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

The enabling done by the game might feel like more of the familiar calling players out for inflicting violence on the world and being hypocritical for it that is all the rage these days, and in many ways it is, but I think there is one very specific idea put forth that makes everything worthwhile; find what you really believe in and stop acting like you’re trying to appease everyone, because at the end of the day that is really no stance at all. This speaks to “AAA” game development as a whole these days, where so many games wish to appease many people and fail as being meaningful.

Metal Gear has maintained its niche for some time, with Splinter Cell abandoning straight stealth long ago. With Metal Gear Rising the series has taken a notable shift, one that required Kojima Productions to have to look elsewhere to the gods of “AAA” action games creation, Platinum, to get the job done. The fact that the game just couldn’t exist in the pure realm of a stealth action focused developer and that it required a new team to make the game speaks wonders for the amount of change that was needed to make Rising feel like its own game and to give Raiden, the once mocked new blood protagonist, his own game.

Rising’s design speaks to Platinum’s continued expression through the action games medium. It shows a company that channels the frustration with the current state of the action games genre, one that in many ways has been claimed by the West to be “theirs”, and shows that they will not be out done.

The biggest faults with Rising are when it tries to force stealth into the game, its camera design that cannot keep up in tight quarters with the action and that it doesn’t ever force a player to actually learn the parrying system, something unheard of in this day and age of design. That last point is less a flaw with the game than with those who played and ignored the prompts in the beginning, but it is, as I began, a sign of our dulled reflexes, and our over reliance on bullshit gameplay tropes force fed to us by FPSs of our day.

One last thing of note, Rising has one of the most fitting soundtracks in years. Another shift from the epic score of Metal Gear Solid is a soundtrack infused with Metal and supports every last action in the game better than a game deserves.