I’m going to try something a little different today: a guide to something. Usually we talk of commentary on the video game industry and game mechanics, but rarely does Theology Gaming ever write a guide for something. I figure that, since the game’s been out for a day or two (and I already played it extensively, as you might gather from Monday), some people may need some help with the game and its various quirks. When Proverbs 1 says:
2 To know wisdom and instruction,
To discern the sayings of understanding,
3 To receive instruction in wise behavior,
Righteousness, justice and equity;
4 To give prudence to the naive,
To the youth knowledge and discretion,
5 A wise man will hear and increase in learning,
And a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel,
6 To understand a proverb and a figure,
The words of the wise and their riddles.
7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge;
Fools despise wisdom and instruction.
I try to follow that in every aspect of my life, even in video games. Most games don’t let you learn much, but MGR:R hides many complexities behind its stylish facade. If that sounds like Bayonetta or Vanquish…mix them both together, and MGR:R seems like their lovechild.I find it interesting that I’ve not written any guides for anything, given my penchant for breaking down mechanics. This won’t be a guide in the vein of FuturePress or Piggyback, but a general overview of some aspects the game’s demo did not cover very well. If you don’t want to spend money on a twenty dollar book (unlike me!) to go along with your sixty-dollar game, this may be your meal ticket.
For a video format version, check out Substance TV and Mr. Castleberry’s excellent video tutorial on the whole shebang. People like me, though, like reading about such things also (especially if you don’t know about it and want to stew over it), and it is with this in mind that I write this guide.
So, first things first:
Square/X does Wide Attack, Triangle/Y does Strong (and pretty linear) Attack. Simple, right? The Wide Attack sequence continue infinitely; keep jamming on the button and Raiden will keep doing it until you stop. Strong Attack does a pretty similar sequence, except it ends at a predefined point with a kick/blade flurry at the end. You can go from Wide to Strong and Strong to Wide; for the latter, you can’t do it with every part in the sequence, so be wary. Also, inserting slight pauses between moves will do different combos; you’ll need to experiment to figure out the timing. Jump (X or A) attacks consist of a flurry of juggling strikes (Wide) or a dive kick (Strong).
Other attacks, which aren’t listed in the basic tutorial anywhere, come from various directional combinations and these two attack buttons. Press forward twice and Strong to get a charging, Stinger-like (from DMC) attack. It doesn’t track enemies very well, so it requires some thought and planning to use. Press back, then forward and strong and Raiden does a weird breakdance move. The same goes for Wide Attack – press forward twice,does a launcher attack, throwing an enemy into the air – you know what to do, I imagine! Back forward makes him do a palm attack with knockback properties. Feel free to use these in any way you like! Using the Ninja Run and pressing Strong allows you to do a sliding attack as well, so keep that in mind. Each HF Blade has its own unique attacks attached to them (when you get them, of course), so experiment! That’s part of the fun here.
Other weapons come into play as you get them – one acts like Nero’s demon arm (or DmC’s Devil/Angel Chains), while another goes for the wide arc much like Ninja Gaiden’s bo staff. Of course, these alternate weapons lack a distinct feature of the game: Blade Mode. Still, they have their uses, so keep them in mind when thinking outside the box.
You can also equip subweapons like grenades or rocket launchers by hitting Select or Back (after picking a weapon up, of course). This brings up a menu that allows you to switch weapons, use recovery items, and other miscellaneous functions.
Circle exists only for context sensitive actions such as stealth kills and electrolyte regen; when it flashes, just press and enjoy! Smack the button repeatedly when it tells you, and you win for a moment! I guess there’s a variety of Quick Time events, so pay attention and smash buttons accordingly.
Lastly, your blade can, literally, cut everything; get creative and get some platforms, walls, and trees to drop on enemies. You just can’t chop tiny animals; humans and cyborgs, according to the game, are bad and you can chop them up as much as you want.
If you’ve played anything of PlatinumGames’ previous output, you might have played Bayonetta; it remains their best-selling game and the only one with a parry mechanic (as an item, anyway). Like in Street Fighter III, a “parry” simply means a movement that both 1. prevents you, the player, from taking damage, and 2. gives you a huge opportunity to inflict damage on enemies. In MGR:R, you perform a parry by pressing forward towards the enemy attacking you and the Quick Attack button (for PS3 users, it’s usually Square, and for 360 it’s X). However, you need to press this at the exact moment that the attack hits Raiden; too early, and you get a block instead. While you won’t take damage from the attack, you will not be able to move for a short time. Perform it successfully, however, and you’ll receive a counterattack on an enemy which puts them into a state wherein they can be “cut up” – Blade Mode, in other words. It doesn’t matter which enemy you parry, as the counterattack puts whatever enemy that gets hit into Blade Mode cutting status. There’s also a dodge you perform by pressing jump plus light attack and left or right for when too many enemies surround you. Master parries and use them at the right time, and you’ll find yourself well on your way to victory and stylish action sequences.
In Blade Mode, entered by pressing and holding L1 or Left Trigger, MGR:R lets you cut up dudes. That’s a simple way of putting it, but Blade Mode lets you go for precision cutting (using the left/right analog stick to aim your cut, then let go to cut) or just plain ultraviolence (spam one of your attack button). Each is effective in a number of situations: Precision cutting allows you to cut electrolytes out of enemies, which (at least on Normal) restore your health to full and fills your Blade Mode meter – press the button prompt and away you go! Going for the ultraviolent choppy-choppy contributes to a higher overall score, so keep that in mind. Blade Mode only works for a limited time, and depreciates in value and strength the longer you hold it down; thus, you want to use Blade Mode only when the game wants you to use it. When an enemy body part or the screen flashes blue, you can use Blade Mode to cut the enemy into pieces. Watch out, however, as Blade Mode ONLY SLOWS TIME; you can still take hits from any number of other enemies, projectiles, or devices gunning for Raiden.
Blade Mode also has other creative uses, such as chopping enemy projectiles (rockets especially) in air. The Sliding attack (running plus strong attack, then Blade Mode) allows you to cut immediately, but also uses the meter faster. However, the game limits your use through the electrolyte mechanics, so a balanced approach usually works best. Each player has their own style, so experiment! That’s the fun of the whole system. Furthermore, different HF Blades will change the Blade Mode energy consumption (faster or slower, usually), but offer more cutting power, so watch for that when upgrading a new weapon.
1. Be wary of attacks from behind and to the side. The camera in MGR:R does not provide you with a wide-angle view. Like Bayonetta and Vanquish before it, both give you audio and visuals cues as to when enemies attack; you can parry in any direction, so it is entirely possible to parry attacks from behind. I would recommend, however, to run around until you get a good angle to see all the attacks coming your way.
2. An obvious, yet simple, tactics that saves loads of trouble and pain is to kill enemies that use projectiles first. Yes, rockets will hurt you, and when you’re surrounded by two Geckos and three other guys while a rocket keeps coming your way, using Blade Mode to deflect them isn’t viable.
3. Whenever possible, use stealth kills. Not only will you make things easier on yourself, but you’ll probably get a higher overall score for 1. Not taking damage and 2. Using Blade Mode to chop them into pieces. The AI doesn’t seem to notice you chopping some guy to pieces from far away, so feel free. Figure out a good order to deal with enemies like in previous Metal Gear Solid games and you’ll be right at home. Only here, if you’re detected, you have the tools to kill everything in sight.
4. When all else fails, run away and regroup. Raiden = fast, so use this to your advantage. Seperate and pick enemies off one-by-one if necessary. The game gives you plenty of tools, so use them wisely.
5. The action comes fast and furious on anything higher than Easy. If it helps, don’t get distracted by the commotion; think of every encounter in the game as a puzzle meant to be solved. What enemy do I parry first? Which enemies do I take out with stealth? How do I control a crowd? Although you’ll certainly get a surprise attack every now and then, learning enemy patterns and how to deal with certain combinations drive the majority of encounters in the game, including boss battles.
6. If you plan on challenging yourself on higher difficulties, try to find as many collectibles, items, and currency as possible on your first playthrough. All the upgrades you can buy will save you a ton of trouble on subsequent playthroughs. The wider your toolset, the better one can deal with every situation on hand.
Get the timings down and you’ll be chopping everything in no time!