We didn’t think it was possible, but Konami and Platinum Games proved us wrong: Raiden is now officially one of the coolest video game characters around. We reunited with the metal-plated, sword-wielding star during our Tokyo Game Show demo of the upcoming Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, and he’s looking as angsty and deadly as ever. Watermelon slicing was at an all-time low in this demo, and we relished in the pulse-pounding action that took its place.
Things started off with a quick VR session, guided by our elderly Russian pointman Boris. After getting reacquainted with Rising’s signature slo-mo sword slashing mechanics, it was off into a dilapidated city to cut robotic soldiers into tiny, bloody bits. Only, the “blood” we saw was a milky white; like the Mortal Kombat games of old, it seems you’ll have the option to change the splatters from red to white if you’re feeling a little squeamish. Still yet, watching Raiden plunge his blade upwards through the chest of an unsuspecting trooper is exhilaratingly violent, no matter what color the viscera.
Your average soldier doesn’t put up much of a fight, but Raiden will definitely be thrown for a loop by the gigantic bipedal mechs that the baddies employ. These bionic beasts emit a chilling howl that sounds like a cross between a T-rex and a whale before pouncing into the fray. To destroy, Raiden must slice their tender legs like metal sashimi until the whole robot falls apart on itself. There’s just something so satisfying about literally cutting an enemy down to size, and Platinum’s trademark silky smooth animations make it all so very appealing to the eyes.
It seems that, much like its parent franchise, stealth is often (though not always) an option in MGR. Raiden can gather reconnaissance using a fancy visor, not unlike Detective Mode seen in Batman: Arkham City. Flipping this on will outline enemies in red, adding them to your map and letting you plot out your murderous, or sneaky, path to the next objective. After verifying that an upcoming alleyway was packed with soldiers and mechs, we were faced with a choice: Pick up the nearby rocket launcher and hope for the best, or stealthily maneuver our way to the target building. After dying repeatedly while attempting the former, we opted for the more pacifistic approach and reached the goal without any bloodshed.
Though perhaps we were too kind--immediately upon reaching our destination, the robotic attack dog we’ve seen in previous trailers burst through a nearby wall, nearly shaving Raiden’s steel chin clean off with its razor-sharp chainsaw tail. This aggressive canine assailant, dubbed LQ-84i, seemed to meet its match in Raiden when he deftly deflected some acid-covering knives in a sweet pre-battle cutscene. Unfortunately, our skills weren’t quite yet up to snuff; though previous trailers indicate that Raiden and LQ-84i will eventually join forces like a boy and his dog, all we got to see was the terrifying metal terrier plunging its chainsaw-tail into Raiden’s chest repeatedly.
So ended our demo--but there was more intrigue in a trailer being shown on the TGS floor. Platinum and Konami have crafted some truly inventive enemies for Rising, including what looked like an eight-armed, leather-clad femme fatale who lashed out at Raiden with swords and a super-charged whip. If Raiden’s unfortunate enough to get tangled up in her whip, he’ll have to cut himself free before she can paint the walls with his innards. It also appears that we’ll get to play as Raiden before he got his metal-skull-toothed-chin, as he endeavors to protect the president from an equally (if not superior) skilled, green-clad swordsman wielding a bright red blade.
MGR keeps looking better and better, and we’re absolutely itching to sit down with the game and play it all the way through. Konami and Platinum Games will get the chance to prove if they’re a match made in Metal Gear heaven when Rising releases for the PS3 and Xbox 360 on February 19th, 2013 in the US and February 21st in the UK and Japan.