Saturday afternoon we brought you the leaked Metal Gear Rising: Revengance trailer. The response was, well, mixed at best, some advocating for Platinum Games' over-the-top game design style while others lamenting the original tech demo. I found it to look quite fun in a way that could surpass the Ninja Gaiden series, my go-to slice-and-dice experience. For the naysayers however I ask that you keep an open mind about the new vision of Rising because you really have no other choice: the original vision of Rising was cancelled last year.
Yes, you read that right. 18 months ago Rising was revealed to the world and while it looked competent during E3 2010, looking back, I find myself having trouble figuring out how you can take that tech demo and make it into a proper, AAA Metal Gear experience.
Take a look at the E3 2010 trailer.
Playing as Raiden was something you definitely didn't want to do until the first few trailers for Metal Gear Solid 4 came out. Suddenly, and without warning, one of the most bashed characters from last generation became the most wanted of this generation in a transformation that turned him from wannabe Snake pansy into a sword-wielding, amazing badass. The trailer above and his scenes in MGS4 reflect that but the thing that I guess people (including myself up until yesterday) didn't seem to realize is that the MGS saga has been about an underdog character having to take on an almost impossible task to save the world. Snake was a character faced with a series of superpowered foes and hundreds of minions who could very easily put him in his place. He was the hero that rose to prominence in each game by starting out with nothing and became stronger over time.
Raiden on the other hand, as the character we saw in MGS4, is the exact opposite of Snake. As a cyborg, Raiden is capable of incredible feats that push him beyond the capabilities of any normal human being. He's perfect for his own game. However, as a Metal Gear Solid title, he would be incredibly overpowered, nigh gamebreaking. I mean, look at the trailer from E3 2010. Did it look like any of those enemies stood a chance? A pillar of game design is having a system that can, at the minimum, meet or exceeed the player in terms of skill and keep him/her in check. That certainly wouldn't have been possible in the tech demo we saw last year and given that Kojima productions staff made multiple tech demos to try and find a way to do so it clearly wouldn't work with a design based on Metal Gear Solid 4.
Another thing that comes to mind about Rising is that it was originally set to be a Metal Gear Solid title. Having those three words in its name implies a lot of things, most prominent among them being a focus on stealth gameplay. As powerful as Raiden was in that tech demo it certainly would have been an almost impossible task to keep the player from decimating everything in his/her path. Sneaking would all but be negated when you have the capacity to be an unstoppable killing machine and Snake was never such a character. Raiden can be that and more. Ask yourself this: do you really believe that, had Raiden been a playable character in Metal Gear Solid 4, you would have played him in the same manner as you did Snake? From what we can tell the tech demo was based heavily around MGS4's gameplay so, given just how powerful he is, I think you'll bow your head with me and say "no."
Looking at the new trailer I can't help but feel that you actually get to do almost everything you wanted to and more. Chop enemies into tiny bits? Check. Environmental destruction? You saw that car get sliced up, right? Check. Fast-paced combat? Definite check.
The largest complaint to be found seems to be the change in style. Given that the project was handed off to Platinum I think it's fair to suggest that they've either heavily modified the MGS4 engine if not switched to a new one altogether. Is that inherently a bad thing? Sure, it may look a bit different and some of the designs certainly differ from their MGS4 counterparts (the Ray unit with a sword-esque arm stands out) but it still looks like a Metal Gear title given the enemy designs and the environments. Rising's fiction is set years after MGS4, not between 2 and 4 like it was in the original tech demo so it's fair that the enemies present would be quite different.
Platinum is capable of complimenting Raiden's gameplay demands by providing a game with challenges only a cyborg ninja could take on. I think what most of the naysayers are saying that they want a new Metal Gear title but specifically desire a new Metal Gear Solid. With Post-MGS2 Raiden as the main character this simply doesn't seem possible to me. Raiden was originally meant to be a character who could replace Snake as the protagonist and and his revisioning three years ago made this impossible within the scope of Metal Gear Solid's core game design. With a new Metal Gear series though Raiden has a chance to shine and his new nature allows him to explore a world beyond Solid Snake like Kojima meant to last generation.
Platinum Games has made strides this generation by providing us gaming experiences far different from what we've ever experienced before. I personally look forward to seeing what they can bring to the series and perhaps forever take the crown of the third-person hack-n-slash genre.
Plus, think about this: with Kojima Productions producing instead of developing, this frees them up for a new project. Zone of the Enders 3 anyone?
Here's a newly released extended trailer for Revengance. You only get a few seconds more footage of the Ray fight at 1:39 but the ending is what you want to stay tuned for as it show off Raiden cutting a cardboard box in half with a hiding enemy inside remaining intact. Gimmick, or is the cutting just as precise as it was in the original tech demo?