There are several things to keep in mind here: ever since Raiden stopped being such a whiny so-and-so and actually became pretty badass (I guess losing 80% of your natural body will do that to you), a game of his own was inevitable. It’s not going to be your typical MGS experience, yes, they are in danger of milking the franchise for all it’s worth now, and yes, Rising Revengeance is a silly, silly name. That said, as long as you embrace the more action/slice-em-up nature, RR can be a bit of a laugh. At this year’s Eurogamer Expo we had a quick hands-on session to see what was what.
Bear in mind, this is a slightly limited view into Revengeance – being a Metal Gear Solid game there’s going to be a lot more to it than what a brief hands-on demo can do. For those of you who haven’t really been keeping up with what Revengeance is, it’s an action game being developed by the same guys who did Vanquish and Bayonetta (you can kind of tell actually), and it’s set a few years after the events of MGS4. It was first announced in 2009 but it’s had a rocky development, with Platinum stepping in fairly late in the day to help finish the project and give it meaning beyond a kind of cool way to chop lemons. As we mentioned above, the stealth elements have been dialled down considerably here, instead focusing on planning and reconnaissance. You basically beat everything up, but you can do it in order to minimise crowding, and there’s still ways to ‘avoid’ enemies and perform sneak attacks.
Saying that, it’s still pretty story driven. The intro sequence to the demo we played was nearly five minutes long itself, and the action was interspersed with unnecessary bouts of talking segments. Not quite as ridiculous as MGS4 maybe, but still a tad annoying. The plot was originally going to be set between MGS2 and 4, detailing the rise of Raiden from wuss to the bad-ass ninja cyborg we love today. After the project was cancelled and revived again however, things were shifted to post MG24, where you’re helping aid the recovery of a random country that’s in the middle of a civil war. Raiden will be working for the PMC Maverick Securities, and will be aided by a brand new ensemble cast, with new classic ‘Character’ Protagonists blocking his path.
"So... am I supposed to eat this or what? I don’t do rare"
The core combat of Revengeance seems to be a mixture of combos and timing. You have a standard and heavy attack, much like many action games, which you can fire off in combos (along with jumping extra), and the attacks have different effects depending on what you’re fighting. You also have ‘Blade Mode’, which is activated by holding down L2. When you do this, the world around you goes into Slow-mo, and the blade arch interface which was showed even before the ‘Revengeance’ tag comes up. The point of this mode is to do slower, more precise cuts along a straight arch, and is fairly entertaining with melons. In reality though, it’s a very specific mode that can only be used in very specific instances. We practiced a system of getting in some combos on an enemy until they’re a bit stunned, then activating Blade Mode (which increases the stun window) and slicing them into two or more pieces. Doing this also seems to be the only way you can replenish your health – the regular enemies you face are all cyborgs, with spinal chocks full of yummy goodness that you can absorb to replenish yourself. The only way to get at them though is to slice them around the midriff and chain a rather gruesome QTE.
It’s probably best if you forget that this is a Metal Gear Solid game and just think of it as a futuristic action game, like Vanquish was. Thinking of it in those terms, this is probably going to turn out to be pretty fun – you all remember that MGS4 trailer where Raiden dicks over a whole load of mechs, right? Well now you can do that yourself, which should be entertaining. One must always be cautious with games that have had troubled development like Revengeance… Future Soldier, Duke Nukem, Too Human, so many games that slip like this end up with underlying issues, like a child raised in a bad family environment, but so far none of that is showing. Sadly, even with the project rising again from the ashes, the PC version has stayed cancelled, but you can expect the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions to land on February 19th in North America, and February 21st in Europe, 2013.
Most Anticipated Feature:With a game like this, it’s all about the combat mechanics and how they evolve over time. Hopefully it won’t disappoint.