Usually, when new words are formed in a language, it is for the express purpose of creating meaning for something new or unfamiliar. The car was something that moved my itself; something automatically mobile: the automobile was born. Taking two synonymous words and mixing them together therefore seems a bit redundant to me. Revengeance is a combination of revenge and vengeance but even as a man who constantly writes “videogames” as one word, I simply cannot feel comfortable with that. Despite the funny-sounding name, however, after having some hands-on time with the game at this year’s Gamescom, I cannot but admit that my attention has been drawn to it.
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is a game in the Metal Gear franchise, with which every gamer should be in some way familiar. The game’s story focuses on the life of Raiden, a cyborg ninja who first appeared in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. Raiden reappeared in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots in a drastically different form than players remembered him. The reason for this is that he had been bionically enhanced in numerous ways in the interval between the two games. In Revengeance, you will experience Raiden’s life as a mercenary and see how he changes, step-by-step, from a regular human fighter with some minor surgical enhancements to a fully-bionic, superhuman, cyborg killing machine.
Although the game follows Kojima Productions’ tradition of visual excellence, it feels drastically different to play compared to Guns of the Patriots. Where Solid Snake utilised tactics and stealth in addition to heavily modified weaponry in order to complete his objectives, Raiden is all about speed, quick takedowns, and his iconic ultra-sharp katana sword. Anything, save for the ground itself, is cutable and heavy falling objects do quite a bit of damage. This means that the player can bring down anything from bridges to Ferris wheels on top of his enemies, if he is feeling more creative than rushing in flailing the sword around allows. Even though the game has no stealth system, it does feature the same line-of-sight system as Guns of the Patriots allowing the player to initiate quick takedowns if he manages to get close to an enemy from behind.
The sword attacks from Raiden come in two different modes. First is your standard hack-and-slash square-for-fast and triangle-for-heavy attacks; but the second, the precision blade mode, is where things get interesting. When this mode is activated, time slows down and a line appears in front of Raiden. This line represents his swing. The player can then adjust the angle of the swing for precision slices through enemy weak points or in order to slice the arm off an enemy without injuring his hostage. This system even allows the player to disarm his enemies simply by cutting their fingers off.
Raiden’s augmentations are driven by nanotechnology and most enemies rely on the same power source. When certain spots are sliced through on some enemies, a QTE notice appears. If the player successfully hits that QTE, Raiden will reach into his enemy’s body and tear his energy source out intact before consuming it for himself, recharging his own cells. The QTE’s we saw were clear enough, but whether the game wanted us to tap the button or hold it down was less clear. The controls were also a bit confusing in the beginning, but after the first couple of fights the controller will melt into your hands and become a natural extension of your body.
The game feels intense and looks beautiful. Featuring the same kind of semi-open maps as Guns of the Patriots, the player is able to choose his route through the numerous challenges the levels pose. Exciting boss battles wait on the other side and all I can say is that cleaving a helicopter in twain in slow motion and watching it fall down in flames behind you feels absolutely superb. I will definitely be keeping a close eye on this one. Especially with the promise of shorter cutscenes.