Raiden started out in a yellow-tinted VR training area, where Boris told him all about using the left stick to move the camera and the right stick to change the angle and placement of the sword swing. Learning the attacks with Square and Triangle followed, and I was soon ripping up floating yellow cubes and parked cars. Cutouts of bad guys holding someone hostage would pop up occasionally, requiring a precision slice — you don’t wanna hurt the hostage. This isn’t Speed.
After that, it was on to a sandy beach. Metal Gear usual, its graphics were some of the best on its system. Per Some goons approached and I used my training to slice them to bits. It felt in some ways unlike the Metal Gear you’re used to, but it wasn’t bad. It’ll just take an adjustment period. Holding L1 brought up the sword aiming, then I used the sticks to pick my spot and slice. Upon slicing someone in half (with plenty of gore), I could hit circle to reach inside the man, pull his spine out, and crush it. I had previously associated the manual, forced removal of spines with Mortal Kombat, but I guess times have changed.
I might just suck at this — I would not be surprised — but even by the end of the demo, I hadn’t gotten the hang of aiming my sword strikes. Specifically, the right stick was killing me. I had a hard time making sense of why my target was rotating left or right and how exactly it corresponded to the stick movement; it felt somewhat unnatural. Perhaps I just need more than a 13 minutes demo to judge this aspect? Likely so.
One other thing I found odd about the play was that the enemies could block, but Raiden couldn’t. There was also no listed command for dodging. I was handed a control sheet, and there was even a 10-minute briefing on “how to play this game” before we could play it, but neither of these things discussed dodging or blocking. Either they just weren’t part of the TGS build, or they’re not part of the gameplay in MGR:R. It was hard not to feel cheated when the enemies would block my flurry of kicks and then deck me with the back end of their rifle, since Raiden was incapable of doing the same to them.
While developed by Platinum Games and featuring mostly different gameplay than the Metal Gear titles of the last three generations, there are some similarities. The Soliton Radar is back, as are mid-mission codec calls. Raiden being part robot, he doesn’t need the device to fire right into his inner ear though, they just pop up on the screen like he’s wearing some advanced Google Glasses. He’s able to speak with his comrades as he walks around the battlefield. Another similarity, back again, is the beloved Stealth Kill. You know the drill: sneak up behind an unsuspecting guard, and press the Now-You-Die Button.
The demo ended with a fierce boss battle against a robotic wolf with a chainsaw for a tail. He moved insanely fast and slaughtered me the first time I fought him. He’d jump left, jump right, jump on my chest and chainsaw the bejesus out of me while I was pinned. The guy doesn’t mess around. I had to really master using the dual-stick precision slicing to have any success against him; I’d use it to get him right under his belly. It was still kind of tricky for a first timer like me though, as that right stick still proved problematic. I’m expecting (and hoping) to get used to it in the future, though.
This boss battle really lived up to the Metal Gear legacy, as it felt totally different from other parts of the game. Regular guards and even the big robots that were roaming around were best dealt with by bringing the fight right to them, fearing nothing and throwing caution to the wind. The wolfbot, on the other hand, required a balance of aggression and strategy. It felt good.
“Revengeance” might not be a real word, but it is a very real, quality entry into the Metal Gear library, if the TGS demo is any indication.