Classic Metal Gear Is Mostly A Punchline In Metal Gear Rising: Reveangance

"This is not a stealth game," Platinum Games' Atsushi Inaba said of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. That's certainly true.

Rising is the latest in the traditionally stealth-heavy action game series, and from what I saw and played of the game, it's almost unrecognisable as a Metal Gear game. Moreover, the references that do exist to past games -- from stealth segments to watermelons -- are mostly played for laughs. That's certainly not a bad thing, but it does mean that Rising will be an interesting and possibly divisive entry in the long-running Metal Gear series.

Let's start with the stealth, which is typically the beating heart of a Metal Gear game. In the E3 demo of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, protagonist Raiden enters a compound full of soldiers. It's a setup familiar to Metal Gear fans, who would logically expect to sneak up on these soldiers and dispatch them one by one.

Raiden does this, to an extent -- he enters the compound and proceeds to dispatch enemies one by one. But he does so in manner so simplistic as to seem humorous. Enemies are just oblivious to him -- he runs forward, sword in hand -- players can't adjust his stance or move slowly -- comes up behind them and with a button-press, rams his sword through their back. There's nothing more to stealth than this, and no way to take down an enemy other than to sprint up behind them and perform a loud, gory kill.

Inevitably, Raiden gets spotted, and the trademark "Vrayrp!" sound effect plays, accompanying an exclamation mark over any remaining enemies' heads. But it's just window-dressing, it's there for show. In past Metal Gear games, the exclamation mark was a dreaded sound; it meant you had failed. Here it indicates that it's time to get to the good part: the wicked swordplay.

And it is indeed wicked -- combat plays out much like fighting in Bayonetta with the katana, all super-fast combos, quick parries and killer finishing moves. The biggest new feature is "Blade Mode", which is a twist on Bayonetta's slow-motion Witch-Time. To enter blade-mode, players simply press the L1 button (I demoed on a PS3), and everything goes into super-slow mo. I used the right thumbstick to direct Raiden's sword, setting the vector for a flurry of sword attacks that, awesomely, slice enemies into so many cleanly divided chunks.

Since blade-mode can be triggered with a button-press, it lacks the rewarding feel of Bayonetta's witch-time, which required a perfectly timed dodge to instigate. All in all, combat has a different feel from Bayonetta, but I didn't have enough time in the demo (and didn't face tough enough bad guys) to really get a feel for it. But like all Platinum games, it feels fast, punchy, and satisfying.

The clear focus on action does serve to make the game's "stealth" sections feel all the more joke-y. In fact, I couldn't help but notice that all of the "Metal Gear" elements in the game are reference humour; they were played for laughs. Rising seems to be a game that doesn't hold its source material as sacred. (Though for all its enjoyably high-handed crusading, on some levels even core Metal Gear games don't take themselves all that seriously.)

At one point in the training mission, watermelons are set all around for Raiden to slice. At another, players come across a cardboard box, beneath which cowers a soldier, ripe for the sword. The joke here is clear: In this game, you do not hide under boxes; your enemies hide from you.

The story is being handled by Metal Gear creators' Kojima Productions, and as creative producer Yuji Korekado described it, will be tighter, with shorter cutscenes, but will still have just as much of a story emphasis as, say, Metal Gear Solid 4. It will also be more approachable for newcomers.

"One thing that we want to make clear," Korekado said, "is that the objective for Rising is to tell a self-contained story that people who had not played Metal Gear up to this point could just jump in and get up to speed really quickly and enjoy the game on its own merits rather than having to rely on knowledge from past Metal Gears." He did say that there are characters from past games that will make an appearance.

So, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance feels like more of a riff on Metal Gear than a proper Metal Gear game. But hey, that's OK, mostly because it's a stylish, fun riff. It plays and feels like a Platinum game, and I mean that as a high form of praise. It may not make every Metal Gear die-hard happy, but I'm actually looking forward to enjoying a different side of the Metal Gear universe.

Plus, you know, it lets you slow-mo-chop a helicopter to bits with a sword.

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Comments

    I'm not really sure what's so hard to understand about this game for people, it's not Metal Gear SOLID, It's Metal Gear RISING, you don't play as Solid Snake who infiltrats enemy locations in secret, you play as the cyborg ninja, who has always done the exact opposite. Do they not remember Gray Fox in MGS? Olga in MGS2? Raiden himself in MGS4?? They were NEVER stealth orientated, and in the case of Raiden in MGS4, insanely acrobatic and brazen.

    Why people continue to go on and on about how it's a metal gear game but there's no stealth is beyond me, YOU'RE NOT SOLID SNAKE that's why it's not called Metal Gear SOLID. It's set in the Metal Gear world, that's what's tying it together with the other games, you're playing as a completely different character with a completely different set of skills so it shouldn't come as a constant surprise that you are able to do different things.

    Just stop and think how stupid and pointless this game would be if it was Raiden just sneaking around in a cardboard box, they'd all be exclaiming "but Raiden flipped around and went all crazy in MGS4, how come we can't do that here???"

      For me, one of the best things about MGS as it evolved was the idea that you could approach a situation in any number of ways: lethal and non-lethal, with incentives to pursue a trickier non-lethal path. It doesn't look like the Metal Gear ethos that attempts to place value on human life and generally abhors unnecessary violence has any place in this game, which lets you Fruit Ninja your opponents in ultra-violent slow motion close-ups to your heart's content.

      This game revels in violence in a way that the original MGS games don't. When (and unfortunately, it will be) viewed against the other games promo'd at the same time - here I'm thinking The Last Of Us, which demonstrated weighty and consequence-ridden violence - MGR will fall short.

      You're right - it is a deliberate departure from the gameplay style of the other games. I'm yet to be convinced that it's ultimately a good thing, though - at the moment, it feels like too much of a departure.

      Also, Revengeance is the worst non-word I've ever heard :P

        I totally agree with you, it has a lot more of a arcade feel to it (fruit ninja EXACTLY!) and generally doesn't feel the same as the other MGS titles, but what I don't get is with every article i see people are always surprised that there's no stealth. It's never been marketed as a stealth game, it was called 'lightning bolt action' at one point (not sure if they're still using that tagline), you are a completely different character who has never once been associated with stealth gameplay (the cyborg ninja character i mean, not Raiden per se) and yet all the people writing these articles seem surprised and even annoyed that there's no stealth.

        The way I'm kinda looking at is is that it's more of a look at the metal gear world from a different perspective, not the same perspective with a different character, a totally new way of looking at the MGS world, similar in some regard to MGS2 where you played as Raiden to get more of a sense of the legend that was Solid Snake. It's more of a reflection of Raiden's conflicted personality, with the abilities and tone of the game more accurately reflecting this (and role the cyborg ninja character have fulfilled previously), making it more than just another sneaking mission with a different player skin, it's a study in character and/or context building to some small extent.

        I don't know how it's going to come across, i'm hopeful that it'll at least be interesting, but i know for sure there won't be an abundance of stealth gameplay, and that's ok with me.

          I think we're on the same page, roughly speaking.

            Yea I think so, I also agree 'revengeance' is stupid, ridiculous and unnecessary as a word.

            ...and it makes me think of Metalocalypse, who (i think) coined it first, albeit is a joke.

      Also, Raiden's heritage in the story is kind of important. He was drafted as a child soldier, etc, etc. I wasn't really a fan of the direction his character took in MGS4, but at least he had a rounded story that seemed to end with some sort of inner peace.

      If ever there was a character well-suited to exploring the mental and moral consequences of unnecessary and excessive violence, it would be Jack/Raiden. Somehow, I doubt there will be much of that here, though, and it just feels like a waste.

    Why are they doing this?

    I can understand the desire to innovate within a medium you've created. To see just what you can do, what situations you can put your characters in and see if old dogs can do new tricks for an audience.

    I never minded this when Mario was given a racquet and told to play, or I had to take photos with a camera of Pokemon. But I don't like this change; Metal Gear was about outsmarting your opponents, every little patrol route, hiding every unconscious body. It was being meticulous and deliberate that was the most rewarding.

    I feel like I've asked for beer and been given cider. It's good, it's got alcohol and cider's a little bit sweeter.

    But I asked for beer.

      If you want to use that analogy you'd better rock up at Kojima Productions with about 50 million dollars and ORDER yourself a new Metal Gear game that you'll be happy with.

      You ORDER a beer and expect what you ask for. In this case the developers can make whatever the hell they like, (that they can get funded), and you can choose to buy it or not. In other words, don't go into a wine bar and have a cry when they don't sell you a beer. ;)

        I like your response.

        Who cares what gamers want anyway, right? It's not like we inadvertently fund their projects.

        This is not a cider I'm paying for.

          Also if you don't mind me saying so, sequels to games are usually created to satisfy a demand for more. Either that or it's a company lining their pockets with the goodwill of their devoted fans without any respect for the medium those same fans fell in love with.

          No one goes up and orders a game, you're right, but so often now gamers get clubbed about with collectors editions and in game bonuses that it's been shown the lack of public respect between developers and gamers is at an all time low.

          I'm not saying this game will be bad, or that it won't be a refreshing new take on a tired franchise. I'm just a bit annoyed that someone has dumped a hack and slash into my Metal Gear and I can't think of a person I know, or have known, that wanted this to happen.

          So my question was, why are they doing this? I don't understand why, where the real demand was to dump a violent hack and slash in my stealth espionage world.

            This is exactly what I was talking about, it was never meant to be a stealth game, it wa never marketed as such, not once was there EVER a hint of it being stealth based gamel play.

            It's not metal gear solid, it's metal gear rising. Just because it has 'metal gear' in the title doesn't mean it HAS TO BE stealth, it's Konami's IP they can do whatever they want with it, they want to explore what it's like to play as the cyborg ninja, something I've seen people ask for many times, and now that's exactly what you can do. If you don't want to play as a cyborg ninja, don't buy this game.

            and to answer the question as to 'why?' how about why not? If no one tried different things everything would be the same and boring. If wolfenstein and doom had never tried to make a game based from a first person perspective we wouldn't have one of the biggest genres of games today. so it pays to try different things, sometimes they work, sometimes they don't but you'll never know unless you give it a go. I have seen people talk about wanting to play as the cyborg ninja ever since MGS on PS1 came out, and now here is the chance. If you don't want to and just want stealth based game play, wait till Kojima releases project Ogre, which will most likely be the next MGS game, probably sandwiched in between peace walker and the original MGS in the timeline.

    I was gutted when i first heard the change of developer, id played bayonnetta and liked it but i didnt think platinum were worthy, the game is growing on me though and at the end of the day at least MGS5 will be excelent

    Right now I'm playing Castlevania: Lords of Shadow. It feels not at all like a Castlevania game, if you're the type who associates Symphony of the Night style gameplay with Castlevania. But I still love it, it's a great game full of fun and wonderfully makes use of the artistic license.

    So here it is the same with Reveangence. It's not like the Metal Gear games you know but it will still be brilliant, making use of the interesting universe Metal Gear takes place in.

    Also Reveangence may not be like by your spell-checker, but it is a real word, in the dictionary.

      But it's so unnecessary, vengeance (as a concept) means to want to get revenge, there's really no need to stick the extra 2 letters on there, it's already implied that vengeance is a form of revenge. Unless of course you're talking about the concept of getting revenge back on someone that has already gotten their revenge on you for what you did to them originally, hence re-vengeance. But that would imply that you were, in the original instance, the one to instigate the revenge train by doing something bad to someone else in the first place.

      It's just over the top, kind of like the action in the game no?

        This. Unless the game is about the second or third generation of revenge, revengeance is the wrong word.

          I think people are thinking about it and trying to find meaning in it way too much. It's supposed to be silly and irreverent, much how the main series as a whole is at times. You're talking about a series where a character can know another character by grabbing their groin, where mooing bipedal WMDs are cut to shreds by a pretty-boy ninja wearing cybernetic high heels who can also electrocute people by pure force-of-will alone, where a character expresses to others how comfortable and safe they feel when they're in a cardboard box, and where half the cast has one or more supernatural abilities that regular people don't seem to question in the slightest (at least until MGS4 explained it all away with "everything is nanomachines!"). The Metal Gear series, while known for deep storytelling aspects, also knows when to take the piss out of itself. Revengeance is the sort of kitsch, over-the-top name that suits a game about a cyborg ninja who throws Metal Gears into the sky and "doesn't afraid of anything".

    Nobody will ever be able to convince me that this makes any kind of sense whatsoever.
    lalalalalalalalalalala

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