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It has already been a busy year for Platinum Games. They finally released Anarchy Reigns for the United States and Europe thanks to Sega earlier this month. In addition, new trailers were shown for The Wonderful 101 and Bayonetta 2 at the most recent Nintendo Direct. Next month might be their biggest yet with the release of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance with Konami and Kojima Productions. Fans were thrilled that they were developing this character action game featuring Raiden. They were able to get a taste of what to expect from this highly anticipated game with a playable demo that was available if you bought last year’s Zone of the Enders HD Collection. That same demo is finally available to download on Xbox Live and Playstation Network. From what I played so far, this is already shaping up to be an early contender for action game of the year especially with the stiff competition.
Right off the bat, Metal Gear Rising is no joke. If you thought Capcom and Ninja Theory’s DmC Devil May Cry was too easy, Revengeance is ready to give you a challenge and it is no surprise since this is a Platinum game. Normal enemies and bosses can beat Raiden up quickly if you’re not careful, but not on the same level of difficulty as the first Ninja Gaiden on the Xbox. The mechanic that makes survival possible in Rising is the parry, which is done by timing the forward + square button (X on Xbox 360) against incoming attacks that glow. It takes some practice, but once you get the timing down, it makes you feel like a badass. Raiden can one hit kill enemies from using stealth in classic Metal Gear Solid style as well. Other that, it is a Japanese character action game you will know and love with great gameplay.
What separates Revengeance apart from other action games is blade mode which is triggered by the L1 button (LB on 360) and slows the action down up close so Raiden can slice up enemies apart by flicking the right analog stick. This is also a mechanic you have to get used to at first since the camera can be a problem at times, but once you’re able to adjust it quickly, you’ll be cutting down your foes in no time. Blade mode has been the highlight of the game’s coverage ever since the game was announced a couple years ago with Konami showing off the technology of precise sword cutting. Also pivotal to the combat is the ninja run. This is basically Raiden’s sprint button, but you can automatically jump up certain distances without pressing the jump button and deepen the move set with more attacks at your disposal. However, I do wish Platinum had a move list or training option on the pause screen, so players can mess around with what Raiden is capable of like Dante can in the latest Devil May Cry game.
Another pivotal gameplay mechanic that separates Metal Gear Rising from the rest of the pack is how Raiden gains health after being damaged. Normally, enemies would drop health or you had to open up chests to regain it, but Revengeance handles this concept differently. Raiden has to gain health by using blade mode to cut enemies up in specific spots and a quicktime button prompt comes up so he can absorb health from them. There is also a grading system after every enemy encounter on how well Raiden does against his opposition quickly and efficiently. All these mechanics together along with the basic combat makes Metal Gear Rising a different action game compared to the competition that seem to play things a little safe.
Having recently played DmC Devil May Cry, playing these type of action games in 30 frames per second felt a little weird to the point it was missing that fluidity of 60 frames seen in past games in the franchise. Playing Metal Gear Rising, however, is one smooth experience at 60 frames per second and an example why action games are meant to be played only with that framerate. It is also worth mentioning that the game looks beautiful with little to no slowdown at the most frantic times. I sincerely dig the soundtrack during the enemy/boss encounters as well with the heavy metal kicking in certain situations.
Now that I played a brief section of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, I was impressed how Platinum was able to bring their amazing talents to a known franchise like Metal Gear as if it was a perfect fit for them thanks to Kojima Productions and Konami. I’m also pleased how they’re willing to change things up a bit in the genre with the new gameplay mechanics like blade mode and how Raiden regains health. Plus, the game looks and runs beautifully at 60 frames per second. I can’t wait to see how the final game pans out especially if the story lives up the franchise and how intense the boss battles are if you seen recent footage. Metal Gear Rising comes out on February 19 for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3.