God of War 3, Yakuza 4, Heavy Rain, VVVVVV, Batman Arkham Asylum, Rayman Origins and most recently DmC. All games that had excellent demos. They gave a stand alone experience, often non-canonical; specially made for the purpose of demonstrating a product. They excel because they capture the essence of the core game, remixing together key elements from the experience in a condensed, no nonsense format. Great demos are, and should be, akin to movie trailers.
Metal Gear Rising completely drops this opportunity with one of the least gameplay filled demos I have ever played. I had to play through the demo at least 5 times to even get a handle on the feel of the combat. If I were more pedantic, I would go through and record the amount of time that the demo spends on cutscenes versus the amount of enemies you actually kill in the game. Given that I’m not a complete bore, you’ll have to do with my best estimate. (Bear in mind I am about to count on my fingers the number of enemies you get to fight in one play through of this demo, from memory and it is not going to be a taxing quest)
Number of enemies killed: about 22.
Time spent in cutscenes or conversations: at least half an hour.
My quick capsule demo grade: D-
So why read on or continue to care about this game? The demo does a severe disservice to what is sure to be an excellent game. It’s like a barman telling you about the latest novel he’s writing while refusing to serve you the drink you ordered. We’re here for the violence and the kickassery, let’s see it.
The gameplay in Metal Gear Rising is an absolute credit to Platinum games. The way the swordplay, the ninja abilities, the now-essential “detective mode” element and the harvesting enemies for points and health recovery works, is sublime. Perhaps not as closely controlled as DmC but possibly even a little bit sexier, the combat in MGR is beautiful. It’s like Bayonetta and Vanquish played spin the bottle and got carried away and nine months later...You get the gist. It’s great.
In other words, I give full credit to Platinum games for all the parts of MGR that I actually like. I have every intention to purchase this game and skip every single cut scene. Kojima’s waffling does my bloody nut in...
And Kojima’s waffling it is indeed. There is no clear sense of character in the very cutscene heavy demo. The “characters” such as they are, serve only as puppets for Kojima’s drivel, or to exposition and backstory. It’s like listening to the soundbite “War Never Changes” from the start of Fallout, but on loop, accompanied by stupidly glamorous avatars with all the sincerity of a Saturday morning kids' cartoon.
These shuffling, slack jawed story zombies re-explain routine things to one another, and confirm key parts of the backstory even though all present in the conversation have actually been involved. It is storytelling of the lowest calibre. It’s all telling and no showing.
I don’t care about acronyms, I don’t care about political movements, I don’t care about the technical ins and outs of your pseudo science Hideo and I really don’t believe people actually speak like this. Please, just knock it off...
Honestly, it’s like listening to a first year uni student who is desperately trying to weave everything they have learnt into everyday conversation. There is a scene where Raiden, fop-turned-badass, is facing off against an AI controlled robot and feels the need to make an asinine comment about the difference between human beings and machines lying in the soul.
Bad Kojima, naughty Kojima, IN YOUR BED!
Not only is this line painfully cheesy and ridiculously out of place, it shows our heroic lead talking to a fecking robot about the “soul”. He might as well be talking to a vibrator about the nature of true love. It’s stupid and childish and pointless, just like every cutscene in this demo and YET the gameplay is still so good I will still buy this game.
So yay for Platinum and boo for Kojima! Everything the latter does to lower the experience, the former elevates with an equal and opposite force.
In conclusion, try the demo, skip the cutscenes, (there are an obscene amount) enjoy the combat and make your mind up from there.
Name: Ben Burns
Position: Staff Writer
Ben enjoys long walks in the park, helping the elderly, and moaning. Or if the mood takes him, moaning through the use of words.