Xav de Matos: When that first gameplay footage was presented, Rising's vision didn't seem feasible. Slicing everything in the environment? That would have been a designer's nightmare. I would just cut a hole through every building and get to the end of the game! Up until Platinum was rumored to be helping on it, we were hearing the game was dead. There was even a report that it was canceled internally, right?
Yes, it was canceled. And then Platinum Games took over, and made a game in which, even if you can't slice up everything, you have unprecedented freedom in your slicing. It's not the game Kojima Productions wanted to make at first, but I don't think many people are going to have a problem with that after playing. It's really fun to slice things, is what I'm saying. The slicing is good slicing.
It also seems like it includes a lot of slicing opportunities, which is always key in slicing simulations. What I was worried about is that Rising would fall on the usual crutch of showing something super cool wrapped in quick-time events. I'm not down on QTEs, but that's not what I want from something featuring Raiden. I want to be in control.
The Rising demo strikes a good balance, giving you direct control of the action without throwing too many random button presses in your way to fake something badass. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance was pure, precisely sliced fun. That's all you can ask for when you're given fifteen minutes to play a demo at an event like E3.
In fact, I think the game's free-slicing mode -- which is actually called 'Blade' mode -- is the opposite of a QTE: you're given an extreme amount of fine control over your sword movements, able to slow down time, line up your slices along an axis, and have at it with rapid-fire swings. It makes it possible to cut an enemy holding a hostage, as shown by a training dummy. It also makes it possible to cut that one big watermelon from the demo into SO MANY pieces.
Delicious pieces ... let's be clear. The free-slicing mechanic is one of the elements that survived Kojima Productions' original vision. You can still slice some of the world, too, but it's scaled back so players can't punch a hole in the world and break the entire game.
Honestly, what was really surprising is just how fast Rising is. Is it a terrible reference to just say he's quick as lightning? Because, he totally is. Face buttons offer fast combo opportunities and you can finely draw out devastating slashes in free-slice mode. But if you activate free-slice and go crazy on the right stick, Raiden slashes nearby enemies in every direction an unhealthy number of times.
That had to be limited by an energy meter, or I wouldn't do anything else. It's a good thing I was encouraged to do other stuff, too, because even aside from that intensely satisfying mechanic, Revengeance is just so exciting! There might be elements in that demo that upstage the watermelon slicing. Well, maybe...
It is exciting. There was only one thing that made me groan: that part where you need to find a key card to progress in the demo. I thought, "Raiden don't need no key card! Look at this sword!" But then you find the guy with the card hiding in a cardboard box. All was forgiven after that. When enemies spot you in one area the classic Metal Gear alert sound is heard. Some great stuff for franchise fans, like me!
Beyond that, enemies react to damage in intelligent ways too. You can slice off a bad guy's legs and he'll crawl around on bleeding stumps, shooting at you. That's probably not realistic, though. I'll have to check with science. But who cares?
Sometimes I cut an enemy soldier so many times that he exploded. I didn't realize that was what happened. I don't have a medical degree or anything, though.
I think I saw a Mythbusters about that once. I was hesitant about checking Rising out, but after Ludwig told me how much he enjoyed it I had to see it for myself. Remember what I texted you as soon as I walked out? "Holy. Shit. Metal. Gear." That was going to be my entire preview, honestly.
I was already on board, and then I got to the ... boss sequence? Surprisingly, it wasn't the Gekko robot, I took that guy out with little trouble. The boss is a flying drone helicopter that flies around and shoots missiles at you. Did I mention this was the boss of the tutorial?
I know! I would have been fine fighting that giant watermelon. I hate to ruin how the tutorial ends (will people care about tutorial spoilers, are we at that point in our industry yet?) but it fires missiles at Raiden and he RUNS UP THEM LIKE STAIRS. So badass.
It took me a minute to figure out how to attack this thing when it was shooting these missiles. I tried dodging, I tried batting at them with my sword, and then I remembered ... NINJA RUN. You can hold a trigger and sprint, automatically jumping and climbing over obstacles, or, in this case, missiles. Once atop the helicopter, I was able to free slice the rotors into tiny little pieces.
And then Raiden lands, emotionless and with the helicopter crumbling into perfectly sliced pieces behind him. Did you try to play it again? I wanted to, but E3 was so busy ... and I would have hated to be the guy that kept one attendee from getting a chance to play it. So far, it's fantastic. You might even say, it's a cut above. Huh? Huh? Am I fired?
It's cool, I can make precise cuts to this article.