A Look Back On Metal Gear Rising’s Last Boss, Who Wanted To Make America Great Again

A Look Back On Metal Gear Rising’s Last Boss, Who Wanted To Make America Great Again

America’s Election Day is tomorrow. America might elect a jackarse to be their leader, and I am terrified. To cope, I recently played 2013’s Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and fought a power-crazed politician using my cyborg ninja powers.

Senator Steven Armstrong is not a good man. He is the financier of two private military companies, the main conspirator in a plot to brainwash children into child soldiers and an instigator who exploits Americans’ hot tempers by inciting war in the Middle East. Revengeance positions him as a symbol of crass warmongering and deliberately invokes phrases and rhetoric from the second Bush Administration when talking about his plots. Characters fear that his manufactured conflict will come to fruition because “the media and the public won’t be able to resist” and caution each other to “remember WMDs in Iraq”.

In the game’s climax (spoilers, obviously), he orchestrates an attempt on the president’s life during a trip to Pakistan. Our hero, Raiden, thwarts these efforts and confronts Armstrong in person. As he espouses his philosophy, he begins to sound like a certain billionaire turned Republican candidate. He is openly derisive of the “pansies” in Washington, seeking a world where “the law changes to suit the individual, not the other way around”.

Revengeance was released three years ago, before Trump began his nightmarish rise toward the Oval Office. Armstrong is a fictional exaggeration of American excess. He is a cartoonish caricature of the worst elements of US politics. Yet, here he is spouting Trump’s campaign slogan: “Make America Great Again.”

Both are masters of capitalising on American fears. For Armstrong, it is the spectre of oversea threats. For Trump, it is a slew of domestic boogeymen that speak to the anxieties of many in his voting block: The fear of rapist Mexicans, hidden Jihadists and others who threaten to take the US away from hard-working, white-bread Jim McGee.

One of the terrifying commonalities between Armstrong and Trump is the fact that they both seem unstoppable. Trump persists after a host of controversies and public statements that should paint him as unelectable. Raiden cannot hurt Armstrong. The Senator has advanced nanomachines that keep him sheltered from physical trauma.

The sad truth at the core of Revengeance is that defeating a foe like Armstrong might mean abandoning certain principles you held dear. Throughout this election, I have watched with dismay as Trump supporters committed violence against their fellow Americans and cheered on happily as Trump has derided minorities and protesters. Throughout it all, liberals have insisted he deserves an equal voice and that his supporters deserve my empathy. But I am not obligated to turn my cheek and tolerate racism, homophobia or fascism.

Enough is enough. One of the things that allowed Trump to thrive was a damnable complacency that insisted he deserved a spot at the head of the table of public discourse. This is a fallacy that he had handily exploited to spread a message of hate and intolerance. At one time, I would have urged this patience and insisted with misplaced idealism that we should at least hear him out. No more. This idealism is a lie. It is a trap. We should not abide the ramblings of fools and madmen simply to be polite.

Throughout Revengeance, Raiden insists that his sword is a “tool of justice”. He is a protector of the weak. He holds onto an idealistic notion of samurai justice. His rival is Samuel Rodrigues, a cocky swordsman who dismisses Raiden’s idealism as impractical in the modern age. During the fight with Armstrong, the Senator breaks Raiden’s sword. He symbolically crushes the representation of Raiden’s idealism. It is only by fighting with Sam’s sword that Raiden can defeat Armstrong.

The world of Revengeance is inescapably violent. Raiden can only prevail by cutting down his foe. Luckily, we don’t need swords to defeat Trump, just votes. I’ll do my part with a resounding “No, we won’t” that echoes loud and, after tomorrow, hopefully cows the bad-haired would-be tyrant into irrelevance. But I can’t do this alone. I need people to fight back with me.


  • “America’s Election Day is tomorrow. America might elect a jackarse to be their leader, and I am terrified.”
    Barring a 500/1 win by an independent, I think that’s guaranteed.

    • Came to say exactly this. Although at least Turd Sandwich tries to hide it.

      Then again, a win for Giant Douche would lead to a much more amusing-to-watch 4 years.

  • Look on the bright side… think of it like triage in a hospital.

    Hillary’s awful… but the kind of awful that the US has been living with for a long time. All that corporate oligarchy bullshit that worsens income inequality that’s the root cause of most of the nation’s problems isn’t urgent enough that anything will actually change with her in the big chair. Nothing will change. It’ll be more of the same, just getting slowly sicker and sicker.

    But Trump is just so much worse that maybe… just maybe the metaphorical triage nurse will escalate the nation’s case to get seen to before everything starts outright shutting down and failing catastrophically. It’ll be like five minutes before the fucker gets himself impeached for [oh god I don’t know pick a number any number], and some damage control will have to happen. America will have to look at itself in the mirror and say, “Wow. OK. Actually, it really is that bad. This can’t be ignored, we have to actually do something.”

    Maybe. Maybe.

        • Probably because it’d be in-character.

          Why would someone who has respect for women commit – and brag about, when he thought no-one was listening – sexual assault?
          Why would someone who has responsible fiscal policy be driven into bankruptcy/administration (four times)?
          Why would someone who demands the records of campaigning candidates refuse to divulge their own?
          Why would someone refuse to accept an electoral result as valid unless it goes the way they want?
          Why would someone continue to insist that they haven’t said something when there is video footage of them saying it?

  • I like Raiden’s monologue once he gets the new sword rambling about how he used to think his sword was a tool of justice, yadda yadda, maybe he was wrong, etc…
    “Besides, this isn’t my sword”
    Such a cheesy perfect badass line.

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