Ahead of the release of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance next year, Electronic Theatre had the opportunity to playthrough a near-complete version of the videogame. You can read more detailed thoughts on the combat system and videogame mechanics our first hands-on preview, but today Electronic Theatre brings you something a bit different: a walk through the very first chapter of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.
The videogame begins with a tutorial, as would be expected given the complexity and of the combat system and the difficulty many moments present. Players are immediately informed that the ninja run ability is far more flexible than the typical videogame reliance on jumping. As swiftly as the player can mount a wall the tutorial moves on to combat, tasking the player with dash and sliding manoeuvres to take down stationary targets before livening things up with moving enemies for players to execute combos on. Light and heavy attacks are the cornerstone of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance’s combat, as might be expected, and here players quickly learn just how fluid the system can be.
The next lesson is parrying, which is significantly more important here in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance than many other videogames of its ilk. A well timed press of the left analog stick and the Square button (on PlayStation 3) will not only disable your opponents attack but also return fire, opening them up for a new combo. These parries act as an opener for many different attacks, but players can only sample a small amount here to conclude the tutorial. After all, if we saw everything here we would we want to continue playing?
Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance now begins true, revealing the videogame’s first cutscene and setting the scene for the story of the videogame. Raiden is invested in a private military firm that has been working with a nation to secure peace amongst its people. The diplomats may not be convinced of his intentions, given that he is clearly profiting from the violence enacted upon others, but Raiden is self-assured in his position as a preserver of life. Suddenly however, things change from a discussion of the duality of mankind to a more violent take on the situation, as the videogame’s antagonist is revealed for the first time. Assaulting the gunner of the lead vehicle in Raiden’s convoy – slicing him in twain – it’s clear this isn’t going to be just any aggressor. As Raiden and the diplomats turn tail and attempt to outrun the enemy, things simply go from bad to worse. Another cyborg attacks, decimating Raiden’s defences and leading their vehicle into a carefully executed trap.
The player now gets their first real taste of action, facing off against three clearly unprepared enemies. The action is unsurprisingly swift and the takedowns are easy enough for any novice player to execute in style, and as you follow the order to return to the limousine you originally arrived in more basic enemies will meet your blade. Once having cut through a fence that blocks the player’s return to the diplomats another cutscene ensues, showing the enemies overpowering Raiden’s few remaining allies and taking the African Prime Minister hostage. And so, the player now faces their first boss fight: Metal Gear Ray.
A simple fight designed to further familiarise the player with the combat system, Metal Gear Ray has three weakpoints: its two feet and the central artillery. The player must attack each of the feet, reducing their health to zero before automatically launching into Free Blade mode to destroy the armour surrounding them. This must be done twice for each foot before the Metal Gear Ray will execute a blade attack. The player must defend against this new attack before returning blows via a QTE sequence which culminates in the defeat of the skyscrapping mecha.
Given a combat rank and told to move on, the player is now set to practice their navigation skills. A quick sprint through the sewers and the Metal Gear Ray returns, severely damaged and hell-bent on taking you out. This is where the player now attacks that third weakspot: the central artillery. Avoiding the laser beam it fires as it scans the rooftop upon which the player stands the moment to strike comes between shots, and a good combo will inevitably lead to the slowed time sequence and use of Free Blade mode. The final sequence allows Raiden to use the Metal Gear Ray’s own missiles against him, ripping apart the mechanical beast’s last weapons and removing another of it’s limbs before sprinting down the side of a church tower and landing the final blow.
Another cutscene shows the enemy escaping with the Prime Minister aboard a train, but Raiden is in pursuit. Landing on the moving vehicle the player has to dash along the carriages to find the enemy lying in wait. After the Prime Minister is murdered in cold blood, the player is given the chance of taking on one of the lead antagonist’s right here and right now, but it’s a battle you will never win. So much is fate working against you that Raiden meets a rather gruesome end. And thus the first chapter of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance reaches it’s conclusion, offering the player a breakdown of their performance and an overall ‘combat rank’ before launching into the second chapter, which Electronic Theatre suggests all gamers hungry for a new action videogame experience should be salivating at the merest hint of the opportunity to play.