Metal Gear Rising Revengeance, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Game
Metal Gear Rising was something of a sore point for me, as one of my old articles will tell you. Yet here I am, watching anything and everything I can about the game, eagerly awaiting getting some hands on experience with the game come the Zone of the Enders HD Collection later this year (which, by the way, is one of my most anticipated games this year because Zone of the Enders is downright fantastic). What changed in the time since the new style was revealed and now? Quite frankly, I did. As the title says I learned to stop worrying and love the game.
I’ve always been a fan of setting separate things in the same universe, providing a continuity and real sense of cohesion to a universe. Films like Quentin Tarentino’s library, and most recently Prometheus in the Alien universe all sharing a history lend a certain aura and sense of scale and weight to the actions and implications of what we directly witness, the thought that what we see will have implications in a completely different film without it having to be a sequel has always been a great idea to me. Granted we see this less in the gaming world, with in universe things often bearing the same name and generally being in the same vain as the main series, though it does sometimes happen. Nier, for example, was set in the same universe as one of the alternate endings of Drakengard, a fact that will have escaped most of the people who played either. Both are very different games, both have very different themes and both play drastically differently, and I loved it. Yet Metal Gear Rising was doing all of these things but I wasn’t a fan.
Originally it was because of the name. It was still titling itself as a Metal Gear game, and in this industry a name carries a certain weight to it, but in no way was I willing to call it Metal Gear. We at least expect some sort of familiarity when we enter a new title with a familiar name, whether it plays similarly, as is the case with the majority of Final Fantasy games, or whether the story is in the same style and logic as the rest of the series, as was the case with Halo Wars. Yet here was a Metal Gear game that neither played, felt, looked or acted like a Metal Gear game. It was over the top in terms of action and violence, featured a story that didn’t seem to gel all that well with the canon and featured set pieces that seemed to directly disregard what the universe had already laid down as rules.
So you can understand why I was against the game at the start, but now that Ive started to see more and more of the game I have come to the conclusion that this is in fact within the Metal Gear universe, more than I initially realised. First I had to realise exactly what the Metal Gear universe was, and it wasn’t, as my knee-jerk reaction believed, just the numbered entries in the series. Twin Snakes is considered to be a canonical telling of MGS1 (though just what that canon entails is up for debate. Is it an actual telling of the Shadow Moses incident, is it Raiden undergoing a VR simulation of the Shadow Moses incident as alluded to in Sons of Liberty, or is it something else entirely?) yet it is over the top in the same way that Revengeance is. In Twin Snakes Solid Snake, the more down to Earth of the Metal Gear protagonists, is seen leaping between bullets, jumping of missiles and performing acrobatic battle scenes to match, and better, a cyborg ninja. Point 1 to Revengeance, its action isn’t actually out of place.
The story was another sticking point of mine, with Revengeance seemingly stealing Raiden of his “happy” ending, but this seems to have been premature. I complained about him once again rtaking up the sword and abandoning his family without really giving thought to the title – “Revengance”. From what has been hinted at from what we’ve seen it would seem that Raiden has in fact been forced back onto this path rather than choosing it, it would seem that he was in fact happy with his wife and child but now has been pushed into seeking Revenge/Vengance. What this is we can’t yet say but it wouldn’t be a stretch to believe that his family is somehow involved. Point 2 to Revengence, it doesn’t ruin the “happy” ending, just steals it for a time.
Point 3 may be linked to point 1 with the action but is more about the mechanics and rules of the universe. In MGS4 we see Raiden holding his own against Geckos, multiple at a time, and even in MGS2 non-cyborg ninja Raiden has no trouble with fighting Metal Gear Rays. In Revengeance we see Raiden throw, leap to meet, run along, and slice into pieces a Metal Gear Ray. From fighting with a stinger missile launcher to THROWING AND SLICING is a long way to go, and it initially seemed like too big of a jump to make, but then I started thinking. This is set after MGS4, so technology, despite the sons of the patriots being destroyed (more on this in a second) technology is bound to have been advancing, so it isnt unreasonable to expect the cyborg ninja exoskeleton doohickey to have improved in the intervening time frame, not only that but it also isn’t unreasonable to expect copies of the Metal Gears to start being mass produced, and as we all know copies, as well as mass-production version, are never as well built as the original. IF the Ray seen being decimated in the trailers is a mass-produced inferior copy then it isn’t an exceptionally unreasonable feat. Point 3 to Revengeance is awarded on that IF.
Point 4, Sons of the Patriots. The SOP was the system in MGS4 that had complete battlefield control. It locked weapons, linked soldiers, and basically controlled a battle through a hive-mind like computer system. This system was destroyed at the end of MGS4, and as such the vast majority of the technology available at the time would probably be obsolete. A whole new technological age would have to begin. Granted the basis is already there for everything, but it still needs to be adapted for an age without the SOP. This is going to take time, and technology is chance to go in a different direction, just because needs have now changed. Not only this but now all the soldiers, PMC or otherwise, now need to be retrained. They no longer get to share their sense with the rest of their group, and they suddenly start feeling pain and fear and everything else. They are no longer linked to a omnipotent computer system, and as such need to be retrained as an individual soldier. For a generation at least everyone is going to be less able than what we saw in MGS4, and even then when they get back up to potential without the SOP they wont ever be quite as good. Yet in Revengeance we see PMC acting in absolute unison, as if the SOP were still in operation. However, to go back to the genome soldier type AI would make for a very dull game indeed, and as such point 4 is awarded because this is what makes a better game, and I need to lighten up. Basically the gameplay deserves the story to take some liberties, this is a spin off afterall.
Point 5 is generally just how much of a good job Platinum seem to be doing with the game. Frankly, the more we see of the game, the better it looks. From the action-stealth element to the all out balls to the wall insanity of leaping from missile to missile to attack a helicopter, this is goping to be a pure action game. The so called “blade” mode, reminiscent of a similar feature in Afro Samurai, that allows the player to aim their cut precisely from direction to angle to position is looking to be the melee equivalent of Sniper Elite V2′s X-Ray killcam – an overly violent but amusingly satisfying action that rewards on a regular basis. Couple this with the ability to cut and take (the ever present Zan-Datsu) and it looks to be a major gameplay feature that actually holds some importance to the player other than looking cool. Point 5 is given with as much force as possible because damn this game looks fun.
I could continue with all the little things that make me want this game more but these 5 points are the major reasons I learned to love the game. Well played Platinum, youv’e turned me around from skepticism, and you certainly deserve to slap the Metal Gear title on there because it’s turned on my fanboy desire to play this latest entry into the series.
Latest entry into the series, I’m going to say that again because I now mean it. I am willing to call this game a Metal Gear game. War really has changed.