TGS: Metal Gear is Rising and so are my expectations

Raiden’s high-frequency blade goes snicker-snack

Despite Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance having been available to play at several events over the last year, I’d never found time to play it. So, like the people of Japan, Tokyo Game Show was my first opportunity to get my hands on Platinum’s take on the Metal Gear series. 

Why didn’t I make the time? What a fool I was!

The demo here on the show floor starts out with a (skippable) VR training session and I wasn’t going to pass up on that when faced with an unfamiliar game in a language I don’t understand. This brief tutorial primarily dealt with sword mechanics, starting out by instructing how to slow time to a crawl and aim individual slashes. It’s far more intuitive than I had expected it would be, and I was quick to destroy a few floating boxes before moving on to targets which required more precision. These were more like shooting gallery cutouts, several of which had hostages, each featuring specific targets rewarded by points which go toward your battle rating once out of combat.

Out of the simulation, the game moves into a lengthy cutscene as Raiden communicates with the support team from his employer, Maverick Security Consulting, while being flown to the site of his next mission. It’s the same kind of scene we see in every Metal Gear game since Solid, yet it still manages to impress as the light drone jet carrying Raiden forcefully jettisons him as though he were a torpedo, landing in a dramatic pose.

From here, I was freed to explore the tropical environment, and I took the opportunity to play around on the beach. Raiden runs easily and quickly by holding a shoulder button, and I was soon cutting down trees by running and dropping into a slide, at which point he moves his high-frequency blade to his feet and cuts through them like butter. It’s empowering to the player in a big way because there’s just so much direct control. Every movement feels preternatural, fast and accurate.

Once I had a feel for it, I moved inward on the island, through a ruined hall and into the streets of a city. While post-cyborg Raiden is certainly flashier with his style than Snake, that isn’t to say he’s not sneaky in his own right. There aren’t “stealth” mechanics present, per se, but planning a good approach can make a world of difference.

The first time I observed this, PMC soldiers on the ground held a civilian hostage while others watched the perimeter from balconies above. Moving around the balconies, I was able to stealthily eliminate their back-up before jumping down to rescue the civvie. I don’t know that it was necessary to do so, but I felt like an unbelievable badass nonetheless.

That changed pretty quickly as I went further up the road and encountered my first Gecko, the bipedal mechs featuring powerful, organic-looking legs. They tower over Raiden and they’re not the pushovers soldiers are. I’m sure there’s a better way to deal with them than the mad flailing I performed, but I admit that I panicked a bit in this battle. When it went down, I was so excited that I charged forward… right into two more Geckos which soundly beat the ever-living crap out of me. 

I did make a second attempt at the area and found that, once again, discretion is the better part of valor, as a closer examination of the region revealed patrolling patterns for the Geckos and soldiers. I was able to sneak about, eliminating enemies strategically instead of charging in, much to my satisfaction.

Sadly, my demo time ran out here, but I’m excited as hell for Revengeance now. If the plot can match up to the action and play mechanics, this is going to be a phenomenal game.

Conrad Zimmerman