The Metal Gear Solid franchise holds a dear place in my gamer heart. When Solid Snake’s story came to an end with Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, I was able to walk away from the series, satisfied that the end had come for the modern age Metal Gear, and that all I'd ever be likely to see were games set in the timeline's past, such as Peace Walker. But suddenly, a wild Raiden appeared. It seems that there was more to tell after the fall of the Patriots. And while the world wasn't exactly bowled over by Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance when it was re-branded and reintroduced at last years Video Game Awards, each new preview brings hope that this spin-off title may just be what fans have been waiting for.
Historically, Raiden hasn't exactly been everyone's favorite character in the Metal Gear Solid universe. He sort of messed everything up good in Sons of Liberty by stealing the spotlight from Snake, depriving gamers a chance to play as the ultimate espionage-action hero on Sony's then next-generation console, the Playstation 2 (and no, that Tanker portion was not enough). I'm sorry, Raiden, but a whiny and aloof character do not a hero make. Granted he made up for the entirety of Metal Gear Solid 2 with his ultra kick-ass return in Guns of the Patriots, but imagining Raiden as a lead again just hearkened back to his bumpy first impressions with the gaming industry. But I'm one to forgive and forget…seriously. I can look at Raiden and recognize just how much this character has grown over the last two games. But it's when series' staple elements like stealth for example are thrown out for a serious focus on action, is when I start to get just a wee bit nervy. But after watching an interview with one of the game’s producers , Yuji Kurekado , my opinions of the game quickly turned around.
The action is stunning, a real thing of beauty. The gameplay looks like a dream. The animations are fluid, but by the same token, there is noticeable chaos to the way Raiden moves about. It is very reminiscent of Ninja Gaiden, only a lot more polished and poetic. For a change of pace, players are approaching the series from a significant point of power and upper handedness. No longer are you the silent soldier scrambling around to arm yourself with whatever you can get your hands on. Now, you are the weapon. You are the super-powered character with the epic suit of armor. Raiden is sure to face many challenges of course, like coping with a suit that is in constant need of energy, or going against robot dogs with chainsaws for tails. But at least hiding isn't your only option.
The story outlined by Platinum Games is but another aspect that takes Revengeance even higher on the Most Wanted List, primarily due to its simplicity. Unlike MGS where the player was led down a surreal, techno-babble trip, Raiden's tale is a lot more basic, primal. Revenge is indeed the name of the game. As a bodyguard working for a Private Military Corporation or PMC, Raiden's world is quickly turned on its head when a V.I.P. he's been tasked to protect gets killed on his watch. And so he must rebuild. He must make things right. In the context of the Metal Gear universe, the plot is a welcomed breath of fresh air. And while Revengeance is sure to have its fair share of plot twists and double crossings, knowing that this is a revenge story kind of makes things a little less cloudy. It’s sort of like Kill Bill…only with robots and cyborgs.
As an outsider looking in, I can’t help but get that warm fuzzy feeling at the prospect of Revengeance, a feeling I haven't felt since Metal Gear Solid back in1998. Fortunately for me, and you, dear readers, Games Abyss is going to be taking Tokyo Game Show 2012 by storm where Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance will be available for play. Expect a full hands-on preview in the coming days. In the meantime, I'm going to climb inside my cardboard box and wait. Won't you wait with me?