Posted on Wednesday, February 6th, 2013 at 12:45 PM by Tim Bowers
I’d bet my bottom dollar that if you asked a Metal Gear fan what his favourite aspect of the series was, he’d reply ‘Snake’. He’s up there with John Marston and a certain moustachioed plumber as one of the most loved characters of all time. It was bold then of Hideo Kojima to ask his fans to take Raiden to heart as much as his previous, superior protagonist, and as a result when Raiden stood in the spotlight in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, he was met rather unfairly with disdain. So how do you re-imagine and re-package a character who fans were unwilling to accept? You turn him into a cyborg ninja. Well played, Kojima.
Seasoned Metal Gear fans will be expecting an addition to their favourite, over-the-top espionage series, but they’ll be met with something completely different. I remember playing the first Metal Gear as a wide-eyed child and thinking ‘I want to play as the awesome blue ninja, Gray Fox (or Frank to his friends)’ and the newest game might be the closest we can get. Platinum, of Anarchy Reigns and Vanquish fame, have been trusted with handling the development of the newest addition to the venerable series, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. This means that instead of seeing Raiden disguised as a cardboard box or crawling round on his belly avoiding guards, we’re going to see Raiden carving up baddies with an electric-sword at eye-watering speed, and I for one welcome this change. It’s refreshing to see a new developer having the guts to take the series into new, unexplored territories in a way that 343 Industries didn’t really attempt with Halo 4.
The game is set a few years after Guns of the Patriots, and from what I can gather the game will deliver a conspiracy-fuelled tale of greed and hidden agendas, which is what I’ve come to expect from the series. Talk of PMC’s and civil unrest sound familiar, leaving me hoping for a sophisticated blend between adrenaline pumping, combo-building action and well-written exposition. I’m particularly intrigued by the emphasis on the ‘Jack the Ripper’ side of Raiden’s personality and his attempts to retain his humanity whilst controlling a body made mechanical and cold by implants and whilst being swamped by revenge. I’m anticipating skewed morality and inner-conflicts intelligently weaved into the narrative, and I’m excited.
Obviously the new Metal Gear has great graphics (which is to be expected) but it also has very pleasing aesthetics that seem to emphasise lightning and rain, which is in keeping with the volatile nature of the conflicted, mechanistic protagonist, who seems to have been reduced to a half-human puppet by a ‘peace-keeping’ private military company. The demo, clocking in at about 20 minutes, showcases the new, emotionally-numb protagonist and the new, drastically altered combat system. Stealth fans may be disappointed at the radical departure from the espionage-orientated gameplay of the other Metal Gear games, but I know they’ll be plenty of fans of Platinum’s trade-mark face-paced, frenetic combat rubbing their hands will glee. The demo lets the player test-drive Raiden and experience a fluent yet brutal combat system in which the player competently turns enemies into Lego-sized blocks. As well as standard ‘light attack/heavy attack’, the game has an innovative and exciting feature called ‘free blade mode’ in which the player controls Raiden’s sword with the right analogue stick, meaning that instead of simply button mashing and watching your character flip around whilst butchering your enemies, the player can actually feel in complete control of the awesome action taking place. Good news! It also keeps Metal Gear’s trademark codec communication system intact! And there I was, worrying about it.
Let’s get this straight: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance seems bonkers. A super-charged robot-ninja massacring countless enemies with the same empathy you’d have for lettuce whilst you tossed a salad. The game has certainly shown its teeth, I’m just hoping that the story and character development live up to the game play.
I think a positive consequence of the forthcoming Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is that it will potentially introduce two very different fan bases to new experiences. Fans of the intricate combat of games like Bayonetta will experience the complex, mechanistic feel of a Metal Gear game, if the newest addition maintains the same feel as the others (which I sincerely hope it does). The fan base of Metal Gear will experience flowing, adrenaline-fueled combat. I’m relishing the opportunity to find out whether Platinum and Metal Gear will be a match made in heaven resulting in a triumph like Square Enix and Disney’s Kingdom Hearts, or whether it will be a disastrous combination like vanilla and coke.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is due for release in February, 2013. It will be available on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3