Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Riffing on Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

I’m a big Metal Gear fan. Always have been – ever since I first stepped into Solid Snake’s sneaking boots on Shadow Moses. So when I saw the next game in the series – which was (then) known as Metal Gear Rising – I was a little nonplussed.

Firstly, it starred Raiden, the blonde, ditzy plonker from MGS2, who alienated the series’ Western fans (while being lauded by Japanese ones). Now, don’t get me wrong – Raiden more than redeemed himself by turning into an awesome, badass cyborg ninja in Guns of the Patriots, but when I think Metal Gear, I think Tactical Espionage Action - not hack-and-slash.

Granted, in its initial appearance Rising seemed to be trying to walk a fine line between the two. The swordplay was measured and cleverly done, the graphics looked good, and the setting was dark and industrial. That and Kojima-san seemed to be demonstrating how the game could be used as a fruit-slicing instructional video:

So, when the game’s developers threw up their hands and gave the title to Platinum Games, I have to admit I had a moment of pause. Mostly because, as far as I’m concerned, Platinum Games can’t do wrong.

In the past couple of games, the production house came out with sassy witch-em-up Bayonetta – which was a 9/10 from me - and the seminal run-n-gun shooter Vanquish, which I still play now because it’s that good.

So, I was left in a mental quandary – my favourite stealth-action game series, and one of my favourite action-action-action game developers, somehow working together to mesh the two. What seems to be popping out is Revengeance – an odd medley of the world of Metal Gear – all Metal Gears and robots and cyphers and PMCs – and the frenetic, hack-and-slash action of Bayonetta. And you know what? I like it.

Sure, the trailer’s voice acting is abysmal and the graphics don’t lend themselves to MGS-style games at all. Sure, stealth itself seems to have been eradicated like a rat in a Shadow Moses air vent, and replaced with high-wire acrobatics.But damn it all, I like the look of it anyway.

Fanboys may jump up and down, but I can’t fault Kojima-san for wanting to take the series in a new direction now Snake is officially too old to participate.Time will tell if the game holds up to its promise, and I have no doubt fanboys will debate the changes to death, but I’m still a little excited at the prospect.

Oh, I do have one bugbear. ‘Revengeance’? That’s not a word, not even close to a word. No matter how much Platinum Games want it to be, it’s just...not.