The decision to make girly boy Raiden the hero of Metal Gear Solid 2 wasn't short of controversy, so it might seem strange to repeat it in the latest spin-off. Thankfully, this isn't the same semi-naked androgynous character, but a seriously deranged cyborg with a penchant for turning people into meaty chunks.
Rising takes place in the time frame between MGS2 and MGS4: Guns of the Patriots, explaining how Raiden lost his human form, and ended up looking like a walking Gillette razor. It's still a stealth game at heart, but creative producer Shigenobu Matsuyama says that Raiden's ferocity and augmented agility will encourage players to face enemies head on.
If the E3 demo is anything to go by, chopping enemies in half looks like it's going to be a lot more fun than creeping around in the shadows. The control system allows you to be incredibly precise in how you want to cut, and the results look spectacularly gruesome.
The system looks fairly similar to Afro Samurai, with a white line appearing over nearby enemies or environmental objects. It's based on a concept called zan-datsu which translates as 'cut and take'. This means that each swing of your sword can have a very deliberate result, so you might decide to use it to sever a foe's gun arm to take his weapon, or remove a cyborg's spine to absorb its energy into your own body.
The demo also showed that it will be possible to slice directly through scenery such as gigantic stone columns, whether they obstruct your path or you want to send a roof crashing down on to your opponents.
There will be both human and cyborg enemies to do battle with, although Matsuyama hints that there might be a reward for getting through the adventure without killing anyone - usually the preserve of elite Metal Gear Solid players. We're not convinced we'll be able to resist lopping off a few heads, though, especially if the game ends up incorporating Kinect controls.
At the moment it uses a traditional controller, although Matsuyama has said that he's 'experimenting' with the new platform. We think it would be a perfect fit.