Zan-Datsu – a term that is been hammered into our heads ever because the E3 2010 reveal with the original Metal Gear Rising. It indicates to cut and take, and we surely saw Raiden do that within the debut trailer. In the time, the concept of slicing by means of anything in any way you see fit seemed like a amazing innovation. However it wasn’t until a demo with the new version on the game (located right here) was shown off at this year’s E3 that I realised the substantially darker and completely unnecessary implications of this technique.
The idea of zan-datsu is nonetheless present inside the new, Platinum Games-developed version of Rising, if indeed a bit scaled back. You are still able to chop enemies into pieces at your own will, even (literally) disarming them if you’d favor not to take a life.
But despite all of the blood-soaked violence that the initial 5 minutes of your demo displayed, absolutely nothing had prepared me for what the player did to one enemy. Raiden stumbles upon a cardboard box, a nod back to Metal Gears of past. But as he cuts it open, he manages to slice off the hand of an enemy soldier. The shocked soldier gasps in agony and grabs his hand, bowing his head in submission. Having said that, in place of leaving the helpless enemy alone, the player chose to brutal behead this pain-stricken man, detaching his neck from his shoulders in one swift slice.
Videogame violence seldom surprises or offends me, but within the context of one particular of my favourite gaming franchises, (let alone one that so of course prides itself on anti-war themes) I couldn’t believe what I had just observed. Past Metal Gear games have allowed you to toy with all the enemy so to speak, shooting arms and legs, but that was of strategic significance, permitting you to avoid enemies from running away or using bigger weapons. Here the brutal act was met with a cheer and laughter from the audience inside a sort of Grand Theft Auto-style of violent joy.
There have already been hints that Rising’s story will instil a sense of insanity in its protagonist, revisiting his trauma as a kid soldier and how he came to be referred to as ‘Jack the Ripper’, but that can’t excuse such actions when the players themselves are in control of him.
Maybe, then, zan-datsu is not an ideal fit for the Metal Gear franchise, or a minimum of not within this context. Raiden is actually a hero that’s fought as substantially of an internal battle within this series as he features a literal one. I cannot accept the idea that he’d so effortlessly take a life in such a disgusting and needless way; it just isn’t inside the character to do so.
Metal Gear Rising, Metal, Gear, Rising, Is it a step too far, MGS, Metal Gear, Zan-Datsu, Raiden, too far