Within the first ten minutes of gameplay, you battle a modified Metal Gear Ray (!), run down the side of buildings (in an obvious nod to spiritual predecessor Bayonetta), hop over rockets and slice colossal mechs right in half.
And that’s just the tutorial stage. Can you imagine how crazy the later levels are going to get? That’s the real fear that starts to grip you once you wrap your head around what’s going on.
Such shit involves an organisation known as Desperado Enforcement LLC and its association with a cyborg terrorist uprising led by a rather nasty chap called Dolzaev. At the beginning of the game, Desperado’s cyborg samurai attack a convoy that Raiden (and the “private security firm” that he is enlisted in, Maverick) is protecting and leaves our hero for dead. So there’s bad blood between the two parties, for sure.
Desperado Enforcement in general, however, just seems more concerned with watching the world burn. The convoy attack was a retaliation of Africa’s intention to keep the country free from international arms trade, and its relation with Dolzaev’s cyborg terrorist outfit initially seems to be related to providing weapons. Of course, that’s until Raiden investigates and digs a little deeper into the organisation’s real intentions...
Beat bad guys up enough and their limbs start turning blue - this means that you can engage in the over-the-shoulder Blade Mode and slice and dice to your heart’s content. If you have enough Fuel Cells (displayed as a blue meter, obtained by fallen enemies) then you can dismember your foes limb by limb.
You also have a few defensive moves up your sleeve - but it requires a little bit of patience and timing. Parrying involves watching your enemy’s strike, and moving the left stick in the direction of the attack and pressing the Square button at the same time. If you get it right, you slow down your enemy and allow yourself to get several counters in. It’s key to survival in most boss battles, particularly ones that rely on melee damage.
There are many nods, winks and blatant references to the Metal Gear franchise in Rising. The Codec is still present and correct (and a bit easier to navigate this time too), and VR missions can be discovered throughout the game to tackle at your own pace. There’s a fair bit of Metal Gear lore in there too, with references to Legionnaires to name but one spoiler-free example. Even a bizarre sense of humour, worthy of Kojima, is in there - Raiden in a sombrero? You better believe it.
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Interview Industry Insights: Xbox Reveal Edition