Developer: Platinum Games
Platforms: Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Version tested: PlayStation 3
The videogame industry has a peculiar tendency to invent seemingly nonsensical words and phrases, with developers and publishers alike in a bemusing, baffling and seemingly unending battle to unlose that unleast uncoveted of awards: worst name ever.
Infinite Undiscovery? Bravely Default? Beyond the Beyond? Peter Jackson’s King Kong: The Official Game of the Movie? All bloody travesties in their own right, but there’s a new challenger on the block: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Hideo Kojima himself was actually present at this year’s Eurogamer Expo, leading many people to do a wee in their pants. In London on officially official business, Kojima-san presented his own keynote at Earl’s Court along with the likes of Ralph Fulton, David Vonderhaar and Peter Molyneux,
His latest creation – Rising – was also playable on the show floor. We skipped the queues to bring you some impressions. If you’ve been keeping tabs on Revengeance, you’ll already know that it’s a fairly radical departure for the Metal Gear series, trading Tactical Espionage Action for Lightning Bolt Action. Obviously. In truth, Raiden’s latest outing shares more in common with the Devil May Cry series than it does with Metal Gear Solid, with free-flowing hack’n'slash combat.
We’re going to glance over any storyline aspects and focus solely on the gameplay for two simple reasons: 1. For the sake of spoilers and whatnot, and 2. Having only 20 minutes playtime, we had to skip most of the cinematics, plus the speakers were turned down way too low. We didn’t really know what was going on; Kojima’s plotlines are hard enough to make sense of as it is.
The demo starts off with a quick tutorial showing you how to use the combat system. It’s fairly straightforward with the typical quick attacks and strong attacks. Land successful hits, though, and you’ll fill up a bar which, when full, allows you to enter a kind of slow-mo free-slice mode by holding down L2. From here, you can angle your slashes to your preference and quickly link them up for some serious damage. Enemy bodies react accordingly with full dismemberment. Gruesome stuff.
It all works well in practice, but it kind of falls apart when the enemies start coming thick and fast. In the demo build, there was no way to lock on to enemies, making it fiendishly difficult to target a specific threat, especially when Raiden is feverishly dashing and leaping about the place like a rabbit on MDMA. In addition, the camera, which is a little bit close for comfort, can’t be centred behind Raiden, making it a pain in the arse to keep track of the action effectively, especially when you’ve got ridiculously agile henchmen coming at you from all angles.
What’s more, you have to be academically close to an enemy if you want to use free slice; the game will not help you in any fashion. Combat sort of becomes a bit hit and hope. The last thing I wanted this game to be was a button-basher. so hopefully these issues will be resolved in the final game as the combat has a lot of potential. Granted, I’m not exactly a hack’n'slash veteran, but I managed to rack up an A-combo on the new DmC game about five minutes later to give some perspective.
Though I only had time to watch a few, the cinematics are fantastically stylish and brilliantly choreographed, delivering all the nuttiness you’d expect from a Kojima production. Platinum seems to have nailed a tone for the game – it’s insane. Some MGS fans may be disconcerted to see 20-foot Metal Gears hopping and prancing around the place like overexcitable puppies going for walkies, but get used to it.
Graphically, the game is a mixed bag. For example, outside of cutscenes, Raiden’s hair looks really odd. Backgrounds and skyboxes look decidedly poor, and what’s more, the game looks to be running at a sub-HD resolution. A strange mesh-effect filter does nothing to help matters. Other areas such as character models and environmental objects look great, however.
I heard a few comments around the booth suggesting that this game should have been kept separate from the Metal Gear canon as its own IP. Nevertheless, it’s sure to be a must-have purchase for anyone invested in Kojima’s work.