Great moments in PC gaming are bite-sized celebrations of some of our favorite gaming memories.
The first time I played Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance I still knew fear. I was just a man with a sword and assumed, foolishly, that I needed to carefully avoid the attacks of the enormous Metal Gear Ray that the first 10 minutes of the game threw at me. Once upon a time I'd spent an entire game waiting for the appearance of a Metal Gear, worried about the threat of the ultimate weapon. But back then I didn't have a samurai sword. Turns out that makes a pretty big difference.
The second time I played Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance I toppled that thousand-ton bastard so fast I actually laughed.
Metal Gear Rising's gimmick, its shiny action game innovation, was Blade Mode, the ability to hold down a button and slice watermelons or men or concrete pillars into a thousand little slivers. And it was a good gimmick. Well into my second playthrough of Revengeance I felt a spike of glee every time I triggered Blade Mode in midair to slice a soldier clear in half and automatically rip his cybernetic spine out of his body. But the real art of Revengeance, which takes longer to get a feel for, is the parry system.
It's as elegant as Metal Gear Rising is extreme: just flick the joystick forward and hit attack at the moment an enemy strikes, and you'll bring up your own blade to counter. This is not like countering in Sekiro, where you're forced to balance your inputs between blocks and attacks. This is not about patience. It's not about calculated revenge for the last strike that hit you. It's about revengeance: every attack all at once, no stopping, just unrepentant carnage.
Revengeance teaches you the controls for parrying, but it doesn't teach the essence of it—that the right way to parry is in the middle of a 27-hit combo, just a single extra stick flick in the middle of a string of light and heavy attacks. The last thing you should do in Metal Gear Rising is stop, which is why a perfect kill completely refills your health and blade meter, and it's why you can parry 98% of the attacks that come your way.
By the time I rolled into New Game+, I wanted a taunt button to force enemies to come at me harder and faster. A perfectly timed parry opens them up to a deathblow, and thanks to that the Metal Gear that briefly inspired shock and awe became a child's plaything. When it tried to stomp on me, I sent it flying like I was a mouse with a toothpick overpowering Andre the Giant.
In a game full of moments meant to make you feel ludicrously badass, Revengeance's parry stands out as the ultimate tool. Somehow they really did look at that moment where Raiden stops a nuclear submarine by jamming his sword through his foot and think, "Yeah, we can make a whole game out of that."