A Different Gear: Hands on with the Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Demo
Nothing about Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance caught my eye. Another installation in a series of games I don’t particularly enjoy doesn’t really produce any excitement within my sacrilegious heart. Regardless, I half-heartedly downloaded the Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance demo and left it sitting in my lonely PlayStation. However after a five hour session of Ni no Kuni I needed a bit of a distraction. So I lazily gripped my controller, grabbed a bag of salt and vinegar chips, and began what I thought would be a half an hour of somewhat enjoyable gaming.
I didn’t eat one chip. My concentration was held by the ex-pretty boy turned cyborg infused killing machine, as I slashed and kick-slashed (He puts his sword on his foot!!!) my way through thirty minutes of demo. During my playtime I almost forgot that I was playing a Metal Gear game. That’s because this is not a Metal Gear game. Sure it’s got the same title, but who pays attention to those “title” things anyways? Developed by Platinum Games, the guys and gals behind Okami and Viewtiful Joe, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a hack and slash action game. Kojima Productions and Platinum Games have taken a big gamble by creating this game. Anytime a huge franchise like Metal Gear makes a drastic change there is always a risk. The risk has paid off. I enjoyed this thirty minute demo more than I have enjoyed any other portion of the other Metal Gear games. (Read this next part in your best whiny, partially whimpering, fanboy voice) “But Griffin that’s impossible because Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots is the best game ever made.” Sure, whatever……
I enjoyed this demo for two reasons: the first, and most obvious, reason is the combat. The combat is ggggrrrrreeaaaatttt. Hacking and slashing is fun and fluid, but given a twist through its block system, which is absolutely necessary and challenging to get used to. Raiden has the ability to block from any direction although expect it to take some to get the hang of the blocking. This paired alongside an inability to defeat legions of enemies at once makes the combat feel fresh and less like God of War/DMC. Yet, your ability to embody complete badassness is not hindered by the amount of enemies you can fight at once. Raiden, the games protagonist, is one stylish mother f-er. Kill animations are particularly enjoyable, as they are epic and have that over the top Metal Gear style. However, it doesn’t feel like a copy of franchises like God of War. It keeps the Metal Gear style that so many fans adore. I enjoyed the use of Blade Mode, which has players go into bullet time and control Raiden’s blade more accurately. It’s super awesome! Another cool addition, or rather consistency, is the implementation of stealth. The demo does not show all there is to offer in terms of stealth and combat, but situations can be tackled from different strategies. Like I said before, you cannot plow your way through enemies and therefore having a stealth option is appropriate.
The other, and less obvious, reason I enjoyed the demo was because of its sound. This seems like a very miniscule thing, but the sound was fantastic. One moment resonates with me the most: The demo ends with a “boss fight” in which your basic skills are certainly put to the test (I died four or five times). About two-thirds of the way through pummeling the boss, a completely epic and fitting song begins to play in the background. Some sort of heavier rock song began to blast through my headphones as the last stretch of the boss fight commenced. It made the experience epic! Again, this type of thing seems small, but it was quite a defining experience. It made the eventual defeat of my foe even more pleasurable. The demo ended and I walked away feeling like a boss!
In addition, the game looks gorgeous. Environments are lush and have that quintessential Metal Gear look. And they’re completely interactive; you can destroy pretty much any small object in the environment. Random boxes? No problem. Garbage cans? No problem! Cars? Ha. No Problem! This game will be interesting to see upon its release on February 19th (NA), as it can only get prettier. I’ll admit that the demo got me excited. A rarity, as I don’t have any particular love for the Metal Gear series. As for those of you that do love the series, be wary. This game is very different. Sure, the style and the art is all the same, but the gameplay is completely unique. It is an action game with stealth components, but the action is very very very different. This is good, and bad. Certain players won’t enjoy the change and will be eager to play the “old” Metal Gear games. Others will be happy with the alterations and will embrace them. Either way check the game out. I feel the demo is a pretty accurate representation of what the actual game will be like. If you’re a die hard Snake fan who loves crawling through the grass and watching hours worth of cutscenes, check it out. If you’re like me, someone who hears about Metal Gear Solid and thinks “eh”, check it out.
My advice is to give the game a chance. A lot of risk was taken by making such drastic changes to a beloved franchise and I believe they have done something great. I don’t know if I will pick up the game on day one, the upcoming spring season has already got my wallet in a ball-clinching vice, but I will get it eventually and I expect to enjoy it fervently. The demo is free on the PlayStation Network so go download Metal Gear Solid: Revengeance, plug in some headphones, pointlessly grab a bag of chips, and slash up some cyborg ass for the next thirty minutes.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance arrives in North America on February 19th, in Japan and Australia on February 21st, and in Europe on February 22nd for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.