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Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance: Zan-Datsu

Company: Konami

So it's finally on our doorstep. What began life as Metal Gear Solid: Rising is a completely different beast. It has a new developer, a new direction, and a new name: Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance. This will be the first game in the Metal Gear series that eschews the "Tactical Espionage" for the "Lightning Bolt." This spinoff, developed by the action genre paragons at Platinum Games, takes place after the events of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots and stars Raiden, the polarizing star of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. I recently got some hands-on time with the game, and I'm excited to see the finished product.

As mentioned before, Metal Gear Solid Rising: Revengeance stars Raiden. But don't fret: this isn't the girly man from Metal Gear Solid 2. He's the cyborg killing machine from Metal Gear Solid 4. He now works for a Private Military Company known as Maverick Security to provide for his wife Rose and their son John.

Raiden's motives for joining Maverick seem to be for the good of his family, but all of this changes when Desperado Enforcement, another PMC, attacks a convoy escorting the prime minister of a wartorn African nation. Raiden attempts to rescue the prime minister, but he is killed by Samuel Rodriguez, a powerful cyborg who then takes Raiden in a duel that ends with Raiden losing his left eye and arm. Maverick gives Raiden a new body, and our hero begins pursuing Desperado.

The action in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance seems to be engaging and fast-paced, but the game has one showstopper mechanic that seems like it might make all the difference. Blade Mode allows Raiden to cut through things at the angle of your choice. Lots of things in the environment can be slashed in Blade Mode, but enemies can also be maimed in a number of horrifyingly awesome ways.

Blade Mode figures into combat, but it doesn't always have to. You can simply use a series of light and heavy attacks that have Raiden handling his sword with his hands and feet until the enemy is dead. But you won't want to. Once you wear an enemy down, a burst of golden light will indicate that they are ready to be dispatched in style. Entering Blade Mode at that point will cause an orange square to appear at the enemy's center. Slicing through that square will halve the enemy, exposing his augmented spinal cord. One button press later, and Raiden brutally extracts the spine and crushes it in his hand. This is called a Zan-Datsu (Japanese for "cut and take") kill. It replenishes Raiden's health and increases your combat rating at the end of each encounter.

If you're a fan of this long-running and beloved franchise, you might find yourself confused that this new Metal Gear title is so far removed from the trappings of the stealth genre. If that's the case, my advice to you is to give this game a chance. Platinum Games certainly seems to understand what gamers want out of a title that has you controlling a badass cyborg ninja. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance hits North America on February 19. Check back for the full review.

-FenixDown, GameVortex Communications
AKA Jon Carlos

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