Nuchallenger “Favorite Games of the Year 2013″ #2 METAL GEAR RISING

In Metal Gear Solid 3, players were put in Solid Snake’s father’s shoes, Naked Snake. MGS3 took place decades before Raiden would be handed a sword, and hand to hand combat was given a thorough attending to both in gameplay and story wise. MGS3 introduced CQC, or close quarters combat, a more in depth and complex solution for allowing players to meaningfully grapple with and subdue foes. Naked Snake helped create this technique, but isn’t good enough when the game begins and has his arm broken, and is tossed off a bridge by his mentor, the Boss. She was the best at it, and players were given the entire game to learn this new system for when Naked Snake and the Boss would face off in the end.

CQC wasn’t just a story addition, as the newly designed combat system carried over into Metal Gear Solid 4, the direct sequel to MGS2 where players were reunited with Solid Snake as the protagonist.

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Toward the end of MGS4 the power of hand to hand fighting was reinforced as Snake was challenged to an epic fight that played out in a cutscene laden one on one spectacle on top of ship. Snake and his foe would fight each other with grabs, chokes and punches as chaos erupted all around them; this fight was very up close and personal, and was the most important thing in the world at that moment. This was the last fight that Solid Snake would take part in, and it tells a tale of generations through changing styles and mannerisms by his foe.

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Passing of the Guard

Metal Gear Solid 4 was a game of an opposite tone from Metal Gear Solid 2. Raiden represented new blood in the series, and his last fight was a fresh take on the game’s primary inputs. In MGS4 players who had been pining for the return of Solid Snake were given control of a shell of his former self. Solid Snake was now a dying, haggard old man, whose coughing fits would leave him as a weak and pitiful character for players to drag around.

Snake had a lot of new tools to play around with, but in the end it was still a sneaking mission, one that felt like it was trying to end the series for good.

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In similar form to players being teased in MGS2, the player was given a glimpse of a different Raiden in Metal Gear Solid 4, a now infinitely cooler character than the run down Old Snake. An ongoing character device in Metal Gear was that of the Cyborg Ninja, one whose abilities were far beyond that of Snake and we always watched in awe as the ninja did things we could never even hope to do within the confines of the Stealth Action games.

Raiden played that role in MGS4, and the player was forced to watch as the character they once begrudgingly controlled now juggled giant Metal Gears with the greatest of ease, slicing and dicing them to bits. Raiden was now the character we wanted to be as Old Snake could only run away and avoid such conflicts.