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Play Expo 2012: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance hands-on

Metal GearPlay Expo 2012

The act of vengeance is the punishing of someone for harming you or your friends or family, or the wish for such punishment to happen. The use of ‘re’ is a prefix for once more or anew. If vengeance is personal, then revengeance is it revisited on a larger scale. Or to quote the Urban Dictionary: the act of gaining revenge at a rate of at least 2.54 times greater to that of standard revenge and 1.61 that of standard vengeance.

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Whilst waiting for the next available console station I chatted to the co-ordinator on-hand about this new entry into the Metal Gear series. We were both in agreement that the carnage onscreen most definitely looked like a PlatinumGames title, but with subtle nuances that kept it within the franchise bloodline. PlatinumGames is a proper studio. When you see one of their products you know it’s theirs. They have a personal style. Their hard work has paid off too, with Kojima Productions passing development of the title to them.

What was interesting to hear as we continued to talk was how the Japanese team reacted to the Western approach to expos. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was recently playable at Eurogamer Expo. They were confused by the setup. There was no dedicated, walled-off space for each game. Instead the floor was for the most part an open plan. And the press was mingling with the consumer. These concepts were alien, but once the Eastern visitors saw consumers join a huge queue to play their new game it all began to make sense. The press get their time with the games and developers, and the general public can trial titles in advance of launch. In an age of social media this is a sensible decision.

As a station became free I took a seat and loaded up the recommended tutorial. Short in length, it cut to the chase and explained the core mechanics. The usual light and strong attacks are present and can be combined for rapid flurries of attacks. Then there was sword mode. By holding it with both hands and entering a stationary position, much like a futuristic samurai covered in augmentation, Raiden can slash and slice in any direction. The direction of the sword being controlled via the analogue stick.

During the tutorial you’re tasked with first lacerating boxes, and soon melons and cars. It was surprisingly accurate. A visual aid displays where your positioned strike will pass through, ensuring mistakes are your own. Wooden pop-ups of terrorists then appear and you must dice them into pieces. Extra care is needed when they hold a hostage and you must remove the enemy’s head or arm to free the innocent without also disembowelling them.

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The demo begins proper with Raiden on a cobbled street, his commander providing mission information and background detail via voiceover. The first batch of the opposing force appeared out of nowhere, previously hidden by cloaking devices. Sneaky buggers. A quick bash of the attack buttons unleashed some animation work that looked fantastic.

Then I used the sword mode, the world around Raiden slowing down and the camera zooming in. My expectations that it’d take a few swipes to do any damage were wrong. The first slice cut through the torso of the solider and brought his innards out for their first and last gasp of fresh air, my second strike removing half of his head. This wasn’t set areas of damage – the solider was cut exactly where I’d aimed. As the unfortunate soldier crumpled to the ground a counter tallied the number of pieces he’d been diced into.

Running around like a lunatic wasn’t the only option. The Metal Gear alert counter was displayed in the top corner. Once you’re spotted it raises to 99.99, alarm bells ringing and surrounding troops approaching your position. By hiding this counter would then begin to count down. Raiden’s suit allows him to run with almost silence and this maintains the pace, eliminating slow walking sections. Sprinting under a bridge I leaped over a barrier and onto an ascending staircase. At the top was a guard with his back turned. Approaching him allowed for a silent assassination. One down and no alarm raised.

My time with Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance ended when I came against a brick wall in the form of a robotic panther that had a chainsaw for a tail. Its attacks were incredibly fast and not dodging in time would see you pinned to the ground and the chainsaw thrust into your chest. A few attempts later and no progress was made. To defeat the creature I’d need to use a combination of accurate attacks and parries.

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Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is escapism; pure video gaming. It makes no pretentions and delivers high-octane visceral combat that doesn’t wince at increasing the difficulty and forcing its audience to improve. Decidedly PlatinumGames, there are enough nods and winks that should ensure franchise followers aren’t alienated.

The author of this fine article

is the Deputy Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in December 2010. Get in touch on Twitter @shaneryantb.

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