Though, I was able to spend some time with Konami and the producers of the new Metal Gear game in Santa Monica, Calif. a couple of months ago, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance wasn’t quite the finished product that’s available now. Konami’s Kojima Productions and Platinum games might sound like extreme opposites, but their collaboration has managed to find the best both studios have to offer and marry them well. What started as a Metal Gear creator, Hideo Kojima’s joke resulted in Platinum Games most polished effort yet.
If you’ve seen the trailer, commercials or even played a bit of the demo, you might be a little skeptical of where Metal Gear has gone. I understand and honestly, the new chop anything mechanic takes a bit of getting used. Eventually though, you’ll get in the swing of things. By the middle of the game your samurai skills should be like a symphony, if not you’ll probably be stuck. If you’re a competent hack and slash gamer, pick the easy setting and run through it, you can get through Revengeance in about 4 hours. The VR missions and upcoming DLC will certainly add to that time, but that’s not at all the way this game was intended to be played.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a modern take on a samurai game with Raiden serving as its hero. That is part of the reason Kojima chose a fellow Japanese developer for assistance. The release of Bayonetta 2 isn’t far off and there are some similarities between what we expect that game will play like and Revengeance. Metal Gear Rising uses a third person camera so you can see Raiden ninja run, execute his light and heavy attacks and jump. Raiden isn’t just limited to his High Frequency blade, as you go through the game and defeat bosses their specialty weapons are available for purchase and use.
There are also some RPG elements in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Besides purchasing specialty weapons, there are a handful of outfits the former child soldier can obtain. The store which is accessible between chapters also allows players to upgrade Raiden. Overall health, attack strength and energy are upgradeable and regular combos in addition to specialty weapon combos can also be purchased. There are a good number of these combos allowing you to choose abilities that match your fighting style. The optional auto-parry available in easy mode does somewhat detract from the usefulness of what is available.
Of course what makes Metal Gear Rising different is the fighting mechanic. Though the face buttons let Raiden swing his sword in deadly fashion, the Blade Mode is an essential skill players will have to learn to master. I’ll admit it took some getting used to and strangely it feels a little more natural with a dual shock controller than my preferred Xbox 360 controller. The left trigger initiates the mode and the left stick adjusts the angle while the right stick is actually used for chopping. The face buttons can also be used for horizontal or vertical strikes.
So you might wonder how necessary this new mechanic is and the answer is that it’s pretty important. Though the blade strikes don’t deal as much damage as a normal heavy strike, during boss battles you will need to use Blade Mode to strip your enemy’s armor and make them more vulnerable. Regular enemies can also be chopped in half revealing a spinal column which can be extracted and regenerate Raiden’s health. Some enemies also carry classified data in their arms which can be separated with accurate strikes. Accumulating enough of this data will allow Dok to create something special for Raiden.
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