Going into Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance at the Tokyo Game Show 2012, I was sure I knew what I was in for. After all, I have played (and liked) plenty of Platinum's previous titles -- ie Bayonetta, Madworld, and Anarchy Reigns. Yet, my time with Rising was plagued with a major issue stemming from the game's incredibly counterintuitive controls. Simply put, I could not figure out how to block, dodge, or counter.
The only way I was able to not get hit was to sprint away. However, that was hardly a possibility in most instances as sprinting does not interrupt combos and takes a good solid second to initialize.
While fighting normal soldiers, not being able to block/dodge isn't too much of a problem as ripping out an enemy spine restores you to full life. However, while fighting metal gears and robotic dogs -- which take much more than one slash to kill -- there is no quick way to heal. Moreover, they strike hard enough to kill you in only two or three hits.
Sure I was missing something, I even went back for a second turn at Rising. I studied the controller layout sheet and, sure enough, there was no dodge, block, or counter button.
Finally, after asking many different people, I found one person able to explain to me that while there is still no dodge, you are, in fact, able to block. To block, you must do a weak attack at just the right moment -- something I never would have guessed.
So while many of the controls are exactly what you would expect from a hack and slash action game -- with weak attacks, strong attacks, and jumping exactly where you'd expect them to be -- other parts of Rising, like blocking are counterintuitive at best. And frankly, blocking is certainly important in a game where you fight a hyperactive dog with a chainsaw for a tail.