Guest Writer: Metal Gear Rising

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.

[drop2]Fast forward five years from the Big Shell incident and we’re looking at Raiden now as a cyborg. He’s changed again. He now doesn’t fear death nor seems to have a care about any of the people he once loved. A few codec calls and some of the cutscenes allude to what happened between MGS2 and 4, but we never get to see his change.

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.

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23 Comments

  1. I like Platinum’s games; I have faith they will deliver in terms of gameplay. But I completely agree with your concerns regarding story and how it fits into the universe. The game you described where it fits in between MGS2 and 4 actually sounds great :)

    The idea of Raiden’s alter ego being a ‘rage meter’ as you described would also be really disappointing. But…I personally see the idea of a stealth game where you can cut/destroy everything as a bit counter-intuitive, so I’m glad they decided to focus on just one of those aspects. But that’s just me.

    • Oh, I’m sure they will deliver on gameplay too. I thought Vanquish was beyond excellent. My concern comes from, like you said, their inability to craft a good story, something that I hold in the highest on my list of requirements for an MGS game.

      I think stealth would be useful, despite the mechanic. While Raiden is certainly strong and powerful, he is by no means invincible. Imagine sprinting silently and faster than guards can notice and slicing down a pillar to land on top of a guard without anyone noticing. Then doing it again to a different guard and freaking out the other ones as they realise the first one wasn’t a freak-accident (With MGS4’s emotion statuses, either by tranq bullets or from sustained fire, this is feasible) to make them run away and leave you free to move on without having to face all the bullets. I’m glad we agree on the rage meter-mind. :P

  2. I agree with you fully. They would have been much better off sticking with the original idea in my opinion. I’d love to know what Kojima is up to (apart from the Fox engine) but the one benefit of not fully knowing is that I can still have hope that a proper MGS game is in the works.

    • Well if Kojima is making an MGS5, I can only think that it would be prior to all of the Metal Gear games (Pre-MGS3), telling the story of the Boss and the Cobra Unit and the former’s finding of her new apprentice. That, or the transition from Big Boss in Peace Walker to the original Metal Gear. Of the images leaked thus far, if they’re actually related to the game, it would seem to be the latter.

      Either way, exciting. :)

      • I think the direction he could go would be the transition from Peace Walker to Metal Gear, and then play from Big Boss’s point of view in the oringinal Outer heaven story, even flitting from Solid Snake to Big Boss and parrellel the two stories, in a half remake of the 2D game.

    • I thought it had been confirmed that MGS5 will happen at somepoint?

      • Nobody has come out and said it’s MGS5. There was a recruitment campaign and 2 images but it’s not confirmed by any means.

  3. I left in the pouring rain from my house and walked 6 miles to get MGS4 at midnight release, then as soon as the HD collection was announced i was salavating again… This i just dont have the craving i do for any other MGS game. Im sorry but it looks pants, like a fancy looking game on my phone where i chop some fruit and veg… ;)

    It may be brilliant, but ill wait for several reviews and let a few mates waste some wedge to tell me to get it or not, cos it just aint doin it for me!

    Great write up though, really enjoyed it.

    • Fruit Ninja in third-person doesn’t sound appealing to you?! Good lord, what’s wrong with you? :P

      I’m certainly still getting it. 1. Because I eat up most things Metal Gear (Except AC!D, deary me) 2. To see if I can be proved wrong (I hope I am) and 3. Because it looks like the gameplay could at least be fun. Like you though, I’m not salivating at it’s prospect.

      I’m glad you liked it, thank you.

  4. I agree with you CS15. MGS:R had the potential to be an excellent game. Raiden rescuing Sunny from the Patriots and getting caught then getting turned into the Cyborg ninja would have been an excellent story. Plus, at the end, Snake could make an audio or visual cameo along with Octacon. But unfortunely, PG decided that won’t make a good game and instead we have MG:RR. WHICH IS A BLOODY BETRAYAL! When i think of a MG game, i think of stealth, i don’t think of Raiden going DMC on everyone and calling himself Jack the Ripper as he seemed to have overcome the trama of his childhood by MGS 4 although Rose did mention that before MGS 4 and after MGS2, he did become unstable and turned to drinking.

    It would have been very interesting to see how Raiden handled waking up in his new cyborg body as we have no clue how he reacted. Did he panic? Cried out in pain? etc.. Plus, it would have helped to develop further as a character, from the rookie that saved New York to the cyborg ninja that saved snake by stopping Arsenal Gear from crushing him at the cost of his own wellbeing. Even then, he refused to give up and saved Snake when the syringe stopped working before he entered the mircowave corridor.

    But no, instead, we have this abomination that should have never been greenlighted and instead should have been cancelled or released under another name and have nothing to do with the MG and MGS Franchise. Also, if Snake makes an appearance in this, someone is getting punched in the face.

    Excellent article though. *sharpens knife and prepares to murder MG:RR*

    • What would have been totally badass, would’ve been to play from post-MGS2 all the way through to the point where Raiden first sees Snake in South America, codec-calling him from a hilltop overlooking Snake. They could then, potentially, work on DLC allowing you to play as Raiden through the parts in MGS4 he was in. Culminating in you seeing Raiden reunited with Rose and meeting his son.

      I don’t mind MGS straying from it’s stealth routes if the way it goes is a natural evolution of the series. In the original Rising, Raiden could utilise either and a smart player would know when to hide and when to utilise your strength over the enemy. Naturally though, now that it’s out of Kojima’s hands, such faith in the player’s intelligence has been lost by playing to the casual audience.

      I agree with you though, this isn’t an MGS game. It’s just a DMC knock-off stealing a character from a different IP. And I wonder if Snake will make some sort of cameo in the game, maybe as an announcer in some score attack kind of thing. Much like how he let you know you got a top score in the VR missions of MGS2.

      Thank you, I’m glad you liked it.

  5. Good article! I agree with your sentiments about the plot, setting and feel of the game. Making it non-canon means its immediately lost a lot of appeal for me, now I think it just looks like another Heavenly Sword type game but with a familiar character. Maybe if we’d known nothing about the origins of the game and had only known it as a Platinum project then it would have been a different story?

    • Exactly. A lot of appeal to people who play MGS games is how the plot will progress and what sort of batshit-insane plot twists we’re going to get. No matter what twists and turns we get, we know it’s going to be for nothing as it doesn’t really count.

      • Exactly! I think Peace Walker has shown so much potential in terms of the direction of any future MGS games with the overall management and mini mission structure, the massing of your army after the story is over is also a great and sinister way to progress and feels so satisfying. I wonder what satisfaction Rising will provide.

  6. Finally somebody says this. I’m fustrated so much by this it hurts to think about it.

  7. I miss MGO.
    I crave a new MGS story.
    Peacewalker was terrible.

    & instead of giving the fans a fill-in of one of the most intriguing yet undiscovered sections of the games story, they scrap it and do the safe one.

    10 years ago we would have got what we wanted, its bcuse of money and pressure to sell games that fit a world wide taste, although mgs has a big fanbase its not for many people. I believe this is why we see such a safe option from Konami.

    • I really liked Peace Walker. It wasn’t so great on PSP, because of the hardware’s limitations, but it plays really well in the HD collection.

      You hit the nail on the head with that comment. It’s more about playing it safe than taking the risks the games have been taking, and succeeding with, previously.

    • I also really liked PW, mainly because it made u feel like u were actually building the Outer Heaven Big Boss built, and has loads to do. Far to much for me to conquer, but I feel like I can go back and still find things to do even after finishing the story.

      10 years ago we would have certainly got what we want, after the reaction to MGS2 I believe Kojima said ‘if u don’t like the MGS3 trailers I’ll change the game premise’.
      If only that happened now.

  8. Although The KP report did a decent job of justifying the change i thought was inexplicable, I completly agree with the article.
    Sean Eystone and friends said about it not having any directions and the game falling in on itself literally thanks to the cutting, and I can see how it was going nowhere fast without Kojima steering.
    However as a true fan, i wouldve been happy with the MGS1 ninja VR missions style. A stealth environment with Raiden having some ninja jumps, a lethal blade with some destructible bits and non lethal blade a la mgs2.
    The original story u mention was very intriguing although they did mention that would be put into a box and not thrown out, so it could be revisited in future. Perhaps this will be the basis for MGS5?
    Or Kojima is creating from scratch MGS rising….

    • My own personal theory is that with Kojima having some sort of dev-boner for 60fps, that 60fps plus Metal Gears and the system resources necessary to allow you to cut anything would be too much for the systems. I mean, PG’s Rising runs at 60fps but it’s taken a hit graphically.

      I don’t think I’d be happy with just a revamped version of Ninja Raiden from MGS2. Maybe a slightly enhanced and easier to use version of MGO2’s Raiden. That one was limited because it had to fit the controls into a 3rd-person shooter control set. Unravelled and made easier to use would make it a natural evolution from the MGS2 Raiden to my imagined version of Rising.

      Was the original story being put on the back burner mentioned in the KP report or the mini-documentary they did? I feel like I missed that but I could easily be wrong.

      • They mentioned it in the KP report, can’t remember what one but was fairly recent. Just after they showed the new trailer, obviously they got loads of mail and wanted to directly address the issue.
        When talking about the story the Chris guy mentions that the story has only been scrapped for the this game, and still exists on paper….

  9. A few sections in the MGS story that I feel they could easily explore (some of these are close together so could be in the same game should konami do something like this)

    1. Before the events of Shadow Moses when Snake was in the Green Berets
    2. Remakes of MG I + II (Battle between Big Boss and Snake andd Snake and Grey Fox would be mouth watering)
    3. The story cut by konami for rising, with Raiden becoming a cyborg.
    4. Raiden as a child soldier with solidus.
    5. I’ve always said Gray Fox was cut out of MGS way too early, maybe something surrounding him, similar to the spin off we see with revengeance.
    I have literally hundreds of ideas for MGS, MGO also. I hope Konami listens to its loyal fans and once again produces something brilliant. I say Konami, not Kojima, and this is because I think if Kojima had his way we would see alot more MGS.

  10. Great, great read. My hunch is MGS5 will tell the story rising was originally lined up for. Revengence will be fun and a new take on the world. Metal gear is the greatest series ever, the idea, the premise rising now presents is exciting. I loved vanquish so the teams capabilities don’t have me worried. I’m intrigue and wonder filled and have faith in Kojimas decisions. Let’s hope it’s a belter.

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