PAX Prime 2012: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance hands-on preview

It’s been several years since players have been able to control the angsty field operative code named Raiden, but with him coming out of his shell (quite literally so to speak) into the role of private cyborg ninja for hire, we’ll be able to finally play as the hardened super killer, courtesy of Platinum Games and Kojima Productions. Aside from all of the hype and fanboy love affairs, I was able to get a hands-on take with the preview build and find out just how grounded my expectations really were.

The task of catering to both action enthusiasts and Hardcore Metal Gear Solid ones can be a daunting task; with the central trademark of stealth being the antethisis of everything an action game stands for, Metal Gear Rising finds a satisfying balance for a fusion of ideas never thought to be possible. The first testament to this? The movement. Guiding Raiden between walk cycles and sprinting for ground cover and vaulting feel natural in every way, with the camera remaining consistent every step of the way. Initiating the Ninja dash allows you to not only travel faster, but also vault over smaller objects and evade on a deeper level with the option's contextual ineractivity between your surrounding enviornment. The unique draw in for MGR: Revengance is the new blade mode, an abillity in which Raiden slows time and excecutes several slices from his sword in quick sucession, each slice enacted with pin-point precision. Blade mode accomplishes this with the use of the right stick and a line reticle that telegraphs the slash trajection. Simply put, the mechanic is brilliant and implemented smoother than the sheen from the warrior’s sword itself.

Blade mode is put to the test near the very beginning; you’re given targets to elimnate and, during some point, you’re asked to slash your katana at specific angles. And again, the mechanic of pulling the stick in the direction you’re aiming for feels instinctinve within the first few trys. Revengance does for swordplay on a controller what Skyward Sword did for swordplay on the Wii.

You’re given the standard arsenal of melee moves with the typical strikes in the quick and/or heavy department, and like the blade mode, switching between the two in tandem is engagingly responsive. Blade mode can only be initiated as long as long as your batteries remain full; constantly using the mechanic will deplete it’s availabillity over time, and enforces the need for a balance between your standard melee. However, there is another, more effective alternative to regenerating your battery energy. During key moments of combat you’re also able to parry attacks, which will stun your attacker and any of  their commrades around into stupor, giving you another free opportunity to extend your combo meter and wipe the field of enemies.

All of the capabillities, based on perfomance scale while they’re used, give you a letter rating and yield points that will allow for upgrading your existing stats. Rising remembers its roots and throws ample opportunties for players to undertake a stealthy route. And with the immaculate response for movement, being stealthy gratifies you with every silent kill you make. Pulling off stealthy kills help replinsh the meter for your blade mode. You don't need to be an active lookout for a mob that hasn’t detected you yet, but the element is a nice touch that gives you an incentive to break down the fast pace if you care to do so.

The combat is also varied through the use of consumable sub-weapons that will come in handy during a pinch. For example, at some point within the build you encounter a large enemy helicopter that will attack using the advantage of its distance, and the only way of being able to close that gap is with launching a heat-seeking RPG through the same aim aliasing of blade mode, but with the difference of you aiming a traditional cursor.

Details within the graphics are surprsingly astounding, with moments depicting the remains of your victims being shredded to such intricately fine pieces so quickly drive home that lone wolf drive through the viceral graphics of your actions alone. The world within MGR: Revengance remains true to the backdrop of its premise as you fight your way through a world where privitized military malitia conquers the war market after all of the events of Metal Gear Solid 4, and the realization of the war profiteering continuing on without the slightest sign of slowing down wieghing down on Raiden.

Leaving the gameplay up to Platinum and the story and exposition to Kojima productions was a treat to see with them doing the best at what they do and finding a way to create the pleasing blend of Revengence. The game is slated out for release on Feburary 13, 2013, and will bure to slash its way into your consoles for some time if it plays anything like this build.

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