Replaying Revengeance: Difficulty, Mastery And Fighting

One of the downsides of being a games journalist (violins please) is that you don’t play many games that aren’t also ‘work.’ I secretly indulge a Counter Strike habit and the odd round of Hearthstone behind the sheds, sure, but mostly I play stuff I’m writing about or might write about. To break into that cycle takes a special kind of game. Something unique in style and structure. Which is another way to say I can’t stop replaying Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance.

Hit the jump to learn of ZANDATSU.

Revengeance is of a genre that’s never found a natural home on the PC, and so perhaps deserves a little more attention than it’s received – because it’s one of the greatest 3D combat systems ever, a precision masterpiece built around an irresistible hook. This genre is also often misunderstood in terms of total running time or the cutscene-based narratives, both of which are irrelevant next to the true purpose. Stylish fighting, and plenty of it.

I’ve played it through on Hard and Very Hard, and am now hitting Revengeance difficulty. This raises the question of what difficulty levels are for, and what they mean for different types of game. Certain elements of the gaming community wear difficulty levels as a badge, a literal achievement, and decry those (like me) who prefer to have a ‘normal’ time in most FPSs and games in general. Difficulty has negative connotations, because we’ve all played games where what it means is the enemy damage and accuracy goes through the roof. No fun.

For games like Revengeance it’s different. Here the difficulty levels are almost like the game’s framework; to put it very simply, your own increasing mastery of the combat system is matched by an ever-increasing intelligence and ferocity on the part of enemies. In Revengeance it doesn’t feel that the baddies necessarily start hitting harder, though they do keep pace with your ever-stronger body, but that they’re becoming more capable and smarter about how they engage. Some gain new moves and all have mixed-up attack patterns, meaning that you’re always just on the edge of mastering them rather than ever quite being able to do it.

‘Replayability’ is thought of as a distinct part of a game’s appeal, yet in the case of something like Revengeance it really is everything. This is not about alternative story branches or new areas to discover, but a core system that is so flexible and large that it has to be gradually unfolded to new players. Mastery of one strata leads onto another, and this is not a question of memorising combos. Think of it more like a tree diagram – an enormous tree, stretching far out and up with countless sub-branches to follow. Then imagine there are shortcuts all over the tree from one fork to another. This is Raiden’s potential moveset and you cannot memorise a structure like it, so instead you learn to climb with style.

Ask the name of a single combination or its exact sequence of button presses in Revengeance, and I’d return a blank stare. This is a system you come to feel your way around, so you always know that from certain angles a heavy attack will bring Raiden’s heel down in a slam, from where you can either continue to press with another heavy and into the launch or pull out / parry with light attacks. From that launch you could follow him up into the air or re-focus the next heavy on approaching foes, always leaving room for the parry, or switch to a light offense if there are lots of humanoid (ie superfast) enemies in the mob. These decisions are made in split-seconds during Revengeance’s full-on battles, and the only way to even approach dealing with them is to be reactive.

I’ve now been playing Revengeance for over a year, because I ran through it on all difficulties on PS3 before the recent Steam release and jazzier visual effects / all DLC, pulled me right back in. And when you have that kind of perspective on a game the root themes seem more obvious. Revengeance is the first of these types of fighters I’ve played where the goal is permanent offense – Raiden should always be attacking enemies in all circumstances, unless he’s parrying or sprinting towards them. The vast majority of action games give you the tools to get things done and then some, but I’ve never played one that so focuses the player around being the aggressor. The only way to avoid being hit, in fact, is to be constantly moving and attacking

The ‘Zandatsu’ system fits into this rhythm beautifully; when an enemy is stunned or sufficiently weakened, you can put the game into slow-mo and with one precise slice rip out their cyborg spine and very being. It’s hot, and definitely not gratuitous. But it’s also a technique that can be triggered into its own unique animations or used in the midst of pre-existing animations, for example Raiden’s slide. So although there are flagged Zandatsu moments, you can also trigger a kind of ‘full-manual’ mode to disembowel enemies from nearly any angle. Revengeance uses tiny freeze-frames during combat to highlight potential Zandatsus, which are almost too short to react to, but like mastering a pinball table their angles and pacing ingrain themselves over hours.

This is an example of how one technique – the Zandatsu – complements the more furious core fighting system of Revengeance. But it couldn’t also pass with a comment on the theme. Even in this fantastical technological dystopia, Raiden is samurai. The archetype or the calling-card of the samurai across Western media is an animation; the sword held by the waist, followed by a movement that leaves the blade in the air and the opponent sliced. In the Zandatsu of Revengeance, therefore, you see not just a brilliant and stylish system but a link and homage to its source. Few developers outside of Platinum hit such peaks of mechanical refinement.

Not everyone loves 3D fighting games, with their surface impression of restricting corridors and comic-book violence, but I am one that sees their beauty. Here’s a funny thing. I don’t watch action movies anymore, because thanks stuff like Revengeance it feels boring watching a stuntman ‘dodge’ a bullet or act out a swordfight. It must be the passivity. Because I know that, within worlds like this, it’s possible to be the kind of action god that makes Hollywood look like Thunderbirds.

One of Revengeance’s little tricks, though really it’s the whole act, is to mix up the types of baddies you face on higher difficulties. These simple changes in group dynamics are there to confuse players with a static plan, and they do. It’s when you learn how to roll with the unexpected that Revengeance becomes expressive, as mashing gives way to perfectly-timed taps and counters, and fingers almost without bidding are setting up the next move.

The incredible number of routes through even one ‘chain’ of Raiden’s attacks, when you add in things like cancels and parries and held-combos, makes each miniature sequence in a fight a show-stopper with room for endless flourishes – or an instant, devastating Zandatsu. The reason people often use dancing metaphors when discussing high-quality fighting games is, I think, because control over a system like this can come to feel like an expressive skill, a way of being within the bounds of a monitor. By the time you’ve reached the stage in Metal Gear Rising of cleaning house with perfect parries and an unbroken combo, you don’t stand in the aftermath and think “Raiden did that.” You know, you feel, that you did.


  1. GameCat says:

    Did someone tried playing this game on Intel 3000 graphic card?
    I would love to play this game but my gaming gear is crappy as hell.
    And I can’t even download “demo”, because downloading ~25GB of data just to find that it will not even run isn’t fun. :x


    • Smashbox says:

      Highly doubtful:

      Graphics: Nvidia Geforce GTS 450

      • Pangalaktichki says:

        Minimum system requirements for this game are a joke, it runs fabulously in 1080p and high details on my 3-year-old GTS 250

  2. Revolving Ocelot says:

    Pressing F for spines?


    • Ruffian says:

      I would assume it’s just a random screen shot or something, because it definitely has correct button prompts, for 360 controllers at least. Or he’s just another one of these crazies that enjoys playing action games with kb+m. : \

      • Deadly Sinner says:

        I played Devil May Cry 3 on a keyboard. It was brutal, but the game was so good that I went through it about four times, not to mention the time I spent in Bloody Palace. Thankfully I got a thing to hook up my PS2 controllers to my PC, so I don’t have to contort my fingers on my keyboard.

        I think Revengeance would my much better on a keyboard and mouse, since it doesn’t have fixed camera angles, like DMC3. Although the tradeoff is that the camera is more unwieldy.

    • The Random One says:

      Quick, Snake! Plug your keyboard in the controller port 2!

  3. BLACKOUT-MK2 says:

    I’d like to say, as much as I really agree with this article and love Revengeance and fighting games in general, I could really connect to the whole ‘game and movie’ action comparison. Because of games like this by Platinum, Cyberconnect2 etc. the action is so over the top, that I often get bored of action in movies and think ‘Well I’ve seen stuff 10 times more OTT in games than what I’m seeing now’ and the last time I remember seeing action that had me hooked was in Man of Steel.

    But I’m glad because I really feel there are times that such zany action will only work in the context of a game. Take something like Asura’s Wrath; where in a movie are you going to have the main character take out a buddah statue by going apeshit on one of his fingers, and proceed to defeat the Earth itself and even God? Much like in Revengeance I can’t really see anything like it working in a movie, and I think it definitely works better in the context of games.

    • Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

      Over the top action is what puts me off many action movies recently.
      Especially with Man of Steel, it was like “ooh, I wonder what you told your CG artists to animate this time? I’m on the edge of my seat here! ” I don’t like any of these characters or care what happens to them, but they sure can destroy some buildings!

  4. GamesInquirer says:

    Good man. It’s not the greatest game or even the greatest hack and slash but it’s fun as hell despite the flaws. Everyone should buy this so we get more Platinum games on PC. And more Metal Gear as well!

    • DatonKallandor says:

      Vanquish would instantly rocket to the “one of the greatest shooters of all time” position if it came out on PC with a control scheme that isn’t like driving nails into your eyes (aka a gamepad for a shooter).

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        There is a petition going decently strong about porting some easy SEGA titles on our platform, VF5 runs in arcade machines using a windows architecture so it’s an easy pick, plus they suggest Bayonetta and with that Vanquish since they use the same engine as MGR which is already on our shores.

        There seems to be an interests from SEGA given the replys, plus there’s also the fact that Platinum games already mentioned they might make more PC moves, so i’d suggest everyone interested to sign. Both Bayonetta and Vanquish are great pieces of gaming that would totally deserve some PC love, not just for graphics but for FPS ( which isn’t perfect even on 360) and long time preservation.

        link to

  5. Althus says:

    Do you play with d-pad or keyboard?

    • Didden says:

      Screenshot shows a F key highlighted.

      • Amnesiac says:

        Would the game think the player is using a keyboard if they hit the F12 key to take a screenshot?

        • Revolving Ocelot says:

          I use F12 for screenshotting. While the game changes things around to keyboard prompting when you hit the keyboard, one of my shots says it doesn’t do it on the actual take.

          link to

          I went back and did all the bosses on Hard with no damage because FUN. Except for Sam. I can’t parry/dodge him at all, for whatever reason. And I’m not even going to try no-damaging Armstrong in the DLC, him and his horrible Psycho Crusher thing.

    • Richard Stanton says:

      I used a wired 360 pad for REVENGEANCE, I think it’s pressing f12 for the screens that has triggered the ‘f’ prompt, as others have mentioned.

  6. altum videtur says:


    Revengeance is the greatest thing since STALKER for me. It gripped me and didn’t let go until I rummaged around in its innards to find that they did, in fact, hide the gateway to Fairy Land. And now I go back and replay every once in a while, grinning whenever I experience the rush of a competently executed manoeuvre.
    It’s a system that is so full of synergy that you can’t help but be immersed in it pretty much by default.
    But I suppose it’s not for everybody. And I still can’t decide if the decision to subtitle George’s speech was racism or just for the convenience of non-native english speakers.

    • Revolving Ocelot says:


      I’m a native English speaker and really couldn’t make sense of what George was saying if I ignored the subtitles, and looking at them I still struggled a bit to match up the dialogue. But it’s a given that all non-native speakers are more eloquent than 95% of us, anyway. Innit bruv yeeeeeeeeah m8

      • Jae Armstrong says:


        Why is the music in this game so goooooooooooooooooooood?

        More games need wailing guitars and lyrcis that are secretly exposition.

        • Geebs says:

          A lot of the music seems to be by that guy who got kicked out of Machinehead. Possibly for liking power metal too much.


    • Premium User Badge

      Malarious says:

      I mean, George’s English bordered on pidgin. I had no idea what the hell he was saying half the time and I’m a native speaker.

    • Deadly Sinner says:

      My immediate reaction was that the subtitles were weird, but he used a bunch of non-English words in addition to his thick accent, so I think they were necessary.

    • Low Life says:

      He’s not speaking English, so it makes sense to subtitle his speech.

  7. SillyWizard says:

    I secretly indulge a Counter Strike habit…

    Ugh, preach it brother! How has nobody set up a support group for us, yet? I don’t even want to play it anymore….

    You’re tearing us apart Lisa CSGO!

  8. Pich says:

    Correction: Raiden is a (cyborg) ninja, Sam is the samurai.

    • Jae Armstrong says:

      Correction: Raiden is an enormous dork who desperately wants to be a ninja and gravelly-voiced badass.

      <3 Raiden.

      • Ruffian says:

        lol, I love him to death as well, but I couldn’t help seeing a random montage of Dark Knight memes in my head every time he did his Jack the Ripper voice.

    • Richard Stanton says:

      I just couldn’t decide, what tipped the scales in the end for me was the zandatsu motion. I take your point though, Sam is definitely more samurai. Can’t they both be? Or can THERE BE ONLY ONE?

      The fact that Gray Fox is explicitly ninja also supports your case.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        And there’s also the fact that Sam is the only one using an actual Katana, the Fox blade istead is a ninja-to and Raiden’s standard sword is something among those lines.

        Plus, in the DLC, Sam is not even supposed to stealth kill people ( unless i missed something ), that’s just another detail that goes to reinforce his old school warrior image.

  9. Pich says:

    Also, this article is why DMC fans were so angry at DmC.

    • Synesthesia says:

      I don’t think i follow. Do you mean that as a good thing to the article? DmC’s combat system felt terribly oversimplified besides DMC4 and their cohorts. I waltzed through it on hard with pretty good scores, and i definitely remember being younger and with a faster brain, not being able to kill some of those fucking statues that needed an S combo.

      • mrwonko says:

        He apparently means that in a “this article describes what made the old Devil May Cry games good and what DMC lacked” way.

        • derbefrier says:

          I was reading this article and the whole time I was thinking about my experience with the first Devil May Cry. He could have just as easily been describing that game here. I did the same thing with the original DmC conquered it on all difficulty settings, for much of the same reasons he describes. It was tough but my skill level got so high by the end of it it was starting to get easy. then I remember Devil May Cry 2 coming out and beating it on normal difficulty without getting killed once. It was a huge disappointment for me and i haven’t really payed much attention to the series since. This article makes me wanna buy this game though. I think i will.

  10. Geebs says:

    I watched the Chip and Ironicus let’s play of this while playing through, and I am now utterly ashamed of my terrible technique.

    Also, playing these on PC is the best thing. On the strength of this game I tried out Bayonetta on the 360, but had to give up because I honestly couldn’t see what was going on.

    • GamesInquirer says:

      Really? Bayonetta is 720p and mostly 60fps on an Xbox 360. It’s not to the standard of some super sampled PC build but it’s not exactly all that crude either. It’s way more polished and has better art than MGR as well, given the additional dev time.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        Still, it’s more often along the 40-50 fps territory and that’s without mentioning when stuff gets occasionally worse.

        I bought Bayonetta because after finishing MGR on all difficulties on PC i had a terrible urge to play more Platinum material. Sure, i wasn’t disappointed, don’t get me wrong, mostly because we’re looking at what’s possibly the best spectacle fighter ever made ( Bayonetta ), but the wasted potential compared to what us PC gamers are used still made me a little sad.

  11. araczynski says:

    that’s all great if you play games for some sense of achievement. i play solely for story/relaxation/escape. difficulty (higher than normal) is just an extremely annoying/limiting design decision to me.

    • Koozer says:

      Surely it depends on the game, and type of game. I don’t mind that Phoenix Wright games have basically zero challenge involved, and hate playing Fire Emblem on Hard, while also absolutely adoring Deus Ex on the hardest setting and Dark Souls. Those two games just don’t/wouldn’t work as well when you’re a god.

    • blind_boy_grunt says:

      i don’t think it’s the achievement, it’s having fun while playing, even when you are failing. Maybe you just haven’t found the game that you just play because you want to play it. Getting better at it is more or less a side effect.

      • Jae Armstrong says:

        This, pretty much. I generally abhor a challenge, but Revengeance has me ratcheting up the difficulty like it’s a drug and I need my fix. It’s just so incredibly fun to play, even when I’m fucking up, and it does an amazing job of making you feel like such a badass when you get it right.

        • BlueScarabGuy says:

          This is exactly my reasoning. Revengeance may get harder, but you always feel good playing it, routine combat never feels UNFAIR, just more challenging. Armstrong is the only boss that I can definitively say feels unfair at some points on a higher difficulty.
          And hey, if it gets too hard for you, after you beat the game on Normal, you get two Infinity Wigs, one of which gives you infinite fuel cell energy, which means infinite Ripper Mode. That’s literally the equivalent of infinite Devil Trigger in a DMC game.

      • darkChozo says:

        It’s almost like a rhythm game in that sense. You don’t turn up the difficultly in order to bash your head against a brick wall, you turn up the difficultly because you’ve built up enough muscle memory that the lower difficulty levels are trivial.

    • Ruffian says:

      You could still play the game casually with no problems, methinks – I think the point people are trying to express is that the combat system is fun, and the difficulty levels are something that are actually there in service of the fun rather than intruding on it.

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      I S ranked the whole revengeance difficulty, Armstrong included, ( steam id: gioppotm for non believers ) for a very simple reason: this game deserved all the attention i gave it, simple as that.

      Ramping up the challenge and replaying it is the REAL core of this game, and it’s very likely that you’ll totally agree once you get the hang of it. The gameplay has the potential of gripping you so hard that you won’t want to stop until every single challenge is defeated, and it’s extremely good at filling you with satisfaction as you understand the work was yours, not raiden’s, as this arcticle explains.

      My only gripe is the HF Longsword, after going through the hoops of unlocking it, ( first rank all VR missions ) i discovered that it was simply a far slower Murasama with a lot more energy consumption and less absorption, only longer. It should be a little more OP considering how hard is it to get it.

      Whatever you do, though, don’t buy and upgrade the Fox blade and the wigs, or at least just use that stuff for lols every now and again. We’re talking about huge cheat items here.

  12. ZombieJ says:

    “The vast majority of action games give you the tools to get things done and then some, but I’ve never played one that so focuses the player around being the aggressor.”

    Try Ninja Gaiden. Console-only, I realise, but you’ve already let slip that you are a traitor to the dork side.

    • Viceroy Choy says:

      Ugh, I never finished NG1 because it was so goddamn unforgiving right out of the gate. I felt NG2 had a gentler curve and the weapon variety was nicer (upgraded claws = face wrecking combos).

    • Muppetizer says:

      I’ve yet to find another game quite like Ninja Gaiden, I’ve realised I was more of a fan of the game and level design than the combat mechanics. The entire time I played Revengeance I was waiting for a more open hub environment like the one offered in Gaiden. They’re both good games, I just personally appreciate exploratory aspects a little more than guided experiences.

    • Richard Stanton says:

      This isn’t in the piece, but it should have been – zandatsu solves the biggest problem I had with Ninja Gaiden, which is that (on higher difficulties) you die constantly and restart. I especially remember tearing my hair out near the end of NG2 on Master, really wasn’t fun for me anymore. Ripping out spines and getting a health refill gives you more of a chance of surviving, and avoiding this kind of frustration. I do love both Ninja Gaidens though, and their various forms (haven’t played 3 for obvious reasons).

  13. BlueScarabGuy says:

    I’ve not been playing this on the PC, but I just beat a Hard difficulty runthrough on the 360, and boy, is it good. This is one of the few games that when I play it on a harder difficulty, I don’t stop playing from pure frustration. It’s that engrossing.

  14. Sard says:

    Complains that he should write about every game he plays.
    Tells us that Revengence is not one of thise games.
    Then writes about Revengence.

    • Richard Stanton says:

      Haha yes, that.. is a little awkward. I didn’t mean to write about this one though! It just… happened.

  15. Johnny Go-Time says:

    Wonderful article. I’m terrible at both MGS and Street Fighter but love them both and love reading about the experiences of top players. The Metal Gear story/world is one of my all-time favourites, but I had little interest in Revengeance until your talk of how it becomes a platform for expression…that really speaks to me and suddenly this is on my to-play list.

  16. tellrov says:

    Good article on what exactly the hook is on these types of games. I don’t really like the term hack ‘n slash since it conveys more of a button mashing image to me, which is the opposite of what these games are on harder difficulties. But on the other hand I don’t have a better genre name for it either.

    Anyway, Revengeance is great but the limited development time is really noticeable. I recently purchased Bayonetta and it’s so much more polished. Still though, both games are a blast.

  17. Low Life says:

    While I certainly like this fusion of the two over-the-top developers Kojima and Platinum, I didn’t find the combat system nearly as enjoyable as Bayonetta. The game feels too busy, with so much features crammed in that the combat loses its focus. I also thought my first playthrough (on normal, because that’s the normal difficulty) was way too easy, which meant that I didn’t actually need to learn to play the game. I haven’t thought of playing on a higher difficulty because of that, as I’d need to relearn everything.

    It’s also missing the amazing training mode of Bayonetta with the dynamic move list.

    • Richard Stanton says:

      They’re very different beasts. I think Bayonetta’s probably the greatest game of this type ever made though, and obviously had a lot more development time at PG’s end.

      One thing I would disagree on is that the game feels too ‘busy.’ Not because you’re necessarily wrong but because it’s something that for me became a part of the appeal; there’s tonnes of stuff going on, but it’s scrupulously fair about incoming blows and sound effects. So I actually find it pretty exhilarating to be in amongst the storm and having the clarity of mind to pick out the right move. Not that this always happens :P

      I don’t think you’d need to relearn everything to play through on Hard, btw.

      • Low Life says:

        Again this might come down to the difficulty I played at, but I just kept getting knocked down by rockets and other ranged attacks – but I never had to learn to avoid them because I still beat every encounter. Being more aggressive as you described in the article might be what I need to do to. I’ll probably give the game another go (on a higher difficulty) at some point.

        And yeah, comparing it to Bayonetta is a bit unfair, I’ll admit that.

        • tellrov says:

          Bayonetta’s definitely more defensive oriented with the dodging mechanic, except maybe on Infinite Climax. Revengeance on Hard I think is the best difficulty to start off with, with Very Hard being quite challenging but strangely Revengeance being less difficult if you master perfect parrying.

          • Richard Stanton says:

            Bayonetta on Infinite Climax feels like what it sounds like.

            I’ll get me coat.

          • Low Life says:

            Wait, you didn’t have a coat when you came in. Hey, that’s my coat!

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            Revengeance is FAR easier than very hard assuming you take for granted a litte detail: you don’t take damage. Armstrong for example with one hit can do far more than 200% ( the max buffed energy you can get ), instakilling you if you don’t have medpacks equipped. Basically, defeating him means that you most definitely can S rank him, or otherwise you’re likely to fall.

            The other big buff goes to parry, you need just one to bring the sewer’s last boss from 100% to 45%, and another one to kill it, and a very similar scenario applies to Sam.

            If you want to S-rank the latter, though, a speed run with no damage is not enough, you’ll have to build a decent combo. Some bosses like Sundowner and MG Excelsus require some extra effort but multiple tactics apply, like never cutting Sundowner’s shields and killing him in phase one with high enough combos and a very fast time, then killing 2-3 sliders in the flying phase.

            This video gave me a lot of motivation to learn to play like that, this guy is an incredible player. link to

        • Richard Stanton says:

          Funnily enough I had a massive problem with rockets early on! There’s an easy way to get rid of them though, which is at the start of any fight with rocket dudes, sprint at them and execute the slide move – you’ll send them into the air and can zandatsu while *underneath and still sliding* to slice them in half. Pretty neat! There are later rocket enemies that need a bit more offense, but this’ll work for like the first half of the game. Rockets also have a very telltale sound effect, which in my brain now equates to someone shouting ‘dodge now!’

          Anyway, great to hear you’re giving it another go – hope you enjoy!

        • darkChozo says:

          Offense is the best defense in this case — standard protocol on rocket guys is to take them out with extreme prejudice because they’re very difficult to dodge reliably, especially on higher difficulty levels. Of course, then Very Hard starts throwing more Zandatsu-proof rocket guys at you to make that more annoying. And that’s not even getting to one particular instance where there are out-of-bounds rocket guys that you need to kill in order to S-rank…

  18. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    I see what you mean, even though I don’t often play games like this.

    I mainly bought Revengeance for the over the top ridiculousness (I saw the opening cinematic and the first fight against that Gear in a Let’s Play, and after that I just went “Oh my god, I need this. I need this in my life right now.”), and I thought I’d play it through once, on normal, just to see all of it. However, after playing it for a couple of hours I’m having so much fun with the combat that I might actually play it several times.

  19. Dominic White says:

    Difficulty settings in most games are complete wank. You take more damage, enemies take less. It’s a single lazy variable-shift and is very seldom properly playtested.

    Platinum (and the Capcom crews they spun off of), Kojima Productions and a few others know how it should be done. Difficulty levels affect the entire game. Enemies get faster, smarter, more aggressive. The difficulty levels unlocked through completion of the game normally often have new enemy placements, dropping high-tier foes into early levels, effectively providing a new set of challenges in familiar environments.

    Your first playthrough of Metal Gear Rising is just practice, and even that is often hard enough to crush unwary players. Switch on up to Very Hard mode and you’ll see the true face of the game for the first time. Those heavy swordsmen that went down like chumps on Normal? They’ll rush you en-masse, parry every attack you can throw at them and pressure you into submission.

    Rumor has it that Dark Souls 2 will even be changing enemy placements in New Game+ mode, further extending my massive nerd-boner for that game. More games need to do this.

    You know what other classic series changed enemy placement to alter difficulty, rather than making cheap stat changes? Doom, and all its derivatives. Heretic, Hexen, Strife, etc – while the very highest and lowest settings made stat changes, Easy, Normal and Hard only affected enemies, and it was AWESOME.

    • Wedge says:

      Wow I just got a bunch more interested in DS2. I love the first two games, but never played much of the NG+ on them since it was just a stat upgrade to everything.

    • MarkB says:

      If that DS2 rumor is true I will probably disappear off the face of the earth when it comes out.

  20. phenom_x8 says:

    “…Here’s a funny thing. I don’t watch action movies anymore,…”
    Wow, Mr Stanton. You absolutely have to consider that statement before watching the Raid Redemption :
    link to
    And the sequel, The Raid 2 : Berandal, next march :
    link to
    Best action movie ever (you’re absolutely gonna feel the thrill when you watched it)

  21. Jesse L says:

    Not that all the Kickstarter and short-blurb games news stuff isn’t also useful and worth having, but this is the kind of games writing that is most valuable, in my opinion. The more the better. News is fine; game impressions are good; but writing that comes from an earned, deep understanding of a game, bringing its true nature to life for the uninitiated, is the best.

    I would rather that talented writers spend their time on games they like, and on bringing their most treasured experiences to us, than in researching the lean details of games that may or may not come out next year. Even when those games do come out, I’ll only want to play the ones that are worth revisiting, and we’ll only know which those are months after they’re released.

    Does that make sense? Thanks for this. I skim through the rest of your posts for substance like this. Please send more, RPS!

  22. DanMan says:

    It’s in the game!

  23. Uninteresting Curse File Implement says:

    This game’s combat is just unpleasant, but even when I got used to it (“how to play MGRR” guide on youtube really helps) it occasionally throws out such bullshit moments I considered dropping it a few times. But I’m having too much fun with cheezy cutscenes and dialog. Hope we get the next proper Metal Gear games on PC, although when you think of it, MGS4 was a goddamn chore as well.