Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance Review

[Updated again: Kojima says the game is a “spinoff”, an “interpretation”, and a “parallel” universe in this interview.  Considering that he’s the final authority on the subject, I guess my initial review was correct after all (I knew he’d said that somewhere before!)  Either way, I’ll leave the review as it is, and you can see my take on the game no matter what they decide in the future.
Thanks to
JMG519 for having my back with the link — go watch his videos!]

Revengeance Review

Bottom Line: Platinum Games does their best with a failed experiment.

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Kojima promotes Revengeance with overblown rhetoric

Kojima TwitterKojima and his almost-translator have taken to Twitter to give us a four paragraph promotional outline of Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, which comes out two weeks from now.  To me it comes off as little more than typical Japanese marketing spin: unnecessary philosophical rhetoric and stretching the truth until you can pretend your product is somehow totally unique.

In the tweets he compliments Platinum Games for delivering such a good product on schedule, and claims that shooting games haven’t evolved in 30 years while using a sword is revolutionary.  According to Kojima, “lot’s [sic] of games with jumping, running, kicking, crunching [?], punching, and shooting” have been created, but “game with hiding did not come out easily”, which is why “game with free slashing wasn’t even exist.  This is invention.”  Yeah… right.  Anyway, he then slips into Metal Gear metaphor mode, saying that while his “sons” with his “genes” (ie. the Kojima Productions team) failed to deliver the game, the non-blood-related Platinum Games were able to inherit his “memes” and accomplish the goal.

For those who don’t know the significance of this whole MEME/GENE obsession, check out the Kojima VS MGS4 article and the MGS4: Sold Out series I did years ago.

Below is a compilation of the full twitlonger posts in chronological order.

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(Updated) Konami’s E3 Show features trailers, Mega64

Konami’s “Pre-E3 Show” is now available.  Interviews, trailers, and a great Mega64 skit are being shown.  We finally get to see more of Rising‘s gameplay, which looks very typical for this genre.  Sadly, level design seems to be ripped from the Nintendo 64 era.  Huge crates scattered around for no reason, allowing you to reach higher areas; generic wide city streets with nothing going on; a train chase; a scripted bridge collapse.  The rushed development schedule is evident, and so is the lack of ideas.

And in case you hadn’t figured it out, the theme of cutting everything and has been cut down as well.  The developers say that only enemies and certain background objects will be sliceable, meaning you shouldn’t be expecting to get too creative with your sword.

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance

I’ll be talking about the upcoming E3, Zone of the Enders, and a bunch more on my twitter.  I’ve started using it regularly, and I’ll be using it to announce new articles and such for your lazy ass.

Watch this slutty Metal Gear Rising title screen

Yeah, you like that, don’t you?  You know you want it.  Check out his cyborg abs.

I bet you can’t wait until E3 now, where there’ll be a playable demo.  Platinum Games is going to give you a taste of their gratuitous action that Summer is all about.

Revengeance took 2 months to write

In case you didn’t know by now, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance is going to be an awful, terribly written, and throwaway title.  It was initially developed by the Kojima Productions team without the help of Kojima, but was bogged down in lack of direction and failed to the point of being cancelled, rebooted, and outsourced to Platinum Games, who were told to make the game as quickly as possible.

Play Magazine, issue #217, gives us the latest small details.  The Silent Chief tells us:

The only additional details about gameplay that was shared, other than what has already been made public, is that Raiden will have the ability to parry attacks even when his back is turned. This is a common feature found in most games developed by PG.

Proving they can work as fast as the gameplay in their titles, under PlatinumGames the new script for Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance in which Raiden is contracted for VIP protection was rewrote in 2 months. In contrast, it took Kojima Productions some 10 months to do so.

Many people are under the impression that this will be a real, interesting Metal Gear title, once again misunderstanding the point of the whole project.  I look forward to seeing what a Metal Gear written by Platinum Games in two months looks like!

Not much truth behind this video

My Point of No Revengeance article was well-timed, I guess.  I forgot that Geoff Keighley was going to be releasing a video expose on the development of Rising, but now it’s available, as you you can see for yourself:

Aside from padding the video with 10 minutes worth of pretentious scenic shots, the video itself reveals little that I didn’t deduce before — at least not concerning the turnaround of the Rising project itself.  The video makes it seem super-duper serious, if not emotional, through its choice of editing and shot selection.  Almost like somebody died and they’re trying to get to the bottom of the mystery.  But the actual content of the interviews is really straightforward and basic.  I figured all that out without needing to fly to Japan.

What’s worse is that the video never digs down to the true reasons behind the choices made.  Kojima gives some flimsy excuse about choosing Platinum Games because they’re Japanese, and understand what a katana is; and we’re just supposed to accept that at face value?  This is one of the most ridiculous answers I’ve ever heard from Kojima, but I’m not surprised he kept his cards to his chest.  It’s the interviewers job to go deeper into the motivations of the people they interview, but we don’t get any satisfaction here.  Keighley wouldn’t want to get on the bad side of the people who grant him exclusive access.  He’s a guest. It would be rude to ask harsh questions.

I’d like to hear about the other reasons for Platinum Games being chosen.  How about choosing a Japanese developer because it makes the communication process easier?  That’s pretty logical.  Or what about the fact that Platinum Games is an small independent company, not major competition like Capcom, who make the Devil May Cry series?  Konami can’t ask Capcom for help.  Platinum Games doesn’t have many hits under their belt, and still doesn’t have much recognition in the world, so for them this is probably an honor.  But most major developers would be insulted at having some failed concept project dumped on their lap and a deadline to go along with it, so it makes sense to pick one which is young enough appreciate the opportunity.

But do we get any hint of the truth from this “truth behind” documentary?  No we don’t.  This is a promotional video: a 25 minute commercial dressed up as serious, even artistic journalism.  Better than a traditional press release, right?

Just from watching the interviews, we see that Platinum Games wants to half-ass the project in order to meet the deadlines, but Kojima Productions is protecting their own reputation too much to accept this.  This makes the high-flung “Let’s make Japan the best in the world again!” rhetoric an obviously empty gesture.  This is still an awkward, confusing partnership, and the project still has time to fail — if Platinum Games fails to meet the “impossible” demands of their producers, Kojima Productions.  That, or it will be delayed repeatedly and be released as a compromised piece of shit.

If you want the truth about Rising, read this.

I should also mention I don’t know how involved Keighley was with the actual interviewing, but I’m going to blame him anyway.