Some Tips For Playing Metal Gear Rising, Since It Does A Terrible Job Of Explaining Anything To YouS

There's a part early on in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance where you're going to want to give up. Please don't.

It's not your fault that you might be stuck; It's Platinum's. And don't worry, you're not the only one. Myself and Kotaku colleagues Kirk Hamilton and Chris Person all hit the same ridiculously hard moment and had the same reaction: "What the hell, Raiden? How the eff are we supposed to get past Blade Wolf?!"

The three of us talked about it in an e-mail exchange over the weekend and, while we all like the game, our discussion highlights some of the stupefying design choices that make Revengeance feel more obtuse than it should. So, resist that impulse to fling your controller across the room and read the following exchange between Kirk, Chris and me. (Note: We all played on the Xbox 360.) It might help you out. If nothing else, you'll know that you're not alone in screaming at the screen.

***

Kirk:

No bullshit, I need help with Metal Gear Rising. I can't even get past the first actual fight where you have to defeat the two two-legged walker guys. What am I missing with this combat system? Is it about relying on counters? Is there a way to move quickly from target to target? I feel so slow and ungainly, and I can't keep track of what the eff is going on. I keep getting blindsided and countering feels very touchy. But, for some reason I can't do the damn VR training missions because they're locked past number 3.

Is there really no dodge button?

Tips would be welcome! Explain to me how this game becomes do-able.

***

Evan:

First off: the game is terrible about teaching you its systems. I have a whole graf about that in the review.

So, this is the Blade Wolf boss fight you're talking about? If so, then, yes, that's mostly a parrying fight. Normal parry is direction + X, I think there's one that just neutral (no directional input) + X and you have a dodge move that's A+X that should help. You will screw yourself in the fight if you try to do too much.

Also, you should have enough health refreshes to win out. They can kick in automatically if you select the repair nanopaste (all the way to the left, and then up or down until you find it) in your inventory.

I took out the two Walkers by just doing jumping, running slash attacks.

Some Tips For Playing Metal Gear Rising, Since It Does A Terrible Job Of Explaining Anything To YouS

That Blade Wolf fight is unconscionably hard for how early it comes and how little you know about actually playing the game at that point. I played it for two nights straight—wailing all the time—until it clicked. But, it makes the stuff that comes later feel easier by comparison.

This game isn't as good as DmC when it comes to combat switching, whether it's targeting or weapons. But it's kind of more timing-based, especially with the parry. So, keep all of that in mind.

***

Chris:

Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance's system is so cryptic and confusing it's not surprising that you're feeling stuck. The game literally explains nothing to you and that part of the game is particularly punishing.

  1. Parrying is everything. Directional parrying specifically. Dodging and blocking aren't really your friends. When the screen illuminates red, press the directional button towards the attack and press x, this will allow for a brief window where Raiden parries. The game will then sometimes allow you to go into Blade Mode and cut off all the limbs.
  2. There's actually a kinda real dodge in this game. It's the X+A button upgrade move. What the game DOESN'T explain to you is that it actually functions as a side-step parry attack and not just a jump-back move. So try directional button+X+A when an attack is going down against you. Raiden will side-step and parry.
  3. You can also save in this game at any time, anywhere by talking to the blonde woman in the codec conversation. I guess they thought this was a cryptic Kojima joke.

    Some Tips For Playing Metal Gear Rising, Since It Does A Terrible Job Of Explaining Anything To YouS
  4. Pressing up enters you into a scanner mode (Something they ALSO don't tell you about until later). This not only reveals enemy heat-signatures, but also treasure chests and destroyable walls.
  5. You can target lock-on with right-bumper. (They ALSO don't tell you that.)
  6. Left and right on the d-pad will allow you to equip and select secondary weapons (Grenades, Rocket Launchers) and left bumper will allow you to use them.
  7. Pressing down directional button on the d-pad will let you use a health pack. Whoops, that was probably important info too.
  8. Blade Mode energy is underneath your health. It is replenished by ripping out the spines of enemies and by simple attacking. Half of the challenge is recognizing when you can slice enemies apart and when you can't.
  9. A really simple dial-a-combo if your blade mode energy is up is to do the sliding ninja-run attack then entering blade mode. It should allow you to quickly cut up normal enemies fairly quick if you're good at it, while at the same time replenishing your energy.
  10. You can cut off specific limbs by aiming with the right analog stick. This is important if you see an enemy with a red left hand, but also if you're trying to specifically cut through a core to get at their spine. It's not as fast as button mashing, but it's more precise. Also, you get different point values based on HOW you cut up the enemy.

Evan and I were talking about this a lot. I know the fight specifically, but believe me that the game does get better when you figure out exactly how the hell to play it.

That said, in the words of Dan Savage, "it gets better".

Some Tips For Playing Metal Gear Rising, Since It Does A Terrible Job Of Explaining Anything To YouS

***

Kirk:

You guys are lifesavers because holy frack, some of this is CRAZY that they don't tell you.

You can hit "down" on the d-pad to replenish health? You can set it to automatically replenish health?? There's an unlockable dodge move?

Jesus Christ! How do they get away with not telling you any of that, then pitting you against such a tough boss?

I was actually stuck in the first fight against the two robot walkers, but NOW I'm stuck in that boss fight. I'll try to use all the stuff you guys said and try again.

I can't believe there's like... seriously one fight against two dudes, then suddenly you're up against huge monsters and bosses. Looking forward to the pacing evening out, but then again, this is a Platinum game. Their pacing is a bit different.

Yeah I'd imagine it gets better—I mean I love the sheer audacity of the game, and it makes me want to replay Bayonetta—but yeah, I also think like, damn it's not a bad thing for a game to welcome you a bit like DmC does.

***

Some Tips For Playing Metal Gear Rising, Since It Does A Terrible Job Of Explaining Anything To YouS

Chris:

I kinda feel...mixed about how they decided to not tell you these things. On the one hand, I have an absurd love of Ninja Gaiden for the Xbox and God Hand for the PS2, so a lot of the "You'll kinda just have to figure this crap out for yourself" element dovetails with both of those experiences as well as Kojima's love of self-discovering things about the game. But for the most part, it comes off as lazy, confrontational design.

Man, God Hand. This game reminds me a lot of God Hand.