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

Enter Metal Gear Rising

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In Metal Gear Rising the player is finally given control of the new badass cyborg Raiden, and in the first stage you lift a Metal Gear Ray, which Raiden was last seen shooting with rockets in MGS2, and throw it clear across the screen before eventually cutting it in half. Things are immediately different in Rising.

Metal Gear Solid had originally focused on carving out the stealth action genre niche while working hard to fend off the likes of Splinter Cell, At the same time the character action genre was simultaneously growing. Devil May Cry, Castlevania Lament of Innocence, Ninja Gaiden, and God of War were building a genre around explosive character driven action games. Rising is the fusing of the two.

Stealth, the staple of the Metal Gear series, is almost a running joke in Rising. Unsuspecting enemies can be killed with a single button press, and Raiden yells at the top of his lungs in excitement. The absurdity of Raiden’s behavior becomes most apparent in tighter quarters; Raiden runs up behind 3 individual soldiers in a small room and screams, “GOT YA!” as he executes them one by one while each soldier continues his patrol none the wiser. Stealth here ignores any of the foundations of the Metal Gear series and is purely attack on sight – but this time if the guards are alerted it’s where the fun begins as the player has the power to kill everything that moves.

The act of killing with Raiden’s sword, or one of the other weapons that can be equipped after fighting the other bosses, is amazingly in depth and rewarding. A great deal of emphasis has been placed on skillfully taking out enemies without much in the way of energy lost from an errant attack breaking through the player’s defenses. For a perceived button mashing slash-fest, Rising demands patience and finesse.

Appearing initially as a game purely about offense, the defense in Rising is key to the point where an entire fight with three soldiers can be won with an equal amount of parries followed by quick & satisfying executions in which Raiden rips the enemy in half. With a well-placed slice the player will expose a power cell that can be grabbed and will give the player back resources to enable further slicing maneuvers and these clean kills also add to the player’s grade for each encounter.