Metal Gear Cry?
The demo for Revengeance begins just as we’re going to – right at the business end – with the talking point of many a trailer so far; Blade mode. Hold the appropriate button and you snap to a first person perspective, where you tailor the angle of your slice with one stick, whilst still moving about (albeit in slow motion) with the other. It may sound a little awkward, and in real life would almost certainly result in a missing finger or two the first couple of times, but after just a few more slices you start to realise just how precisely you can cut things, and how the game reacts accordingly to each minute degree of alteration. It’s mighty impressive. This is before you realise just what you can cut – we sliced a stone pillar in half like a warm knife through butter – or how quickly and repeatedly you can do it too, which is all equally impressive, but undeniably exciting too.
Move on a bit and you get brought back to some of the more straightforward parts of combat – standard strikes, wide-reaching swipes, and so on. Devil May Cry and Bayonetta fans in particular will find plenty to get excited about here, with the notions of deflecting attacks being introduced very early on, and finishing moves being available to bring flashy endings to those you’ve already weakend. Part of the appeal of this is how it integrates with the swordplay too; we’re quickly set upon by one of the ‘Gecko’ robots from MGS4, and after weakening it we then initiate a finishing move, mid-way through which we spring over their heads like a lethal cybernetic jackrabbit. Only then do we realise we’re being prompted to enter ‘Blade mode’ as we pass overhead, giving us apt moments to slash away like a madman, leaving it sliced it to ribbons by the time we reach the floor.
As a bridge falls away beneath us, ‘Ninja mode’ is next up; whilst usage is limited, holding this down puts you into but heightened state of awareness as you move, making Raiden do all he can to keep alive and dashing on in the direction you point him – think ‘parkour mode’ turned up several notches of crazy. Car in the way? You’ll hop over it. Pavement falls away underneath you? You’ll leap and quickly flip up to another piece. Missile in your face? You’ll dodge it. Just how prominently this will be used in the full title raises a few questions about just how much of Raiden’s trademark manouverability is actually in your own hands, but there’s still plenty of ways you can go wrong using this mode – it’s certainly not an autopilot, and as well as keeping going in the right direction, sparing usage seems mandatory to stop you running out when it suddenly becomes a neccesity to progress in the required amount of time.
If the game’s not already done enough to impress us, we’re then set up by an attack helicotper, and told that we need to find a missile launcher and return fire. We do just this and are impressed again to find that the aiming and shooting is smooth, responsive and challenging – moreso than some games whose shooting mechanics are championed as their raison d’etre. After duking it out for a while, and to round it all up nicely, we finish the weakened helicopter by using Ninja mode to scale the very missiles it’s firing at us, before somersaulting over the rotor blades and using Blade mode to methodically take it to pieces. It looks even more impressive than it sounds, but describing it at this level of detail misses one essential element of it all though; the speed at which it all happens, and the flippancy of the game towards this level of madcap action. Slack-jawed we may have been, yet the game made no special ceremony about what’d just happened; as far as it was concerned, this was just the tutorial – the start of things to come. It was hard not to walk out and be disappointed by how pedestrian everything else seemed afterwards.
One of the main criticisms levied at Metal Gear Solid as a series is the balance between seeing amazing things, and doing amazing things. There’s no hiding that even with the “Solid” chopped from the title, that evidence from trailers for Rising are pointing towards a heavy emphasis on story-telling once again, but at the same time it seems as equally off-shot from MGS in a thematic sense as it is in a gameplay sense. It’s not realistic or gratutitiously ultra-violent, and it certainly isn’t tactical espionage action, but it is ludicrous, over-the-top, super-slick fun – and just downright glorious in the process too. The NGB team walked away in unanimous awe, and we cannot to get our hands on the complete product.