Since Platinum Games took over Metal Gear rising: Revengeance last year, very little has been said about gameplay elements as the new developer retooled the game.
Recently, GotGame got a chance to check out some hands-on gameplay of Revengeance, and the action title seems to be progressing nicely before its February release. However, a bit more polish is still needed to put the game to the next level.
As previously revealed, the game follows MGS side-character Raiden around as a military contractor fighting a terrorist group using cyborgs. The game takes him to a handful of different locations through the chapters, including Africa, where the prologue starts, and Mexico.
As gamers progress through the levels, some previous characters in the series, like Sunny, will be encountered. However, in what capacity you’ll see these characters couldn’t be revealed.
Compared to other games in the Metal Gear Solid universe, Revengeance falls fairly far from the tree where gameplay is concerned. Raiden cares little about sneaking around, and would rather solve everything with his blade. While Platinum Games did add stealth kills (no crouch is available), the game never encourages you to use them, with the reason being to continuously push the action forward. You can see more on this reasoning in my interview with the developers, which will go live soon.
The combat itself is fluid, if a little button-mashy sometimes. While the game features plenty of combos to use with his sword and special weapon, which I’ll get to in a minute, there are no exact button combos for moves. X controls your sword hits, while Y controls your special weapon as a heavier attack. By randomly alternating in combat, you can use various combos that you can unlock using BP.
While there are a few different special weapons you’ll come across in the game, the main one that can be discussed right now is the “Pole-Arm,” which is literally multiple mechanical arms linked together to make a pole. As you swing it around, it can be used like a whip or a regular pole, making quick combos easy to use.
The biggest draw for the action is Blade Mode, mapped to the LT. While in the mode, Raiden can’t move. However, you do have free reign to use the RS to line up how you want to slice and where you want to slice. While it had been shown before as slicing fruit, it has much more practical implications when dicing enemies to pieces.
After playing past the prologue and receiving some upgrades to Raiden’s look, you’ll notice that the Blade Mode gets a Fuel Cell energy bar that you have to monitor and refill with dropped energy from enemies. The bar only drains when you hold down LT, and reverts back to the normal mode without slowdown. Attacking enemies can also draw energy back into the bar as you upgrade your sword.
A special use of the mode comes against stunned enemies, called Zandetsu. During the slowdown, you can aim and try to cut a box usually located near the heart or core of an enemy. Doing so and hitting B will allow you to rip the blue fuel cell out of an enemy, fully replenishing your health and FC. It can help quickly get you back into the game if you’re low on heath, and can also let you chain together multiple slow mode kills if you keep hitting Zandetsu correctly.
You can also perform a Zandetsu during stealth kills as well. After catching an enemy by surprising and hitting B, you’ll get a few second window to go into Blade Mode and slice the core out of him. Unfortunately, the game never does a good job notifying you of this, and it’s only after noticing the blue flash that I realized you could trigger Blade Mode.
This is one of the problems I had with the game early on. Sure, there are tutorials and I completed them as they became available. However, I noticed that some things, such as Blade Mode during stealth kills or varying levels of enemy attacks, such as red flashes and gold flashes, just weren’t explained enough as they should have been.
Another big part of the gameplay is the parry mechanic. Thankfully, it’s simplistically done by just hitting X and pointing the LS in the same direction as an enemy attack. While this normally lets you defend, timing it right before a hit can also allow you to counterattack the enemy, and sometimes go straight into Blade Mode to get a Zandetsu after hitting a few buttons.
The parry is key throughout the game. Early mastering of the system is needed to be able to survive enemies and especially bosses. I noticed other people having problems with a mechanical wolf early on in the game, but parrying his chainsaw made the battle a cinch for me.
The other main gameplay element you’ll use is the Ninja Run by holding down RT. The run lets you reflect enemy bullets, but chaining together long chains and more damaging hits isn’t possible in the run. It’s good to use when needing to draw closer to an enemy, or to reflect incoming bullets.
After the prologue, you’ll also unlock the ability to use Enhanced AR by hitting up on the D-Pad. The AR shows you what environmental items can be destroyed, along with where usable sub-items, such as rocket launchers, or chests are located in the world. I used it the most for item searching and to see what ways enemies were facing, as I sometimes resorted to a few stealth kills to try and quickly build up my health or FC bar when they were low.
There are a few other gameplay elements introduced as you progress, but they’re never big changes. One odd addition actually takes place in Chapter 2 when you take control of a Dwarf Gekko. The segment is an interesting break but only a few minutes long and is never explored again. The reason given during my interview was to keep the game mainly about the action and not throwing in too many mini-games.
Each chapter is broken up into smaller segments that grade you on your time, kills, how many Zandetsu’s you had and more before assigning you some bonus BP based on your grade. At the end, the segment grades are added up to give you an overall chapter rank, along with some more BP as well. The BP can be used to upgrade Raiden by giving him new skills, upgrading weapons or even changing his look, although specific upgrades aren’t quite ready yet to be discussed. Some upgrades can also be unlocked by cutting the left hand off of specific enemies. The specific enemies can be seen by using the Enhanced AR, although I sometimes had problems lining up the exact way to cut in Blade Mode to chop the arm off.
Another thing to note about the gameplay is the music heard throughout, but mainly during the boss battles. The music turns into hard rock, complete with lyrics, which I was told was a personal choice of the Platinum Games director. The pushing bass really helps to draw you into the high-energy boss battles I noticed.
The game also has some Easter eggs scattered about as you go along. The levels I played had at least one enemy hidden in a box, similar to Snake, and other secrets were put in that other MGS entries have shown as well. The humor won’t have you busting out laughing and shouldn’t, but it will draw some chuckles.
Like other MGS titles, there are VR missions to play in the game as well. However, they have to be found throughout the game by finding hidden laptops. The goals of each one change, such as just trying to get from point A to B or killing enemies with a sub-weapon, but all will give BP upon completion.
Overall, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is shaping up to be a solid action title to start off 2013 with. While I have some concerns about the longevity the game will have, even with some planned DLC, it should entertain gamers for a bit until some other big releases hit in the following months.