At PAX, I had a chance to play Metal Gear Rising again. While the demo I played was the same build as the one I played at E3 (read about it here), I discovered a few new things.
There are attacks that the demo doesn’t tell you about.
While the demo doesn’t tell you anything about any attacks outside of light, heavy, and blade mode, I had a chance to experiment with the combat a little bit more and discovered a couple of new skills. Double-tapping the left stick towards an opponent and then pressing square will have Raiden dash towards the enemy and stab them, very much like your standard “Stinger” attack from Devil May Cry. Although I’m not a fan of the double-tap motion (which coincidentally performs Stinger in the upcoming DmC), the skill was incredibly handy to close distance with in the middle of combat.
If you perform a 360 motion on the left stick and press triangle, Raiden will grab his high-frequency blade with his foot and spin around like he’s breakdancing. This is a good way to get enemies off of you and does heavy damage (It also looks really cool!).
Ninja Run can be used for stealth.
Hold RT, and you can use Ninja Run, which allows Raiden to jump up walls, hop over cars, and deflect bullets with his sword. While it’s a bit counterintuitive since Raiden is running and surrounded by electricity, Ninja Run is actually also the way you sneak up on enemies. Sneak up on an unknowing enemy and press B, and you’ll impale them.
The more you cut, the higher your score.
Unlike Metal Gear Solid, which encouraged using bullets sparingly and had some incentives for non-lethality, Rising is a game about cutting everything into tiny bits. Cut something (or someone) in half and you get two “parts”. During my playthrough at E3, I thought the “parts” counter was simply for a humorous (or grim, depending on the way you look at it) show of force, but instead, parts are a significant element of Rising’s scoring mechanics.
In fact, your grade at the end of the mission is based on individual grades for five aspects: Time, Battle Points (BP), Zandatsu, Parts, and Kills. While Zandatsu (as I described in my previous hands on) does involve accurate cutting, the Time, Parts, and Kills grades tend to make the game veer more towards manic action.
For instance, once I knew that parts were important, I began to use Blade Mode on enemies who I’d killed with standard attacks as they fell to the ground. With some manic right stick work, I could slice a falling enemy into 50 parts. Alternately, if you used blade mode on a relatively undamaged enemy and the Zandatsu square didn’t appear, cutting them to ribbons was a good way to use extra energy and still gain points.
When I realized how focused the game was on cutting, it became an entirely different experience for me. I was Ninja Running all of the time, slashing everything in the environment as I went to up my score (for the record, I ended the main mission in the demo with an A grade).
Cats are ninjas.
I noticed another player who was playing around in the initial training area who had found a cat. No matter how he sliced at it in Blade Mode, the cat would backflip in slow motion out of reach of Raiden’s slashes.
Food for thought:
I’m still not 100% sure how to gain more BP during a mission, but I know that better grades at the end of each stage gave me more. I’m assuming that the stinger and breakdancing attacks I played with were unlockable skills, or at least similar to what we’ll see as unlockables.