This article originally appeared in Xbox World magazine.
With its ridiculous subtitle, madcap setting and fan-defying desertion of the series' stealthy roots, it's easy to groan about Metal Gear Rising Revengeance − but we defy anyone to care when you're slicing up a car finer than processed cat food in thrilling slow motion.
Bottom line: Platinum Games' − of Bayonetta fame − MGS spin off makes you feel amazing. Amazing. It's one of those game whose sheer controls make you smile, and burn long in the memory long after you've put down the pad. It's just so much fun.
After an elaborate tutorial that included precision-slicing a giant melon, we moved into true combat with live foes, where the game reveals its debt to Bayonetta. Hit X/Square and Raiden launches into furious, balletic combos, all deliciously framed for maximum iconic effect, with a delightful feeling of impact − at some points, Raiden even leans back and uses blades on his feet. Standard foes act as sword fodder, but dispatching them is a creative delight, as you mix and match button thrashing combos with precision trigger strikes.
Before our demo came to an end, we got to sample some gameplay diversity − the screen twists to an angle, and you need to sprint (via shoulder buttons) to dodge incoming choppers as the ground collapses behind you.
GRAINS OF TRUTH
You only need to look at the E3 trailer to realise that there's more going on than brainless sword-play. The plot threatens to reveal the origins of Raiden, with glimpses of him as Jack, a child soldier. There's even a tease of stealth play, as Raiden stalks rooftops, impaling his foes from above. Expect boss fights to be insane, with dramatic camera pans, frequent QTEs and plenty of skill required.
You might wish Metal Gear Rising Revengeance was a 'proper' MGS game, but this is willfully different and, potentially, something quite spectacular. We can't remember the last brawler, or action game, that felt so good, or paid such attention to the details that make you feel truly heroic − like the way the camera skews after a dramatic kill, and Raiden flushes out his arms with nonchalant majesty. Well, perhaps Bayonetta...
Revengeance is due early 2013, but you can get hands-on with the demo bundled with the forthcoming Zone Of The Enders HD Collection.