MGS2 is one of my favourite games, and sadly I never played 4 because I don't have a PlayStation 3.
I won't bring this up again, but I wanna say up-front that I liked Raiden in MGS2 when he was a VR-trained rookie with no field experience, and was kind of shocked and confused by basically everything. I think making him an eyepatch robot ninja samurai really sucks the personality out of him and spoils that character. I think he's cheesy and dumb.
COMBATThe combat animations look very cool! Raiden slashes with the X button, and clips the sword onto his FOOT, then kick-slashes with the Y button. He flicks the sword from hands to feet all the time and it's really funny to watch.
X is wide-attack and Y is a focused strong-attack. I play a lot of combat games, but I couldn't figure out any recognisable combos here.
You can pick up grenades or bazooka ammo to use in combat, but they took so long to aim and throw that I didn't really want to use them.
There is no button to lock aim on a target, and you cannot change direction mid-combo. I flailed around with the camera in the wrong direction a lot, thinking "STOP KICKING! JUST TURN AROUND! I CAN'T SEE WHO'S ATTACKING ME!"
You can sprint by holding the Right-Trigger, and it was a lot of fun to sprint around and whip the sword left and right without losing speed. Especially because your standard attacks will slash things in half.
SLASHING THINGS IN HALFPressing up on the D-pad will activate Detective Mode. This highlights enemies in red, and slash-able background props in blue, revealing what you can and cannot slash in half. In the tutorial section I slashed a watermelon into 230 pieces, causing the framerate to drop to literally about 1. After that though, enemies would explode after you slash them a few times, and background props will fade out.
I was dissapointed with the physics on slashed objects. Whether they were the size of an entire bridge, or a little crate, they'd just bobble around on the floor. I found a secret path that lead me upstairs in a lobby, and I found my way to the chandelier on the cieling. I was totally ready to chop it off and have all this expensive glass come crashing down, but instead it just floated down like a bit of cardboard and stopped when it hit the floor, making no noise, then faded out.
Sprinting around and snapping off trees feels great, and chopping up an enemy into multiple pieces is cool, but I really often got a weak, slow, Garrys Mod version of what I expected to happen.
Also I found the precision slicing difficult to use. Aiming your slash took too long to actually be useful in combat, and there's a delay between when you flick the stick and when Raiden slashes onscreen. Again: It was fun to sprint around and casually chop cars in half. I leaned on entering precision-slicing, and then just mashing X to cut horizontally and Y to cut vertically.
Using precision-slicing in combat made me really wish there was a button to just snap to the closest enemy. Also I wish it reached further, as I slashed around 3ft away from a guy a bit too often.
CHARACTERSIf you wanna try an optional codec conversation, this demo is DENSE with those. I had 4 characters to speak to, and every time I tried it they all had some tangent to go on about PMCs, or memories of old missions they'd been on, or the boss I was fighting or whether or not I wanted to save. The codec conversations felt 90% of the way to being a legit Metal Gear game- my only hangup being that I couldn't spin the windows around or zoom in or do any dumb shit like that.
I felt like the characters were really corny. Metal Gear has plenty of archetypes and anime tropes in it, but this was less elegant with those. Your rival is named "JETSTREAM SAM" and your save girl's personality is that she's the clumsy one, uh-oh, don't spill that coffee clumsy girl!!! These characters would fit right into Vanquish.
YOU CAN GET STEALTH KILLSIf you can sneak up behind someone without them seeing, you can instant-kill them. The inability to walk, crouch, lean against walls or do anything else sneaky makes this a strangely isolated addition to the game.
My doctor friend (named "Doktor") told me a couple times to collect enemies' left hands. That sounds fun, but I'm not sure how to pick them up exactly.
The best parts of this demo were when I felt like I was playing a game in the Metal Gear universe, which was fairly often! The downside is that the slicing and combat falls a bit short of what I think the designers had in mind. It feels great, sometimes... Maybe they didn't have enough time or budget to refine everything, or maybe the hardware isn't there yet- maybe it's just the demo and in the full game that chandelier will crash around and be awesome! WHO KNOWS!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
On the flipside, Zone of Enders 2 in HD is fucking cool as shit!