I'd been waiting to play the Metal Gear Rising demo since it was first announced way back when. I hadn't picked up the Zone of Enders HD collection (which offered the demo early). So I was happy to see it pop up on my xbox live the other night. After it downloaded, I got stuck in.
I think the demo was just right in its length and content. It gave you just enough to get interested and warranted a second and third playthough in order to really get a feel for the controls. You take out a few of the usual cannon fodder grunts, you get introduced to the next rung of that ladder curtosy of the gecko's and finally you get a taste for the bosses in the form of chainsaw weilding robotic dog, IF prototype LQ84i.
The game - now a third person hack and slash - is certainly a change of pace from your usual Metal Gear Solid gameplay. But with Platinum games at the helm I was pretty confident they would produce a glorious combat system that would hopefully rival Bayonetta's. Raiden has upped his game since Metal Gear Solid 2. From being 'that other guy' in the Metal Gear series, Raiden is now one of the most bad ass cyborg ninja's of all time. If you remember back to those crazy cutscenes in Metal Gear Solid 4, which saw Raiden take down a ton of Gecko's - Metal Gear Rising tries to emulate that madness.
On my first playthrough, I was a bit concerned with the lack of a dodge button which was your veritable bread and butter throughout Bayonetta. But instead Raiden seems to have a parry move performed by hitting forward and the X button, this puts Raiden into a brace like pose and an attack simply gets rejected and pushed away. Timing is rather crucial with this system and after getting the hang of it, I found myself liking it, seeing it as quite skill based in its execution. Perhaps via the upgrade system which the game will feature, we will be able to purchase a dodge mechanic - but if not, I doubt I'll lose any sleep over it.
The level on display during the demo wasn't perhaps the most interesting of locations, curtosy of war torn environment painted in brown - but hopefully the rest of the game offers some more variety.
The cutting mechanics are nice - but not all that far removed from those found within 2009's Afro Samurai. What is great though - is that during Raiden's 'big' moves - say from countering an attack perfectly, there are opportunities during your counter attack to use the precision cutting to turn your foes into sliced bread and beyond - you could (if quick enough) turn them to croutons.
The cast of characters - are interesting enough - not perhaps to the level of Drebin and many others within the original MGS series, but not without their own merits. I limited myself to one or two codec calls - wanting such conversations to be fresh upon playing the full game.
And then there's that soundtrack.
I really hope the full game continues to have music similar to that in the demo - combat seemed to alter the track and it would evolve during your actions in combat - a counter attack seemingly kicking in the beat just at the right time to make the score feel like that of a well crafted movies hitting at just the right moment.
All in all - I was throughly impressed with the demo and see myself picking this game up upon release. The content is a step away from the 'norm' if there is such a thing in the MGS universe, but its a spin off that looks to offer exactly what I'd want out of such an experience.
How did everyone else feel about the demo? Will you be picking the game up on release day?