Solid Snake's story may have ended in Metal Gear Solid 4, but his robot buddy, Raiden, remains. And, for the first time since Metal Gear Solid 2, Raiden wil take on the starring role in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. Konami had a playable build at a recent press event, so we were able to put the game through its paces.
The moment the demo started, it was clear that Revengeance controls nothing like previous Metal Gear titles. Raiden moves fast, able to zip around the world like Ryu from Ninja Gaiden. Cover? Bah! Who needs cover when you have a giant samurai sword.
The combat is almost entirely focused on Raiden's sword. Basic moves can be executed by the face buttons, but for more glamourous attacks, you can hold down a trigger and enter Blade mode. While in this mode, time will slow down, allowing Raiden to execute precision slices with his blade, capable of cutting limbs off enemies in nasty fashion. You can't use this mode all the time, though, as it'll drain your energy every time you use it. You can recharge that energy by slicing enemies in just the right spot, granting you access to their undamaged power cores.
The slicing mechanics are tremendously satisfying. Anything can be cut up into multiple pieces and you can even activate Blade mode in the middle of a combo, usually to deliver a killing blow.
In addition to the slicing, Raiden has extreme maneuverability options, letting you vault up onto just about anything, dash past multiple enemies. In one particularly ridiculous sequence, Raiden was able to take on an assault helicopter by vaulting across several missiles as they were in flight. By the time he got to the chopper, he was able to slice the blades, sending it plummeting to the ground.
Metal Gear fans will also notice some familiar enemies making a return. GECKOs, the two-legged walker mechs, return and now you can dispatch them with your blade, just like you saw Raiden do in a cutscene in MGS4. There will be full-on Metal Gears making a return, as well. The demo closed with the foreboding image of Metal Gear Ray, prepping for a one-on-one face-off with Raiden. I think we know who will win.