PAX Prime 2012: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance hands-on
To say I’ve been skeptical of Metal Gear Rising would be an understatement. I found the now infamous free-form melon slicing demonstration as impressive as the next person, but I never believed the mechanic could be realistically employed with the gameplay at all times – sans true 1:1 motion controls. Fortunately, with Platinum Games at the helm of the rebranded Revengeance, the promise of virtual slicing can be delivered as the exclamation point it probably should be, rather than the title’s lynch pin.
While my time with Revengeance on the PAX Prime show floor was brief, it was more than enough to display the speed and momentum of Platinum’s latest. We know Revengeance is not a stealth title, and we know Platinum is synonymous with over-the-top action, which makes them the ideal collaborator for Raiden’s cyborg-ninja antics.
Unlike Bayonetta, Revengeance employs a more traditional 3D camera that follows Raiden at a close distance. As a result, the action feels more intimate, brutal, and whenever you use the signature ‘Blade Mode’, gratuitous. During the demo I was able to use the same basic types of attack strings you’d expect from the genre. Light attacks can be chained together and concluded with more devastating strikes. On occasion, though the conditions were not totally apparent to me, enemies can be launched into air-combos and finished via mid-air Blade Mode, leaving enemies little more than messes of bloodied, fleshy rain falling back to the ground below.
Other than combat, which consisted primarily of 2-3 enemies at a time, there was an introduction to the title’s free-run which operates in the same manner as Assassin’s Creed traversal. Holding one of the triggers causes Raiden to run and while doing so he’ll automatically climb, vault or jump over obstacles in his way. Midway through the demo I had to race across a collapsing bridge, which allowed me to pilot Raiden effortlessly over abandoned cars and other obstructions.
On the other side of the bridge an attack helicopter waited for me, because, seriously, what 3D ninja action game is complete without its requisite helicopter boss battle? The copter hovered in the center of a small ruin, pelting me with machine gun fire and missiles. The walls of the ruin provided cover and doubled as platforms that I could leap from to attack the machine in midair. Taking it on air-to-air appeared to be a viable though not advisable tactic. An easier route presented itself thanks to a handy respawning RPG that was haphazardly left in the arena, which dealt heavy damage and momentarily grounded the chopper. After following the RPG/stun/attack routine for a while, the chopper’s final moments were punctuated by a brief free-running section from one enemy missile to another, followed by a flashy Blade Mode dismantling.
Though brief, my time with Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was encouraging. As a Metal Gear stalwart, as well as a third-person action game fan, I’m interested in seeing new experiences within the fiction, and so far, it appears Platinum is handling Kojima’s wild vision with the care it deserves. It’s too early to tell if Revengeance will reach the same apex as Bayonetta, arguably Platinum’s best work, but at this stage it’s easy to see it’ll match that title’s iconic mix of style and slaughter.