The Metal Gear franchise is quite exceptional; tackling the subject of grim, brutal war and viewing it in a sort of sideways zany perspective, Hideo Kojima came from a throwaway piece of NES software to a multi-title franchise, replete with its own fandom and laden with meme-grade tributes. The most recent entry in the series, Metal Gear Rising Revengeance, picks up with the only protagonist left, and pushes him from a sneaking soldier role to more of an aggressive role.
Visually, the title is impressive; Metal Gear titles never fail to impress. Raiden, previously a skinny, whiny man child, is now a seething mass of cybernetic muscle with high heels. And unlike Bayonetta, the high heels aren't a feature of the character. The supporting characters are caricatures of non-Japanese folk, but unique enough to know what kind of information they are throwing your way. Though one point must be mentioned to the industry as a whole: It is not strictly necessary to decorate female characters with a giant rack, nor a bit of her bra made visible by the dimensions of said rack. I could have respected Courtney without feeling awkward seeing her undergarments whilst she talks to me about saving my game.
Audibly, the title is amazing. The voice acting is the right kind of camp, though Raidens voice actor is clearly trying to get a bit of the Snake growl into his voice, and it doesn't work. Raiden is still the odd, non-sensical soldier we all love, but armed with a magic vibrosword that cuts everything. The enemies aren't as distinct against the environment as one would like, but overall, everything looks good, especially the cutaways of everything that exists.
Gameplay wise, this plays a lot like Devil May Cry or Bayonetta. The focus is on combat with style; in addition to a light attack, typically done with a sword, players can also use Blade Mode, an odd perspective that allows players to free-slice enemies and many, many objects in any way they choose, neatly slicing those enemies and objects into parts as defined by those cuts; a slice at center mass will separate the torso of an enemy, or the roof of a car, at the angle of that slice.
Actual combat is frenetic; the demo never truly gave the player a chance to get used to the pace they are expected to maintain, lending a steep learning curve to the experience. Once players figure out how combat works, it is alarmingly easy not only to defeat ones enemies, but to do it stylishly. Combat is really the only place to regain health; by executing a specific QTE mid-skirmish, Raiden can be made to rip the spine out of cyborg or robotic enemies and destroy it, collecting vital electrolytes that will repair damage and refill the focus meter.
Now the bad; thankfully, there isn't a lot of it so far. The lack of a comprehensive tutorial or a scale up in difficulty to allow players the chance to develop their own combat style seems like a harsh choice; players appear to be expected to play correctly or die. It's hard to say, definitively, how bad things are until a full playthrough is completed.
Overall, Metal Gear Rising Revengeance looks to be a worthy title, and with a launch date of February 19, players will certainly want to pick a copy of this title up.
Spokanites can learn more about MGRR at its official website. And do keep an eye on Game Sammich, a new video podcast featuring a number of friends discussing issues important to you. As always, anyone up for a game can find me on Xbox Live @OperatorJames.