Opinion – Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance
I love Metal Gear, that much is obvious. Whether I’m writing about my excitement for a HD re-release, or about Kojima teasing the future of the series, it has always been obvious that I hold a fanboyish passion for this series. A couple of weeks ago I was even excitedly awaiting the VGA appearance of Metal Gear Rising. Yet here I am now harbouring substantially mixed feelings.
I sure you’ve all by now seen the trailer for Metal Gear Rising Revengeance. I stayed awake into the early hours of the morning in anticipation. Its a good trailer for what I’m sure will be a extremely competent hack and slash set in the Metal Gear universe. Therein lies my problem, it carries the Metal Gear name.
I was 9 years old when I first discovered Metal Gear Solid. 13 years I’ve spent invested in the ongoing saga of Solid Snake, to the point now I have an attachment to it, its part of my childhood, teenage years and early adulthood, and throughout those 13 years it has grown along with me, staying the same at heart but ageing gracefully with the effect of the times creeping into each consecutive title. And here we are now awaiting the latest entry to the universe that seeks to venture out into a different genre.
I understand this is a spin-off, and that its allowed to have different genres, and different gameplay and what not, that isn’t the real problem here. The real problem is the sheer stupidity of the action portrayed in the trailer. Metal Gear has always been over the top and fantastical, but its always fell into that potentially realistic grey area of plausibility. There were super powers, there were clones, and there were cyborg ninjas, but the amount of disbelief was never beyond suspension. Now we have a cyborg ninja having a sword fight with a walking tank several times his own size, and countless times his own weight, which he proceeds to throw into the air, leap onto and cut into thousands of little pieces.
Quite a bit more unbelievable than only just managing to hold your own against a single (possible) vampire. Twice Raiden met Vamp in MGS4, and both times he just scraped through. These battles were brutal affairs, showing two men trading blow for blow and struggling for the upper hand. Now one of these men is throwing specially designed metal war machines into the air with relative ease. Even for the Metal Gear universe this seems out of place. The closest the original games came to this feat was when Grey Fox managed to stop Rex from stomping Snake. Barely.
Its not only the rise of ridiculousness that I have a problem with either. Metal Gear Solid 4 brought about a beautifully satisfactory ending to Raidens story. He was trying to regain his humanity and reconnect with his wife and child. He’d given up his role as a cybernetically enhanced ninja, ready to settle down and live life. This has now been stripped away from him, once again taking up his sword in a bout of ultra violence, which by the dialogue he seems to now enjoy. So far the reasons have yet to be revealed as to why he took up arms again, or why he now seems to be working as part of a PMC, as well as the reasons behind the subtitle of Revengeance, so this may turn out to be a non-problem, but in my opinion that is going to take some particularly solid scripting.
Bottom line is that I have no doubts that this will be a good game. I have faith in everyone involved to produce an exceptional piece of action entertainment, but I cant help but feel I would be more excited if it didn’t hold the title of Metal Gear. Just goes to show how much power a name can hold in this industry.