Demo Impressions: ‘Metal Gear Rising Revengeance’

Konami released the “Zone of the Enders HD Collection” this past Tuesday in North America  and came with an exclusive demo for the highly anticipated “Metal Gear Rising Revengeance.”

“Metal Gear Rising Revengeance” takes place four years post “Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots” where cybernetic soldiers are becoming more and more common in warfare.

Rather than playing as a traditional super soldier with Snake in the codename, you assume the role of series veteran Raiden. As a sword-wielding cyborg, Raiden has become stronger and more skillful since we last saw him in Metal Gear Solid 4. Raiden now works with Maverick Security Consulting, a military company on a mission to maintain peace throughout the world.

The demo has Maverick sending Raiden on a mission to Abkhazia to eliminate hostiles from a group known as the Desperado Enforcement and restore the governmental authority.

Instead of the series’ traditional stealth gameplay, Rising does a complete 180 with over the top action hack-and-slash sword-play where you will often fight cybernetic foes similar to Raiden as well as the series’ signature over-the-top enemies.

As someone who is not usually into action games like Rising, I was overall pleased with the shift in gameplay. Battles are exhilarating, fast-paced, require you to really pay attention to your surroundings and always left me satisfied when I defeated a wave of cybernetic foes. The game does not hold your hand as you play and will require some serious skill if you want to master it.

After each fight, various stats are brought up to show you how well you did. Depending on how well your battle ranking is, you will earn battle points. Though the demo did not state the purpose of battle points, I can only assume they will go towards upgrades for Raiden.

One of Rising’s biggest selling points is the ability to cut virtually everything around you whether you are in combat or not, and it was something the demo showed off really well. Before I started the game, I was taken to a VR (virtual reality) simulation that taught me the basics of the game while also emphasizing the game’s ability to cut through physical objects.

By going into Free Blade Mode, I was able to cut through most objects around me in any way I wanted using the right joystick to direct which way my sword would slash. As weird as this will probably sound, it was mesmerizing to see a watermelon and other objects such as cars slashed into thin pieces from cutting it any way I wanted it. Cutting through cybernetic soldiers in Free Blade Mode was a visually twisted treat since I could see their insides while shredding them apart limb by limb.

This kind of physics is almost non-existent in video games and it should be commended if this is just a sample of the final product.

Although the gameplay and ability to cut through anything is remarkable, there were a couple of problems I encountered in the demo, mainly dealing with the camera.

Often times when I was in a chaotic fight, the camera either stuck itself to the wall or it left me unable to see the enemies in my surroundings. The camera was also pretty slow when I was trying to turn it around so I could avoid getting squashed by a Gekko.

The other problem is the parrying mechanic and absence of dodging. Though the parrying mechanic is different from other action games and was a bit frustrating to use at first, I was finally able to utilize it, but there were some times where it simply did not work when I performed the action to use it.

Not being able to dodge was also a problem during a few fights. I understand the parrying system is trying to be different from others found in actions games, but when there is not much I can do to avoid harm from the blast of a grenade or not having enough time to parry the strike from an enemy, it hindered the fun experience of playing the game.

Even with the chaotic gameplay and impressive physics, the game somehow manages to look stunning. The demo also maintained a silky smooth framerate at a consistent 60 frames per second on the Playstation 3.

If you are a Metal Gear fan and fear that Rising will not feel like a Metal Gear game, then you can put those worries to rest. The demo showed how the game retains a plethora of elements from the series including great voice acting, interesting characters, crazy boss fights, a frivolous amount of acronyms hardly anyone can keep up with, having conversations via Codec with your team, lengthier-than-an-average-games’ cutscenes and what seems like an intriguing story. There was also one stealth optional segment, but the combat is too much fun to simply sneak through.

After waiting over three years to finally get my hands on some form of “Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance,” I can say with full confidence that I am quite excited to play the game when it launches in North America on Feb. 19, 2013 for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.