Going into Metal Gear Rising Revengance at the Tokyo Game Show 2012, I was sure I knew what I was in for. After all, I have played (and liked) plenty of Platinum's previous titles—i.e. Bayonetta, Madworld, and Anarchy Reigns. Yet, my time with Rising was plagued with a major issue stemming from the game's incredibly counterintuitive controls. Simply put, I could not figure out how to block, dodge, or counter.
The only way I was able to not get hit was to sprint away. However, that was hardly a possibility in most instances as sprinting does not interrupt combos and takes a good solid second to initialize.
While fighting normal soldiers, not being able to block/dodge isn't too much of a problem as ripping out an enemy spine restores you to full life. However, while fighting metal gears and robotic dogs—which take much more than one slash to kill—there is no quick way to heal. Moreover, they strike hard enough to kill you in only two or three hits.
Sure I was missing something, I even went back for a second turn at Rising. I studied the controller layout sheet and, sure enough, there was no dodge, block, or counter button.
Finally, after asking many different people, I found one person able to explain to me that while there is still no dodge, you are, in fact, able to block. To block, you must do a weak attack at just the right moment—something I never would have guessed.
So while many of the controls are exactly what you would expect from a hack and slash action game—with weak attacks, strong attacks, and jumping exactly where you'd expect them to be—other parts of Rising, like blocking are counterintuitive at best. And frankly, blocking is certainly important in a game where you fight a hyperactive dog with a chainsaw for a tail.