By now, we’re all familiar with the long, twisted story of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. First announced in 2009 as “Metal Gear Solid: Rising,” its production was ultimately handed over to Platinum Games, the studio behind legendary action epics such as Bayonetta and Vanquish.
Recently we attended the Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Boot Camp, where members of the press were able to go hands-on with a nearly complete version of the final game. I won’t talk much about the story, but it’s worth noting that a several years have passed since MGS4, the Patriots no longer exist, cyborg technology is within reach of all who can pay for it, and Raiden belongs to a corporation protecting a very “important” someone in Africa.
In the first scene, we meet two of the game’s bosses. They are not people with a sad past or who are attached to a feeling: They are simply very powerful cyborgs looking out for their own interests, no matter what they have to do in order to get what they want.
Raiden means thunder and lightning, and that’s exactly what he is in this game. The action is frenetic. Raiden can use Blade Mode to cut literally everything, scenery and enemies alike. By cutting certain parts of their bodies, you can expose your enemies’ fuel cells in order to rip them out and recover your energy, a crucial gameplay strategy in that if you cut well, you will be rewarded.
Just as we saw in MGS4, Raiden is a killing machine. With just two attacks, normal and strong, you can execute spectacular combinations. Raiden is also exceedingly agile and quick, and is able to jump over obstacles in Ninja Run with a press of the R1 button. One tip: R1 also deflects your enemies’ bullets, something you will need to do frequently during your extremity-cutting adventure.
The Best Defense is a Good Offense
Parrying is also extremely important: Using the Square button and the left analog stick at the instant an attacking enemy flashes red, you’ll be able to launch an immediate counterattack. This gets interesting when you begin to encounter enemies who can parry your attacks, leading you to stop their attacks with another parry and so on, in what becomes a mortal dance in which you can lose far more than just a finger.
The first scenario is used to train you in all of the aforementioned skills. And what better way to test them than facing a Metal Gear Ray? Well, actually, there’s two of them. Seeing how Raiden cuts these powerful enemies like a hot knife through butter provides a clear example of what’s waiting for us and of how powerful Raiden has become.
A Trip Around the World
In the second scenario, Raiden travels to Abkhazia. Here we encounter more powerful enemies such as MGS4’s Gekkos, which require fast reflexes and precise parrying to defeat. As you advance, you will face an LQ-84i, a robotic wolf who later becomes a partner.
From there we go to Guadalajara, Mexico. Raiden arrives dressed as a mariachi and promptly hides in the sewers with LQ-84i. And it’s no wonder, because the enemies here are bigger and more aggressive than we’ve seen yet. This sequence of the game opens up a new stealth approach for Raiden, complete with the iconic cardboard box (he must have it on loan from Old Snake). Make no mistake: Revengeance is squarely an action game. But it’s always good to have options, especially when you’re facing the horrors lurking in Mexico’s sewers.
Occasionally, you’ll stumble across computers that you can activate to unlock new VR missions. The VR missions in Revengeance have various levels of difficulty and goals, and you’ll unlock various rewards for completing them — though I won’t spoil the surprises for you.
In the end, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is shaping up to be a refreshing blast of pure action gaming. I particularly liked its emphasis on technique with the parrying system, which is a blast in the midst of tough combat.