Sometimes change can be scary. In the case of the first trailer for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, change seemed very scary. Since development for Rising has begun, the project has been put in the hands of Platinum Games, which I would say was the best choice they could have made, development-wise. After having played the demo, I actually found very little to hate about this game. While it may seem nothing like the Metal Gear Solid franchise at first glance, a run through one level of Rising seemed to give the impression that it may not be so far off from being a respectable Metal Gear title.
As soon as the start menu appears, there is a gorgeous dynamic rendering of the protagonist, Raiden, surrounded by ashes and just generally looking like a badass. From the getgo, there is no hiding that this is not a Metal Gear Solid game and that much is made very evident from the lightning surging through the title. Yeah, this all sounds intense and I haven’t even pressed Start yet.
Nevertheless, everything is clean. This goes for everything from the menus to the HUD, looking just like a Metal Gear game should. The development team definitely did a fine job of making a game that is far from its predecessors into something surprisingly comfortable for fans. A couple of friends of mine are hardcore MGS fans that were practically retching at that first Rising trailer, and suffice to say, I wasn’t totally excited either. The sheer insanity of it all seemed incredibly out of place for the universe, but somehow, this demo seems to show a very well knit package of humor and self-awareness to ease a lot of the intensity that would otherwise be laughable. The demo also introduces a few new characters who will be working together with Raiden, each of them fairly interesting. Small quirks in the cutscenes every now and then show a style akin to the main series, letting it be pretty refreshing to dive back into this world.
Now if anyone can make a wild action game it’s Platinum Games, and Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance seems to be no exception to that. The combat is your standard hack-and-slash, but one feature that lets it stand out, which is Blade Mode. Defeating enemies allows you to absorb health from them, but not before you slice them to bits of your choosing, which can be very satisfying. Nothing is too difficult to execute, but the element of challenge is still present when you’re surrounded by enemies and you’ve been spotted, on high alert, guns blazing.
For those who yearn for the stealth that defined the original series, there is a little bit in Rising, but only to an extent. You can sneak around enemies and dispatch them from behind or up above, but the stealth mechanics do not consist of crouching and taking cover like in Metal Gear Solid, nor do the AI seem as sophisticated. This doesn’t really hurt the game though as they make a point to tell you that this is indeed an action game, and it will be tons of fun if you just run in there and slash away like a praying mantis on crack, strategically of course. As for the platforming, the jumping can be a little awkward indoors, reminding me of Kingdom Hearts 1, but it feels fine in the heat of combat and when you’ve got enough terrain to traverse. Lastly, some of the environment textures could be better, but everything else still looks very sharp, especially the character models.
There has been a huge straying from the familiar path and formula, but I think we can expect something great, especially when Hideo Kojima himself has good stuff to say about it:
Besides, if I had created the game and directed it, it wouldn’t have been this game. I am very happy to see the growth in my team and how they have developed such an incredible game.
The only thing is it is too soon to tell if this game will have as much emotional or narrative poignancy as Kojima’s pride and joys, but certain parts do seem to tread on that already. In general, there is a lot to like so far. If this demo does the full game any justice, this should be one fun ass game.
Click here to read IGN’s full interview with Hideo Kojima.
Be sure to download the MGR: Revengeance demo on PSN and XBLA and tell us what you thought of it in the comments section below!