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Metal Gear Rising Revengeance: E3 demo slices up rivals and cubes critics

Hands-on with Platinum's pleasant surprise

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You get to slice up melons, too. One *enormous* one - y'know, for fun - plus some small 'uns to practice precision. Some targets have sweet spots which score extra points and damage, but are hard to target in the heat of action. Some cardboard foes hold hostages, so it seems safe to presume you'll need a steady hand later on to avoid *posting*, say, the president's daughter in a cardboard box.

In no time, you move into true combat with live foes, where the game reveals its debt to Bayonetta. Mash (square) and Raiden launches into furious, balletic combos, all deliciously framed for maximum iconic effect, with a delightful feeling of impact - at some points, Raiden even leans back and uses blades on his feet. Standard foes act as sword fodder, but dispatching them is a creative delight, as you mix and match button thrashing combos with precision trigger strikes.

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The game also subtly integrates QTE events for maximum cinematic pay off, like holding square + triangle to do a special move. Raiden whacks his foe up into the air, and the action auto-cuts to precision mode, so you can, say, slice a foe's head clean off in slow motion to reveal his brain before he hits the floor. It sounds gratuitous, and it *is*, but never abhorrent - more like an insane, OTT, samurai fantasy. As foes wise up, you need to use parrying (triangle) to block before launching into combos, or jump into attacks by tapping x. Intuitive, yet deep. You know, like Bayonetta, but with even more iconic characters and MGS's rich universe.

The demo asks you to retrieve some key codes to unlock a terminal. You simply follow a radar dot to the correct foe - he's hiding in a box, naturally - until you slash it to bits, and he drops the codes. Tap circle to pick them up, and access the terminal. This brings a huge, terrifying, bipedal Gecko into the action, as seen in the war torn streets of MGS4, like agile Metal Gears. They resist instant precision strikes, and need to be smashed into vulnerable positions, so you can use rapid QTEs to vault onto their heads and impale your sword in their nerve centres. The action is seamless and, simply, makes you feel like a badass.

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