I recently had the chance to play the demo of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance that came with my copy of Zone of the Enders HD Collection (in and of itself a fantastic game) and well… it is and isn’t like any other Metal Gear game I’ve played. A lot of the old standbys are there — art direction, outlandish story — and it feels like a Metal Gear game. It isn’t though. At least, it doesn’t play the same. You feel a lot more powerful and there isn’t nearly as much fear of being seen that was the series trademark. You’re essentially playing as the next breed of super soldier and it certainly feels like it.
The combat is different, the gameplay is different and yet it still feels like Metal Gear. This stems from the general aesthetic, over the top stories of world conquering and technology-gone-wrong vibes. That is where the feel comes from. Something bigger than yourself is out there; teetering just outside of your perception and you’re rushing headlong into its path. And then you attack what are basically walking batteries with swords. You aren’t designed to sneak around, avoiding the enemy who’d call more guards and pepper you with bullets like a one man show version of Bonnie and Clyde. No, you’re the unstoppable Juggernaut; raining death and body parts across the land. Raiden has grown dark, merciless.
The controls are fluid for the most part. The demo doesn’t offer a lot in ways of tutorials. It is mostly meant as a way to introduce the player to the new Blade Controls. You’ll have your standard wide and strong attacks that you can mix and match to wade through the swath of enemies that’ll come your way. And if you see an opening you’ll get to activate the Blade Control. It is bullet time for swordplay. You’ll get to direct and pinpoint your sword strikes using both analog sticks. Honestly, it boiled down to me just spastically spamming both sticks like a wacky waving inflatable tube man to rack up hits and points. Oh and slice your opponent into a ton of pieces. This also works on some objects in the environment such as trees, pillars, boxes and columns that hold up the bridge. I have to admit I… umm… pruned every tree I came across. If Raiden ever wants to get out of the super soldier business, he’d be wise to go into lawn care.
It is a brief demo but it gives you a general feel of the game. It is the same Metal Gear story concepts wrapped up in a new gameplay style. Which makes a lot of sense: the story and design are handled by Kojima Productions and gameplay is handled by Platinum Games. Afterwards the demo left me feeling optimistic about the game going forward. It is definitely something I’ll be keeping an eye on.