Something about Japan: critics dazzled by Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance and Hitman Absolution

The big three Japanese gaming websites have been awash with articles about a ‘Boot Camp’ press event this week. Writers from Famitsu, Impress Watch, and 4Gamer all played through the entire Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance campaign, and though strict embargoes prevented them from revealing actual plot details, they were nevertheless allowed to give us their impressions.

4Gamer were impressed by the game’s difficulty curve, noting that the ‘cut and take’ element – whereby you can replenish Raiden’s life bar by performing a certain type of attack on an enemy – is particularly impressive. “It is tricky at first, but with practice, you’ll soon see other cyborg warriors as walking medi-kits,” says the 4Gamer report. “During boss battles, you’ll positively leap for joy when you see them enter the fray as reinforcements.”

Famitsu described the boss battles as “exceptional,” adding that “the design is unrivalled, from their out of this world appearances to the attacks they unleash and the high degree of strategy you’ll need to defeat them. And the exposition before, after and even during the fights positively screams Metal Gear!” Famitsu seemed quite concerned with how the game would fit in the Metal Gear canon, though. Establishing quite how ‘Metal Gear’ this Metal Gear game is seems to be a common theme amongst the critics.

Impress Watch said: “Even in terms of mechanics, the two companies [Platinum and Konami] seem to be in perfect symbiosis. Rather than plastering over gaps in the other’s deficiencies, it feels as if both companies have pushed each other to try and go further, leading to the creation of something far better. After playing through to the end, I thought this was absolutely a top-notch action game. Fans of Metal Gear and action games alike both should both be greatly satisfied by the resulting game.”

Impress Watch were also very excited about another title with a strong stealthy lineage, Hitman Absolution. While opinions seem to be split between devoted fans of the series and critics in the west, the game seems to have been well positioned to entice Japanese players to dip their toes in the bloody pool of Agent 47’s violent stealth action. In its first week it sold 22,000, a strong figure for a second-tier western franchise in Japan – though it was released by powerhouse publisher Square Enix.

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