword attack buttons, a quick wide swing and a more powerful slice. There are also rockets and grenades, which can be assigned to a secondary attack button for quick use.

Since I’m always on the lookout for curious Platinum quirks, defeating two enemies near a cowering civilian required me to also press a button to gesture that he was safe, at which point he thanked me.

Demo Report Metal Gear Rising Revegeance
After cutting through a few soldiers and Gekkos, the demo introduces LQ-84i, the angry cybernetic kitten who enjoys bragging about its intelligence whilst whipping around its chainsaw tail. The battle was hard as coffin nails until I took the time to learn Raiden’s defensive move, which requires players to push the analog stick in the direction of the incoming attack while pressing X at just the right moment to parry the assault – then you can kick it into blade mode and kill the analog stick to get the highest possible chain of attacks in order to survive, at which point the demo ends.

Much like my time with the game at E3, blade mode is the make or break for each player here, specifically whether it proves a useful primary attack or falls back to serving as a desperation mode. Though the mode slows down time, enemies can still move ever so slowly, and will endeavor to evade the reach of Raiden’s blade with significant success. It doesn’t kill the feature, but certainly requires more planning and can find you swinging at empty air plenty of times. Jumping toward a Gekko and then activating blade mode seems to continually do the trick though, and if one fires a cable your way, Raiden will be able to swing the mechanical beast around before crashing it into the ground.

Enemies proved fairly aggressive all around, able to daze Raiden, which required shaking the left analog stick to snap him out of it – by then one soldier had grabbed him from behind while another came in for the kill.

Slicing through the environment has a lot of potential I hope to see evolve in the final product as well. I was able to slice through trees and large signs, usually watching them fall over before vanishing, and one time watching a hacked branch remain perfectly suspended in the air. If the game’s stealth kills could be joined with opportunities to cause heavy objects to fall on enemies, that could prove an interesting break from the full-on combat route.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is slated to hit the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on February 19th, 2013.

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