At this year's Tokyo Game Show, I was thrilled to be able to play the demo for the newest spin-off of the Metal Gear Solid franchise, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. I admit it wasn't so much for the MGS moniker... I like the MGS games, but they're not my favorite things ever. No, I was thrilled because I am a huge action game fan, and Revengeance looked like it had that in spades.
Revengeance is different from past Metal Gear games, in that Snake is not the main protagonist: Raiden is. Now before everyone who remembers MGS2 runs screaming for the hills, rest assured that this is awesome cyborg Raiden, not whiny pansy Raiden from 2. Also different is, well, everything. Gone are most guns (although rocket launchers are still around for your explosion pleasure), exclamation points and boxes. Still present are enemies to kill, metal gears walking around, crazy boss fights, and Hideo Kojima's ever-present wacky sense of humor. New to the game is crazy fast-paced action, swords, and slow-motion human dismemberment. Yay!
Revengeance uses a new game mechanic in which pressing the L1 button initiates a slow-motion sequence, where you then control the movement of Raiden's sword with the thumbsticks to cut your opponents into human sashimi. Left thumbstick changes the camera, or where you are actually aiming, while the right thumbstick changes the angle of your cut. If you line up your cuts just right, you can then hit a button to initiate a special 'finishing' move, which in the demo we saw usually involved ripping out your opponent's spine. Using the thumbsticks to control the slow-motion cuts was a little awkward, but that seemed to be more the fault of having just a 15 minute demo to get used to such a unique control scheme; I doubt it will be a problem for most people in the actual game. Of course, you don't have to initialize the slow-motion to do massive damage; you can attack with your sword using the face buttons just fine in normal time. Holding down the R1 button makes you run around like a mad ninja, scaling walls and sliding into all obstacles in your path and destroying them. You can also slide under incoming enemies, then initiate a slo-mo sequence, and slice your enemy's underside as you slide beneath them. Did I mention the slicing? There's a lot of slicing.
The graphics for the game are gorgeous, but honestly anyone who's seen MGS4 was expecting that. The story is... honestly I have no idea what the story is like. I started skipping all the cutscenes, because I only had 15 minutes with the demo, and I wanted to get to the slicey action goodness. I imagine the story will be filled with the political intrigue and dramatics that have characterized the series up to this point. Honestly though, the story is a moot point, because the action makes this game a must-buy for me. It's a good thing they included the slow-motion killing, as it's the only way the game gives your eyes a break. Yes, there's also the occasional sneaking, but all that involves is slowly walking up to an enemy's back and running him through with your sword (you don't even have to crouch or anything). With the R1 super-speedy ninja dash action though, honestly my eyes sometimes had a hard time keeping up. It reminded me of the combat in another Kojima game, Zone of the Enders, in the best way: "AHHHH! Too fast, too fast! What... wait, that was awesome! Oh my god, this is even cooler! Bring on the next enemy!" ... Basically, once you get used to the pace, you'll enjoy running around like a crazed ninja, slicing and dicing, with the occasional slow-motion poetic dismemberment, just as much as I did.
If you are a fan of awesomely fast-paced action games, or a fan of the Metal Gear Solid series, or possibly even both, you owe it to yourself to pick up this game. May I humbly recommend that you pick up the Zone of the Enders HD collection that's releasing on the 30th of this month? Not only will ZoE prepare your eyes for the insane action that awaits you, but as it's a Kojima game, it comes with a demo of Revengeance. I imagine it will be longer than the 15 minutes I was able to experience, and you have to ask yourself: if that limited amount of time has me this jazzed for the game, what will a full-length demo do for you?