First Battle of 2013: Why Revengeance is better than DmC (Demo Impressions)
Which hack ‘n’ slash rises victorious?
by Arthur Kotsopoulos
©2013 Arthur Kotsopoulos
Let it be known that I’ve had the chance to check out multiple codes and play the latest demo offering with Metal Gear Rising Revengeance whereas with DmC I’ve only played the demo that was recently released on Xbox Live and PSN.
However, after spending the better of a few hours on both demos (note they can be finished within 30 minutes), I can safely say that of the two, Revengeance is the premiere hack and slash title to look forward to this year.
Dante May Cry
Developed by Cambridge-based Ninja Theory, the studio responsible for Heavenly Sword and Enslaved, DmC is set in a parallel universe that has little to do with the original Devil May Cry series which featured blond half-human, half-demon Dante.
In the latest DmC , released this month, we have a young foul-mouthed punk-rock looking Dante, who is half-demon and half-angel, better known as Nephilim, living in Limbo City.
In the shadows demons control Limbo City through the various comforts of life. CCTV are littered through the city, corporations promote unhealthy drinks among the population and fear is spread throughout the television media. (ED: So nothing like our world today then….)
Almost instantaneously I had the vibe of John Carpenters They Live.
I have to hand it to Ninja Theory in that the one aspect of DmC that I did enjoy was the shape-shifting city, which continually manipulated itself everywhere you went.
The presentation and environments in this game are of the utmost highest quality; it’s just a shame that every thing else has paid the price.
Devil May Sigh?
Not only did I find myself completely bored with the bland and uninspiring enemies but I was taken aback by how clunky and slow combat felt. The core of the Devil May Cry series has always been the combat, the fast hack and slash antics of Dante, stringing together multiple combos with your sword or Ebony & Ivory.
I loved spending hours to improve your combat score and mastering the art of fighting.
DmC with its lower locked frames-per-second has given us a combat mechanic that feels awkward. Sure you can still string together combos but obtaining high scores and SSS ranking seems all too easy.
Both bumper buttons allow Dante to dodge and it’s annoying when many other titles include a lock on feature, because you’ll continually find yourself pressing either of these buttons only to realize they don’t lock on.
Being a half-demon and half-angel does have its perks though, as by holding down the left trigger you’ll equip Dante with the angelic scythe, Osiris, whilst holding down the right trigger will equip the demonic axe.
This opens up a multitude of extra moves at Dante’s disposal and if the combat was paced faster and the enemies weren’t as bland as they are I could enjoy the combat more. You’ll find annoyance in two things with these extra weapons; holding down the trigger to activate it becomes tedious and regardless of how many hours you spend you’ll always forget you need to hold the trigger down to have the weapon equipped.
Secondly the Y and B button are mapped for attacks whilst X activates the weapon’s alternate function. I found myself during combat pressing away at the X button only to realize I was just latching onto enemies or pulling them towards me.
Due to the nature of Limbo City, you’ll be required to traverse the city using these alternate functions on a very regular basis. The scythe features the ability to pull yourself towards enemies and blue circled points of interest whilst the demonic axe allows to latch onto enemies or red circled interest points and pull them towards you.
It adds a little variety to the usual run and jump on walls but many games have done this before so it isn’t anything new. Devil May Cry hasn’t been a game with quality voice acting but DmC is just borderline painful to listen to. The dialogue before the boss fight (the second offering in the DmC demo) made me want to slice my ears off and throw them in a barrel of fire; I just couldn’t sit through it.
I know a demo isn’t a representation of the final code but the DmC demo did not do anything to keep my hopes up for this reboot. I found myself bored of the combat, uninterested in the enemies and offended at such horrible dialogue.
Metal Gear is SOLID
When you compare it to Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance there’s just no competition. Both demos do an absolutely wonderful job of highlighting the contrasts between Japanese and Western development studios though.
Revengeance is developed by Japanese developers Platinum Games, the team behind Bayonetta, which was a surprise hit.
Sure its story was a tad cliche but the combat and stylish action was just awe-inspiring. Revengeance was in a little bit of hot water early on in its development stages but once Platinum Games had been brought in, the ball got rolling.
What we’ve got is a fluid third person swordplay action game where players can seamlessly enter Blade Mode, a bullet time-esque scenario allowing you to slice and dice opponents into hundreds of little pieces or easily block opponents attacks and perform combos.
The demo for Revengeance features the option for a quick tutorial to accustom you with the combat of the game. It’s nothing too difficult or tedious and you’ll be in action before you know it.
Metal Gear Cut-Scene
The island level opens with a lengthy cut-scene (something that isn’t alien to the MGS franchise) which explains some of the back-story behind Raiden, the game’s story and the PMC he’s working for. Again the productions value in this cut-scene alone is of the utmost quality.
To block an enemy’s attack you’re required to flick the left thumbstick in the direction of the attack and tap ‘X’ and the right moment.
It’s frustrating at first but once you stop frantically pressing everything you can and time it right you’ll find that in light of no function to dodge blocking will be your new best friend.
Through out the 20-30 minute play through I came across rocket launchers, grenades, battle multiple enemies and Gekkos and fight- an extremely tough and intelligent cyborg tiger with a chainsaw on the tip of its tail.
Metal Gear Hard
Much like Ninja Gaiden 1 and 2, Revengeance requires you to time your attacks and blocks. If you’re playing on a harder difficulty enemies will relentlessly attack you and you’ll need to be at your best.
This isn’t a game where you can sit back mash some buttons and progress through the story, it’s a game of skill. It’s evident in the boss fight that you’ll need to time your blocks and attack when the opportunity arises.
Due to the ferocious speed LQ-84I attacks you, blocking and knocking LQ-84I off its feet for a few seconds allows you to attack it. It is a rinse and repeat tactic but due to the fluidity of the combat it isn’t entirely tedious.
The demo packs some punch and proceeds to give the player a multitude of options to experience with the game.
Holding down the left trigger activates Ninja Run which essentially allows you to jump over small obstacles, run up walls and traverse the environment with ease. Again many games have done this before but due to how fluid Raiden can traverse walls and run over cars it doesn’t feel like a chore.
Almost every object in the environment is destructible so if you see a large crate or container, approach it enter Blade Mode and slice away, best chances are there’s nothing in it but other times you’ll find items.
Action isn’t just limited to just chopping up almost everything with Raiden’s High Frequency Blade though; you can heal Raiden is by injuring an enemy and pressing the B button to rip out a neon blue spine like repair unit straight from their cyborg bodies.
Injuring Gekkos until all 3 parts are light blue in colour allows you to enter Blade Mode and slice them into tiny pieces. There’s quantity and all of it is backed up by quality.
Multiple completions allow you to get an idea of the final product and there are a few avenues which can and I hope are polished (lip-syncing seems to be way off during multiple cut-scenes) when the final product is shipped February 2013.
The foundation has been laid and the product has shaped up, and it’s definitely an action oriented game with very minimal stealth mechanics.
To me it’s just a much more engaging game with a better combat mechanic.
If I’m spending countless hours swinging my sword at enemies, I not only want to enjoy doing it but I want to appreciate the effort I’ve put in to perform combos and stunning air defying stunts.