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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Metal Gear Rising (also, my birthday)

Let's get this out of the way. Today (I'm on Eastern time, so it's just after midnight) I turn 21. So yay for me, I guess. Before I go any further, no I don't plan on plastering myself to the floor today or any other day. I can't stand beer and I have little tolerance for alcohol. I also know when to stop. That's done, on with the games.

Metal Gear Rising, the upcoming Metal Gear game from Kojima Productions, follows the blond wimp (former) from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty Raiden. For those who never played that game, do so now. Stop reading and buy it, then play it, and do it twice. Then play MGS3: Snake Eater. It's even better. That done, go back to basics and borrow the original from someone or buy it off the PlayStation network (I think you can get it there). Then finally watch (as that's mostly what you do) MGS4: Guns of the Patriots. It is at this point, and at this point only, that Rising would make any real sense, or have any relevancy.

Backing up a bit, though, why I call Raiden a wimp? Again, if you know the Metal Gear series, you know how much a hard boiled badass Solid Snake really is and how exchanging him for some scrawny little punk with major emotional issues (bordering on the emo) seems like a giant slap in the face from Kojima and company. Granted, the kid knows his way around a gun, but the drama that he brought to the Metal Gear series sans any real testosterone grated at every Metal Gear fan's nerves. I'm not really being fair here, since the point is to explain it how you'd hear it from the internet hate machine (minus the profanity and lackluster use of the English grammatical structure).

But since I don't write to be like the internet but to be intelligent and as unbiased as possible, I'll put up why I think Raiden had a place in MGS2 and why he deserves the now apparent two games Kojima plans to make for him. First, we saw Snake's more human side in the first game, the conflict within him and his past (which, to that point, we knew little about). Second, the sudden shift from Snake to Raiden (call sign snake at first) put us on edge given that the opening sequence very neatly mirrored the intro from MGS. This excludes the section where you played Snake at the beginning. Third, and perhaps most importantly, if you listened until the end of the credits in the first Metal Gear Solid, a small sound clip hinted at something much bigger that Snake alone may not have been able to handle. To that end, a new player in the game that would become the grand conspiracy became necessary. However, Snake must not be that player, because in the first game he was essentially led around by the nose. So now it's Raiden's turn. And again, in introducing Raiden, a fresh-faced new recruit with connections wholly outside of Snake's sphere of influence, the other half of the picture, and its major players, could be brought into focus.

All that, and Kojima didn't want a battle hardened Snake being preached to about how to hold a gun and go prone (since new players certainly wouldn't know).

After the horrid fan reaction to Raiden's character, Kojima wisely left the timeline of the first two MGS games and focused on the man who started it all. Play the game to find out who. When he came back to the present and near future in MGS4, things were very different, Raiden had all but disappeared and the puzzle pieces slowly fell into place. Raiden did not, of course, become playable for any period of time during MGS4, as it was really Snake' story that mattered, he did play a pivotal cinematic role in the game's endgame. What is interesting, however, is that Kojima not only completely redesign his character but also disposed of most of his body and personality, making them robotic and quite cold. Rising and its sequel, are to answer the questions of how this happened.

Snake has a near and dear place in my heart as possibly the best spy action hero ass kicking guy to ever live (next to his "dad" and his mentor, of course), and I really want to see more of him, but I know his story is over, and there is nothing left to say. I was, however, very intrigued about Raiden, far more than I was in the days of MGS2. The new game mechanics Kojima plans to implement, i.e. destructible environments, gore and dismemberment, ninja style sword play and an unknown story telling device allow him to break ground in a way he hasn't since the first MGS. There's a part of me that wishes he'd stop with MGS4 and let the Snakes finally rest, but I know that the fans would never stand for that, and a man like Kojima always has ideas spinning in his head. Plus, Kojima Productions in a successful business, unimaginably so, and so he wants to profit from it (still).

When ever the game is going to come out, I want to wait and sit on my thoughts, hear what both the critics and the populace has to say. I'll make my decision then, and I honestly hope I'm not disappointed. Honestly, I don't think I will be. Heck, if I can sit through the hour long cinematic at the end of MGS4 and enjoy the game for what it is and more, I'll be able to handle a little emo drama from its best Kojima produced purveyor.

Thanks for reading,

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