GameSpot editors Kevin VanOrd and Peter Brown have a lot in common, not the least of which is their love of Metal Gear Solid--and their love of developer Platinum Games. They both got their hands on the upcoming Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and offered to share their thoughts on this intriguing action game.
Kevin: One thing is clear from the beginning: Revengeance is not a Metal Gear Solid game. Instead, it's clearly the work of Platinum, the developer behind Bayonetta and Vanquish. Gone is the stealthiness of Metal Gear Solid. In its place? Fluid third-person action featuring slow-motion swordplay in which you guide your katana through enemies, boxes, and evil watermelons.
Peter: The speed of the gameplay in the Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance demo was typical Platinum fare, and if it weren’t for Raiden or an occasional cardboard box, it would be hard to accept it as a Metal Gear title. Be that as it may, the Metal Gear elements do more to complement Platinum's game than the other way around. Raiden is perfectly suited for their particular blend of speed and action, and if you were impressed with his gekko-slaying prowess in Metal Gear Solid 4, it's hard to imagine you wouldn't jump at the chance to take part in the decimation of gourd and alloy alike in Revengeance. It's not the Metal Gear we're used to, but I can't think of a better team than Platinum to tackle such an ambitious, action-oriented, spin-off.
Kevin: They're definitely up for the task. But I did ask the game's producers specifically about the Metal Gear connection. There are typical Metal Gear touches in Revengeance: you discover hidden foes in overturned cardboard boxes, for example. But the "Metal Gear" part is mainly coming from the story. This is Raiden's tale. We're to learn more about his background as a child soldier and how that history affects him now. The PMCs (private military corporations) have splintered into smaller subgroups who have obtained cybernetic technology. And our friend Raiden has a vested interest in the technology that allows him to exist as he is. But enough about story: Revengeance spoke most loudly with its gameplay.
Peter: Raiden's sword can be controlled in two ways: rapid and chaotic, or calculated and methodical. The freewheeling slicing and dicing was by far the most satisfying of the two techniques. It's not completely accurate, and you lose the ability to recharge Raiden's energy reserves, but I was repeatedly surprised by the rate at which he cut through seemingly impenetrable objects, such as a tank. The more deliberate Blade mode (think bullet time) wasn't without its strengths. When you engage Blade mode, the camera zooms in and you can directly influence the angle of Raiden's slice.
An example during the training section involved dispatching an enemy without causing harm to his frightened hostage. It will obviously take the proper balance of requisite techniques to maintain the game's momentum, and it would be a shame if Platinum felt pressured to obligatorily highlight Blade mode simply because it was a standout feature in Kojima Productions' early version of the game. Platinum's games tend to move at a hallmark pace, and speaking personally, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Kevin: The sense of speed Peter mentions carries over to Raiden's sprinting. In the demo, you speed across a collapsing bridge and then face a helicopter determined to destroy you with its missiles. When dealing with the helicopter, you must stay on the move if you want to stay alive--not that the demo was that difficult. (You do get assigned a letter grade based on your performance, however.) Luckily, Raiden doesn't just use a katana: he can also equip a missile launcher of his own. Missiles respawn about the arena if needed, and once the chopper is close to annihilation, you run up a volley of rockets in slow motion and eviscerate the thing. The whole demo was maybe about 10 minutes long, but there was a lot of excitement packed into it.
Peter: The brevity was the most disappointing part of the demo in my eyes. I thoroughly enjoyed what was available and left the booth eager to discover Raiden's true potential, so in that regard, Platinum has done its job. In previous trailers, we've seen dual sword wielding and something resembling a sonic-naginata, but we have no idea how they'll fit into the current formula. There's still a lot to discover about Revengeance's mechanics and story, so it's too early to call the transfer from Kojima to Platinum a complete success, but what we've seen so far is definitely promising.'