Today’s guest piece comes to us from C_S15, and features his thoughts on the upcoming Metal Gear Rising. Let’s just say he doesn’t seem hopeful.
WARNING: Contains spoilers and story references to Metal Gear Solid 2, 3 and 4.
Ask any Metal Gear Solid fan who their favourite character is and chances are the last name out of their mouth will be “Raiden”. While the reluctant hero was lambasted by many for being too whiny, for me he represented the player in such a strong way that he broke the fourth wall far more than the Colonel’s insistence that I turn the game console off.
I mean Raiden was a soldier trained in a variety of VR missions before being thrust into a real-world combat situation. Replace VR with video games and think about how you’d react in the same situations.
Raiden transitions from reluctant greenhorn to a true soldier by the end of Metal Gear Solid 2 and it was this change that made me feel for him in the same way that Naked Snake did when he transitioned to Big Boss.
I originally thought that these parts of the story may have been cut from MGS4, but one evening watching E3 in 2009 changed all that. Hideo Kojima entered the Xbox stage and revealed Metal Gear Solid: Rising. This was a brand new game starring Raiden in a different version of the body we saw in MGS4, and the zan-datsu concept it centred around looked to innovate in a way that we can only expect from a Kojima Productions game. Finally they were filling in Raiden’s back story and we’d get to see him at his finest.
The ability to cut anything also added a level of depth in gameplay and a new dimension to how you approached enemies. Cutting pillars enemies are under or collapsing a structure an enemy is on top of would allow you to cause maximum carnage and destruction with a minimal amount of exposure.
The ‘cut and take’ concept implied that as well as taking health or information, that you may be able to upgrade certain areas to make Raiden better. So far, all exciting and all innovating. The game looked like an MGS game with an action focus and, for me, that was brilliant.
The story would pan out excellently as well. Post-MGS2, Raiden sought Olga’s daughter, Sunny, fulfilling the promise he made to Olga in MGS2. He learnt her location from Big Mama and the Paradise Lost Army, A.K.A. the Resistance, from Act 3 in MGS4. Ultimately, he found Sunny in Area 51, somewhere great for some old school sneaking, right?
After leaving Sunny with Otacon and Snake, he travelled the world and learnt how to hunt and how to track. Eventually, he came back to Big Mama and the PLA and was asked to complete a mission that involved stealing the body of “Big Boss” from the Patriots. He was unsuccessful in his mission, and was captured and tortured.
The Patriots performed experiments on him, causing him to look the way he does in the trailers we saw at E3. He was eventually rescued by the PLA and had his new cybernetic body enhanced and made his own by a Dr. Madnar, a character from the very first 2D Metal Gear games.[drop]So despite how amazing this game sounds (to me, at least), the game was cancelled due to the development team not keeping to schedule and not really “knowing what the soul of the game was”. Fair enough, games get cancelled all the time, although I was incredibly disappointed, to say the least. My favourite series had finally changed in a way that could have redefined Metal Gear games and it had been cancelled.
Finally, we come to the “rejuvenation” of Rising. Platinum Games, revered by some, loved by others, were to take the mantle of Rising. My initial reaction was one of disbelief, “Wtf have they done?!”.
The feeling of power you had over enemies in the E3 demo had been replaced with multiple slices to different enemies that wouldn’t have felt out of place in a God of War game. Despite you owning a sword that was sharp and strong enough to be stuck into the ground and hold up Liquid Ocelot’s Outer Haven, it could not slice a slightly mechanically enhanced enemy.
The canon tale of Raiden’s downfall post-MGS2 and his transformation prior to MGS4 had been lost, replaced by a non-canon post-MGS4 story where Jack seems to fight various cyborgs and Metal Gears for the sake of it. Zan-datsu is apparently still in the game, but was nowhere to be seen in the trailer.
Instead of tactically using your environment to injure enemies, cars would be sliced and made to explode for aesthetic effect. The promises of a form of stealth different to any previous game (using your speed to be basically invisible, strength to jump up into the corners of rooms, like Snake in The Twin Snakes) had suddenly vanished.[videoyoutube]Raiden also has an alter-ego: Jack the Ripper. In my dreams, Raiden would have experienced flashbacks to his child soldier days, preferably in playable sections as a third person shooter.
It would not surprise me in the slightest if the inner turmoil and anguish Raiden felt from the events of Metal Gear Solid 2 onwards was made by Platinum to be some sort of rage meter; after a certain amount of blood is spilt, Raiden has some sort of episode, becoming a killing machine and talking in a more gravelly voice than David Hayter after a shouting match.
While the non-stop action may appeal to some, including me to some extent, I cannot look at what there was before and what there is now and say “This was the right move”. The current Rising looks like a good game, no doubt, but imagine your favourite series showing you something innovative and different, something you and several other fans have been craving from that series for a while, only for it to be replaced for something that is safe and tested.
I fully understand that both fans and non-fans of MGS and Platinum Games are looking at this game with salivating mouths, I just hope to put across while at least I am a little upset that Kojima Productions couldn’t quite make their brilliant ideas not quite gel together.
Also, Revengance isn’t even a word.