Two weeks ago I criticised Ninja Theory’s otherwise majestic DMC
for its adherence to archaic combat mechanics.
I was criticized.
Still, having comfort ate the sorrow into oblivion, I return with an example of how to legitimately advance the Hack’N’Slash genre. Risking a global chorus of “Duuhh!”
I still feel obliged to point out this genre evolving effort comes courtesy of Platinum Games
They tend to do that. Take a genre and beat it like it owes them money!First, foremost, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is Hack’N’Slash
. Players inhabit a high frequency katana -wielding cyborg ninja with who kicks walking battle tanks about like hackey sacks. It was hardly going to be an RTS!
Yet given its lineage with the most acclaimed stealth series on the planet, you’d be correct in expecting some Tactical Espionage to compliment the Lightning Bolt Action.
While Battle Arenas are still cordoned off by digital constructs, level architecture is both tiered and expansive. Sheer faces, vertical ledges and storied structures constitute Revengeance’s
framework, the overwhelming majority of which can be cut down to size.
its like the opening to Skyfall... But with swords... and cyborgs... Enlarge
This deliberate verticality allows for Revengeance’s
surprisingly robust stealth mechanic. Though hardly the main attraction, Raiden’s high-octane Ninja Run allows for a succession of athletic hops, vaults and somersaults. He’ll even sprint up vertical walls... like a ninja!
It’s on this higher ground that players will see the benefit of Raiden’s wrap around visor. Enter Augment Mode with a slap of the D-Pad to pinpoint targets. And while stealth kills suffer limited animations (backstab for standing, back-flipping feet first skewer bomb for aerial) it is possible to clear entire arenas without detection.Sssssnnnaaaakkkkeee!
Of course, even the sneakiest ninja are frequently overcome by a pathological need to be feared, respected and the cause of some jaw-dropping violence. Thus Raiden can permit himself to be detected, and consequently attacked, by Metal Gear Rising’s
assorted PMC forces.
Typically, this doesn’t bode well for them...
With the classic MGS
Alert Phase blaring, Raiden can unleash an unremitting barrage of lightning slashes and heavier, guard smashing cuts; easily (if not hilariously) identifiable as Raiden tends to wields his sword with his feet for these... like a ninja!!
Foes are easily launched for aerial bushido before being returned to the cold, hard earth with similar ferocity. Incoming blows can be evaded, blocked or parried. The latter opening allows for spectacular, often acrobatic counter-kills.
Raiden finally gains a victory over an old nemesis... Enlarge
A ninja is little without his theatricality and deception. Liam Neeson
said so. Probably.
Thus Raiden can make use of grenades, rocket launchers and the diverse arsenal he cuts from his opponents’ grasp. Echoing the classic MGS interface, secondary weapons are selected with the shoulder buttons while chats via video codec can be instigated if it all gets a little too much.Kojo is a sensitive soul, after all.
Cut-scenes of typically contentious length return, yet critics will be happily note Kojima have implemented MGS4
’s inspired Pause/Skip function throughout the narrative.
But ultimately, Revengeance’s
hook is Blade Mode
. A bumper squeeze will prompt Raiden to draw his blade high. Time slows while the left stick lines up the slice and the right one follows through. And through.
If you’re of the obscenely aggressive persuasion.Blade Mode
can be triggered at any time, any place: while blocking machete strikes, sliding through enemies legs, or even swinging, upside down, from the downturned nose of a Gekko! ... LIKE A NINJA!
Unlike most ‘Bullet Time’ imitations, Blade Mode
opens up a wealth of tactical options. Feet can be cut from harassing cyborgs to reduce mobility. Weapons and ammunition can be replenished by slicing them from enemy hands. Even health and vigour (Electrolytes in Revengeance
speak) can be restocked by sawing through to the neon blue core of any soul fool enough to step to The Ripper!
Released next February 21st, Revengeance
follows more than a month on from DMC
. They are not in direct competition. However as the two Hack’N’Slach flagships in early 2013, comparisons are inevitable.
And despite its inspired fusion of Western sensibilities and Eastern mechanics, however shiny, DMC
looks a relic of the past. By contrast, Platinum’s
latest stands as a blazing, radiant beacon of the future!
And it’s worth emphasising, the future looks batsh*t insane!