Thank you, PAX Prime. This weekend, I was introduced to possibly the world's most beautiful phrase: "Cyborg Ninja." And I have you to thank. A trip to the Konami gaming suite gave me opportunity to become acquainted with this concept, courtesy of the demo for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. I don't have much (okay, any) experience with the Metal Gear Solid franchise outside of playing as Snake in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but I found Revengeance highly entertaining nonetheless.
The jungle atmosphere features rich and visually satisfying textures that contrast nicely against the harsh metallics of the various robots and machinery encountered in-game. The combat and animations really got my adrenaline pumping. Sword-based gameplay is engaged in Blade Mode, with an impressive emphasis on precision. Each slice of Raiden's katana is graceful but lands with satisfying impact, delivered with the strength and elegance of a body-building ballerina. Strings of successful combos and their point bonuses (used to purchase equipment upgrades) only deepen this satisfaction. Ninja Dash, where the player controls Raiden while running at high speed through obstacles and enemies, feels fluid and evokes nostalgia for the 8-bit era of quick reaction times and nimble fingers. But ultimately, the greatest part of the demo was among my favorite moments in gaming, period: running full speed towards an approaching helicopter and then jumping from incoming missile to missile until I reached the roof, using a series of kicks to bring the aircraft down. It felt so good that I needed a cigarette and a nap afterwards.
I may be utterly ignorant of everything Metal Gear Solid, but you can now put me on the list of people looking forward to this game. If you're on the PAX show floor, you might consider taking Konami up on their exclusive opportunity to pre-order, only available during the event. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance comes out on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 on February 19, 2013.