Boris will constantly remind Raiden that "this is not a sneaking mission" referencing how Metal Gear Rising is an action game rather than your typical Metal Gear Solid game. In one occasion, enemies cyborg attack Raiden using stealth camouflage but Boris states it is useless against Raiden.
Hell, the first moment you're dropped into gameplay (aside from the VR tutorial), the alert status was already on 99.
The entire game follows one core rule, the philosophy of Katsujin-ken and the teachings of the Yagyu Shinkage-Ryu school of swordplay. Katsujin-Ken is known as "The sword that preserves life". Another name is "Sword of the Victor". The style emphasizes deterrent, or winning without fighting, but when you have to fight, it advises you move with your opponents' rhythm, instead of attempting to dominate your opponent. Perfect parries exemplify this, especially at higher difficulties, where one perfect parry can kill multiple opponents at once, in one blow. Therefore, since your attacks won't do enough, you should wait for your opponent to strike first, and then counter him. Shinkage-Ryu itself also works with this philosophy, highlighting the need to check for other parameters of the battle besides the opponent in front of you. The original creator of Shinkage also had to account for a changing battlefield, what with the arrival of early muskets, specifically arquebuses. He changed many of the traditional tenets of swordplay, some major changes included a new kind of training sword and light armor during training, and the development of a quicker and more precise style of swordplay designed for one-on-one combat instead of military battlefield combat. Similar to Metal Gear, where Cyborg technology is changing the face of war, and the old styles (such as Isatsu-no-tachi (the school of the sword that kills only once) or Ichi-no-tachi (the sword of only one cut), or regular troops and guns) are no longer relevant.
One of Yagyu quotes: "A stroke of the sword that does not hit its target is the sword stroke of death; you reach over it to strike the winning blow. Your adversary's initiative having missed its mark, you turn the tables around and get the jump on your adversary." Perfect parrying in two sentences.
Finally, another: "When you strike a blow, do not let your mind dally on it, not concerning yourself with whether or not it is a telling blow; you should strike again and again, over and over, even four or five times. The thing is not to let your opponent even raise his head." That's how you kill Armstrong, and is something you're encouraged to do to regular enemies as well.
Everything about Sam serves to remind Raiden of his stepfather, Solidus Snake. As Solidus, Sam wears a enhancing suit to fight Raiden. In their first combat, Sam makes Raiden lose an eye just like Solidus. Both Sam and Solidus are also interested in Raiden's nature and their final duel has an ending almost identical to the one from Metal Gear Solid 2.
Raiden's two default appearances are nicknamed "White Raiden" and "Black Raiden." The two reference medieval knights with the white masked Raiden sharing multiple similarities with the ones commonly illustrated. When Black Raiden appears he starts having a darker personality reflecting how black knights are more corrupted soldiers.
This troper thought that a knight's armor being painted black was a sign of him not having a lord, and this trying to keep his costs down by not having to polish his armor as much?
What is even more striking about it is that Raiden's opponent Sam looks like your traditional white knight, given that he has a lighter color scheme. There is a fitting juxtaposition with Raiden and Sam when it comes to their personalities and appearances: With Raiden he is the dark knight serving the light, his physical appearance symbolizes his suppressed darkness that he struggles to contain. With Sam he is the light knight serving the dark, he openly serves his desires regarding death and destruction, while his appearance symbolizes the good tendencies he is suppressing inside of himself.
Armstrong gives some points to the University of Texas when fighting Raiden. According to the gallery section for the Piggyback Guide's Collector's Edition, the staff explains that the cybernetic functions were based on research made by the same University.
Piggyback Guide's Collector's Edition gives multiple reasons for Raiden losing his eye and covering it with an eyepatch. Shinkawa desgined it as a way to prove Raiden has lost part of humanity but still retains some (concept originally used for Solid Rising where Raiden was just covering his face) while the director wanted it to be Raiden's first step into his transformation to his darker personality. The scar Raiden has in his face is identical to Sam's scar in his face. Whether in the ending Raiden's wound just recovered or he was given a cybernetic eye could symbolize how he has lost his insecurities and has no fear in showing his face.
According to one youtube commentor (Raedon01): "i just noticed something, see the scar on sam's left eye? it's the same side and direction of attack that he used on Raiden. i wonder if it was a speciality technique sam learned from his father. just something to think about."
During the fight with the Metal Gear Excelcius, Senator Armstrong's theme is "Collective Consciousness", a song imploring the citizens of the United States to give up and "let your country control your soul". When you fight him on the ground, it changes to "It Has To Be This Way", a bitter acknowledgement of the Not So Different aspects between him and Raiden. During said fight, he reveals his anarchic leanings and that he wants to free America from its weakness and allow true freedom, meaning his true theme was always "It Has To Be This Way"-"Collective Consciousness" was him mocking the political climate of America, made even more so when you listen to his rant after the Exelcus boss fight.
Pointed out (subtly) in the game. During one of the cutscenes in his earlier boss phases, Raiden accuses Armstrong of being like every other politician; a liar. Raiden knocks him on his ass, and Armstrong gets up and says "Alright. The truth, then." And goes into his ACTUAL Motive Rant. So, yeah, Armstrongactually WAS lying!
Only theoretical, but given Armstrong's absurd strength and resilience, one would think an old, traditional soldier like Solid Snake wouldn't stand a chance in hell against him... until you remember how he defeated a similar nanotech based super vampire in Metal Gear Solid 4... Naturally, since Raiden doesn't have a syringe of suppressor nanomachines, he has to do things the old fashioned way. And what a fight it is.
Though then the problem would be figuring out how to pierce his metal skin to actually administor the suppressor nanomachines in the first place.
Basically, Sam's family is like the Gracie family except with kenjutsu rather than jujitsu.
Speaking of Sam, he's the only member of the Winds of Destruction who does not have a post-battle last message transmission because of his minimal cybernetics.
Actually, he does have one, it's just not immediate and not via the codec.
Bladewolf: "Begin playback."
The ambiguity regarding Snake's fate following Guns of the Patriots, namely Raiden referring to him in the present tense and Kevin referring to him in the past tense. When Raiden & Snake first met, the later had supposedly been dead for two years and had used a double (Liquid Snake's corpse) as his own, so if Snake did die months after the fall of the Patriots, as the player was told was going to happen numerous times during MGS4, then Raiden wouldn't necessarily believe Snake was really dead and not just retired. Conversely, if Snake didn't die, then he's faked his death by using the corpse of the long-believed-dead-but-actually-still-alive Big Boss in his place.
Sunny's unwavering belief that Raiden's a hero makes a lot of sense, when you recall that Raiden is the one who saved her from the Patriots in the first place. No matter what, Jack will always be her hero.
Certain concept art from MGS4 indicates that not only did Raiden rescue her, he fought his way through war zones while taking care of her when she was just an infant (one funny image has a badass rendering of Raiden carrying a swaddled-up little baby sunny in his backpack). This means that Raiden is Sunny's first father-figure, so it figures she'd have faith in him.
We all like to think of Raiden as the (anti) hero of the story who was ultimately in the right, but his opponents, especially Senator Armstrong during the final boss battle, seem to think that Raiden was just like them. They lived by the code that if you were strong enough in this life you could carve your own path and make your own rules, and the only way anyone had any right to stop you was if they were stronger than you. The ironic thing is that Raiden ends the game as top dog in full control of his destiny because no one had the power to stop him. Is Raiden Not So Different after all? It would appear so.
Although it's not hard to turn it in on itself. Raiden's driving ideals were of altruism and defending those who couldn't defend themselves, and it was for them that he established dominance over all others through violence. So it could be argued that by the violent nihilists' own logic, Raiden proved conclusively that the strong should protect the weak, which is the concept they spent the entire game mocking. Ironic, to say the least if you took it that way.
During the final boss battle Senator Armstrong claims during in game dialogue that, "Might makes right." By his logic Raiden's victory in their battle makes his philosophy of protecting the weak correct, might makes right after all... There is a deep undercurrent of irony that Raiden's foes were trying to steer Raiden away from his own philosophy and get him to play by their rules, only to have Raiden come out the victor and have this come back to bite them.
The antagonists really like pulling the Not So Different with Raiden don't they? Well, in Armstrong's case when he is finally defeated an angle with him in the floor symbolizes how he fits to be Raiden's shadow. Raiden also destroys Armstrong's heart but unlike regular Zandatsu he makes sure destroy the heart in front of his own face dirtying his body with Armstrong's blood. The symbolism behind this Zandatsu is unknown to this writer so somebody might as well write their version.
Simple enough. Zandatsu up until that point had a purpose besides killing your opponent; in game, it filled your health and fuel cells to maximum. In other words, Raiden was absorbing the essence of his opponents and using it to fuel his own actions. Now keep that in mind with how Armstrong claims that Raiden is now his successor. This specific Zandetsu, with Raiden pulling out Armstrong's heart and crushing it in the same way, is symbolic of Raiden both crushing Armstrong's own ambitions... And using them to fuel his own.
Armstrong calling Bladewolf "Fido" is obviously an insult on his part, but such a name is actually rather fitting for him. Fido is the name of a famous Italian dog that was intensely loyal to his master, even going so far as to follow the same routines after his master had died. Not only is Bladewolf intensely loyal to Raiden, never once faltering in aiding him after Raiden saved him, but he maintains his loyalty to his old master Sam at the same time. Even after Sam dies Bladewolf upholds the man's last wishes and gives Sam's sword to Raiden to aid him in his battle against Armstrong. Good boy, Bladewolf.
The Winds of Destruction meet their ends via irony.
Mistral, named after cold regional winds, is frozen solid and shattered.
Monsoon, named after a seasonal wind that brings rain, dies in the rain.
Not only that, His final codec has him claim he shall return to the Earth. This is after Raiden hammers him into the World Marshall logo to keep him from dodging around his attacks. Keep in mind that the World Marshal logo is a globe.
Sundowner, named after hot, dry winds, is killed by an explosion.
"Jetstream" Sam, nicknamed after very narrow and very fast air currents that circulate around the earth, is merely stabbed in the gut, quickly and concisely.
This might relate to Sam's Noble Demon nature and Raiden wanting to honor him with a precise kill as opposed to the overkill he does to the others.
Khamsin, named after a desert storm, seems to fall out of the pattern.
Which fits perfectly, considering the other Winds pretty much mislead him into thinking the goal was freedom.
However, his death seems to have some irony at least as while he exposes the wonders of freedom and intends to force it on others, he is killed by Blade Wolf, in the process of the latter trying to gain it's freedom. Essentially, Khamsin was killed by the very freedom he loved so dearly.
Another layer of irony to his death: he is a lot like Armstrong. Both differ from the violent nihilism of Mistral, Moonsoon and Sundowner in that they're fighting for a higher ideal (perhaps even the same basic ideal of freedom), and they are both loud, rude Americans. Yet, Mistral is in love with Armstrong but sets up Khamsin to die because she hates him on a personal level. The exact implications regarding Mistral are up to you to decide.
The difference between Khamsin and Armstrong is the former is basically dumb zealot muscle who blindly believes what he's doing is right while Armstrong is far smarter and isn't a slave to his ideas. It would be comparing a preacher with someone who's overzealous about his lessons.
George's reference to the TMNT movie was amusing by itself, but it gets funnier once you realize three of the Winds of Destruction are essentially using the Turtles' weapons. Jetstream Sam uses a sword (Leonardo), Monsoon uses sais (Raphael), and Mistral uses a staff (Donatello). The odd one out is Sundowner, who uses pincer blades instead of nunchakus (Michelangelo), and even then, he can chain them together to form what looks like giant bladed nunchaku, though they function more like giant scissors.
Or, if you're looking at things another way, Sam is the odd one out, as Sundowner's twin blades could be seen as a parallel to Leo's twin katana. Considering that Sam's generally unconcerned about Desperado's goals and his rather sarcastic quips, in a sense, Sam could be seen as a darker Mikey analogue. Plus, consider how Sundowner is the leader, Monsoon's the Blood Knight and Mistral's arguably the most analytical (she did assist Dolzaev in his takeover.)
Part of the reason that Bladewolf is so intensely loyal to Raiden might be because of a wolf pack mentality. In a wolf pack the wolf who proves himself to be the strongest gets to lead the group. By winning their first battle Raiden proved himself to be the "alpha wolf" over Bladewolf, and so he follows Raiden's lead out of respect. It certainly helps that the alternative is going back to Desperado... and by comparison Raiden is clearly a better option.
Wolf packs don't work that way. The concept of an 'Alpha' is outdated in regards to canine species.
'Alpha' is outdated in small packs in the wild. Captive packs (zoos) usualy have one wolf that can be called an 'alpha' wolf. 'Alpha' wolf theory was heavily based on the behavior of captive packs consisting of unrelated individuals. See other wiki for more.
Kind of ironic, considering how Wolf's boss theme talks about him doing his own thing and not following anyone. Then again, he clearly stated that he wants to repay Raiden and Maverick for helping him achieve his supposed freedom...
Raiden explicitly points out that Wolf doesn't have to help him, and even asks if Wolf is OK with going into morally and legally gray areas to aid him in his pursuit of justice. Wolf's response is twofold; first of all he feels that he owes Raiden a debt, and secondly says that he shares Raiden's affinity towards justice. Wolf at one point said that he discarded memes that were worthless to him, so it appears that Raiden's memes resonate with him more strongly than anyone else did. In that sense Wolf is technically following Raiden's lead. The amusing thing in this whole situation is that Raiden has other people call Wolf his pet when he doesn't think of Wolf in that sense.
Raiden appears to treat Wolf more than another human than a pet. When Sunny asks if she can keep it Raiden states it is Wolf's decision not his. When Armstrong almost destroys Wolf Raiden for the first time claims he will use a weapon in anger and revenge. From all the people he met, Raiden is avenging the AI Wolf.
Parallels exist between Peace Walker and Revengeance: the Peace Sentinels and Desperado Enforcement LLC are both antagonistic private military organizations who mean to cause chaos for their own reasons and have a red and black color scheme. On the other side of the spectrum, the MSF and Maverick are heroic PMCs who primarily consist of soldiers who have nowhere else to go to and take contracts that are more defensive in nature.
A maverick is someone who has unorthodox belief systems, and makes an explicit effort to act against the common belief systems held by society at large. For this reason the Private Military Company Maverick is aptly named; they have gone out of their way to not simply work for money but to only work for causes they believe to be righteous, which makes them stand out from the other PMCs that are institutionally only fighting for profit. It is also fitting that Raiden should be their lead agent in the field since he is so much of a maverick that he out right breaks the law in order to uphold his personal view of justice, making him a criminal in the eyes of the law. Just like Snake and Big Boss who were labeled terrorists because of their actions against corrupt institutions.
It is rather amusing that the Patriots were working on a perpetual motion machine as the Doktor reveals. The Patriots claimed in Metal Gear Solid 2 that they would always exist, that their memes would always reside within America, in effect making them a form of "perpetual motion" too. The Doktor notes that they were close to succeeding in this perpetual motion machine but ultimately its success was halted when they were destroyed. The irony of course is that the Patriots failed to create both forms of perpetual motion.
Although, one of the things mentioned by Sundowner and Armstrong is that while the Patriots and their actual War Economy may be gone, their memes are still alive and well. The military industrial complex and certainly PM Cs like World Marshall and Desperado are only around and were only able to get as big as they have thanks to the system the Patriots first set up after all, and the Patriot ideas of information control and advertisements lead directly to World Marshall's success. So in a way, while the Patriots may not have finished their designs of "perpetual motion" those designs didn't die with them either.
A bit more meta, but do note that Doktor learns about the plans for an unlimited energy machine off of one of the 30 left hands, 20 of which unlock the Blue Wig which gives you...unlimited energy.
The Sears Program shares similarities with the S3 plan from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty. The S3 Plan involved Raiden going through VR training and multiple scripted fights to obtain Solid Snake's skills and be an example of the Patriots' puppet. In the Sears Programm, several orphans were kidnapped by Desperado and World Marshal and went through cybernetic enhancements and VR training. With this World Mashal and Desperado would have obtained an army of Raiden replicas. Additionally, while in Solid 2 the subject Raiden represented the player in this case he is trying to save the new subjects meaning that the brains could represent the players going through VR where they act as Raiden.
Raiden's skill with swords has always seemed somewhat out of place in the Metal Gear universe, with it's emphasis on gun porn and military fetishism. Even though this game does an adequate job of explaining why bladed weapons have become so in vogue (cyborgs being Immune to Bullets) the fact that Raiden, who was trained as a child soldier in Africa and later as a Delta Force/Foxhound operative, is a master of a weapon hundreds of years out of date seems odd. Indeed, Sam notes that Raiden's style of swordplay seems "self-taught". However, trailers for Rising flashing back to Raiden's training under Solidus show that Solidus trained him extensively in the use of a combat knife ("a blade has honour"). Indeed, it was Raiden's use of this weapon that earned him the name "Jack the Ripper". Raiden learned to use the combat knife as a child. To a child, a large-sized combat knife is basically a sword. Suddenly, Raiden's proficiency in swordplay makes a lot more sense. Obviously, this crosses over with Fridge Horror.
The Metal Gear Solid 2 comic book, which is probably not intended to be fully canon, incorporates a flashback to Jack's childhood where he is seen using a sword in combat and is even ordered to decapitate prisoners as a "birthday present" from Solidus. There is also a scene in the actual game version of Metal Gear Solid 2 where Solidus is observing Raiden's combat ability, and claims "You've learned to fight just like you did in the old days, Jack.", which is probably him talking about Raiden utilizing a blade again. It isn't like Raiden's association with a blade hasn't been brought up before.
Raiden also talks about how he came to start using HF blades after the Big Shell Incident, and as a result started looking up the Samurai code and Japanese swordplay. He is self-taught (probably mostly from movies, as he mentions being a movie buff) and discovered katsujin-ken around then. He doesn't mention whether this was before or after the Patriot experimentation, however.
Thanks to the DLC chapter, we have new Fridge Brillance about Sam and Raiden's duel with Armstrong. Unlike Raiden, we never got to hear the song "It has to be this way" with Sam. This probably has to do with the fact that Sam did not push Armstrong to reveal his real motives and instead got "Collective Consciousness" which was Armstrong mocking society. Also, Sam's defeat is a parallel to Raiden's defeat at Sam's hand in early Revengeance. While both Raiden and Sam lost an arm, Sam gave up to Armstrong and Raiden decided to continue fighting. Raiden's determination is probably what caused Sam to tell Wolf late in the game's end about leaving him the sword Murasame.
It also makes sense for Sam to hear that: Armstrong defeats him, and Sam is convinced enough to join the Winds of Destruction. In other words, Sam actually DID "give up free will forever", fulfilling the lyrics from "Collective Consciousness" perfectly. This knowledge also tracks back to "The Only Thing I Know For Real", which, when you complete Jetstream, becomes less about Sam being a Blood Knight and more about him knowingly giving up his sense of justice or morals to help Armstrong.
Sam's DLC also puts different context to two scenes in Raiden's story. One being how with Armstrong knocking him senseless the entire initial fight, he suddenly takes initiative to stop Bladewolf from helping making threats and actively trying to interfere. Because from Sam's DLC we find out he already knows the Murasame can cut through his armor. Also the final scene of Sam's story puts context to his appearance in Raiden's where he first appears. With the first viewing it looks like he's smugly showing off his cool red sword, but with the DLC context it implies he's actually showing off his recently acquired cyborg arm and still giving it some practice motions.
On a more obscure note, the DLC also shows the evolution of Sam's sword style prior to when he first fights Raiden. In the DLC, pretty much all of Sam's light attacks require the use of both his hands. Once he got his Cyborg arm, he's able to accomplish all his light moves with just his right hand. Additionally, all his charge moves from before become instantaneous apart from his new charge attacks that are far more lethal and impressive with his new arm.
Add onto that, some people have criticized that catching a gunpowder propelled sword in the air would be physically impossible, what they miss though is that Sam only ever does this with his cyborg arm which could be calibrated to react to Sam pulling the trigger. Before that Sam is always already holding his sword when he does the gun draw.
Monsoon's body is obviously specialized to counter slashes. On top of that, his choice of weapon is the sai, a weapon well-known for its ability to snap blades specifically katanas. Monsoon is an anti-samurai weapon!
Worse yet, if his concept were taken even farther he would have been that much more a nightmare. If he heavily magnetized objects they'd become immune to cutting since they'd still be held together by magnetic force. The magnetic attraction could also mess with Raiden's precision during blade mode as well to say nothing about what it could do to his cyborg body. It's no wonder that in codec Raiden mentions he would have definitely lost if he didn't get Ripper Mode just before that fight.
Also on Monsoon, the only original parts of his body that remain are above his shoulders. One of the first things he does in his boss scene is crack his neck.
There has been some complaints that Sam doesn't have a stealth kill in the Jetstream DLC, but it makes sense when you think about it. Sam is a Blood Knight and more of a samurai than Raiden, and blood knights and samurais typically prefer honorable battles. There's nothing honorable about a stealth kill, so Sam won't stealth kill his enemies.
The final boss fight from Sam's DLC does a good job at proving that Armstrong is just playing around unlike Raiden vs. Armstrong where the latter was completely serious. For starters, Armstrong has half of his real health bar (200% against Raiden, 100% against Sam) and never uses a regenerative skill or tries to make Sam lose his weapon. Additionally, Armstrong's lines consist of praising Sam for his actions whereas he is determined to kill Raiden. The song "Collective Consciousness" also adds that Armstrong was not showing his true colors which he reveals against Raiden resulting in his true boss theme, "It has to be this way."
Ironically, this also shows how much stronger Raiden is. Specifically in the case where in the second phase of Sam's fight with Armstrong, Armstrong uses what appears to be a "new" move. Until you realize that as Raiden, Armstrong uses this move as well (albeit not burning pure red). The irony is furthered in that for Sam, this move CANNOT be parried. For Raiden? It is not only Parry-able, but a perfect parry results in a devastating QTE that deals around 20% damage to Armstrong.
As noted under Artistic License - History, Raiden's assertion of the Samurai's ideals is questionable. He eventually admits his talk about justice was just a way of excusing himself for his crimes, and so you suddenly realise, he simply believed what he wanted to about Samurai to satisfy his own desires, not unlike how Liquid did with Genes.
At the end of the Jetstream DLC, Armstrong doesn't seem all that concerned that he just viciously severed Sam's arm from his body. This shows just how out of touch with normal people Armstrong really is; he does not consider loss of limb to be a big deal, since he can easily have his underlings undergo cybernetic enhancement, and he himself can heal thanks to his Nanomachines. He does not empathise with Sam's pain and shock for this reason, and it also shows just why his Social Darwinist views are flawed. Raiden was right to call him out on this.
The above is perfectly summed up in one action: Armstrong offers to pick Sam up with the hand that would be accepted by the one he just fucking cut off.
Mistral's weapon fits her theme perfectly. "L'Etranger" means "The Stranger".
Parallels could be drawn from the fighting styles Armstrong and Raiden use and their respective ideals. Armstrong wants to burn the slate clean, destroy everything and start from scratch, without any mercy or tact. He also uses AoE attacks, wide haymakers and lots of fire flying all over the place. Raiden has the same issues with the world (greedy people profiteering from war, warriors and civilians alike have no meaningful concept of ideals anymore) but his solution is far more precise and careful. He slices and destroys the decaying core but tries his best to avoid collateral damage. Just like how he uses a sword.
The Blade Wolf DLC provides an explanation for why Wolf refused to shake Raiden's hand when he offered. When Blade Wolf tried to escape Mistral ended up subjecting him to a restraining mechanism that forced his body to move against his will. Just to drive the point home that Wolf was nothing more than an obedient dog Mistral makes Wolf shake one of the Dwarf Gekko's hand against his will. Perhaps on some subconscious level Wolf couldn't bring himself to shake Raiden's hand because he reminded Wolf of Mistral and her brutality. Sunny by contrast being an innocent 10 year old girl provided no such baggage and that's why he allowed her to pet him. Interestingly perhaps this also suggests that Sam isn't as psychologically broken as Raiden because Wolf had no problem accepting Sam petting him on the head.
To put it another way, Mistral's shake command was about asserting dominance, as was Raiden's (albeit not maliciously like Mistral). Sunny and Sam were just being friendly.
Fridge coincidence(?): In the Metal Gear Solid series, the main character's name was Snake. However, since this game is called Metal Gear Rising, the main character's name is Raiden.
In Sam's DLC, he tells Bladewolf that the latter lost because he wasn't fighting for his own reasons. When Sam and Raiden first fight, the former gets the upper hand when the latter begins to question his reason for fighting, and when Raiden finally defeats Sam, it may have been because Sam didn't believe in the cause he was fighting for (he could obviously not care less about Desperado & Armstrong's actual ambitions).
The game's tagline of "Cut At Will, Cut What You Will", while seemingly remarking on the Blade Mode gimmick, actually is also quite an apt description of game's themes, too. Raiden is able to determine his own destiny, and lets nothing control his desires. The blade is in his hand now.
While all other boss songs are sung from the boss' point of view, "It Has to Be this Way" has drawn debate whether it's supposed to be Raiden or Armstrong. However, the ambiguity was intentional: the point of the song is the similarities between Raiden and the final boss.
"But maybe we're both the same..."
Armstrong dismissing Raiden's HF Blade as a knife before breaking it might be just to show off how powerful his nanomachines are, but it adds several layers of brilliance:
After breaking it, the sword's blade does have the length of a knife.
The very first weapon Raiden ever wielded in his childhood is a knife.
Armstrong Being Unskilled, but Strong.... even being no match for Raiden's actual SKILL, he was EASILY capable of wiping the floor with him through sheer brute strength without the one-of-a-kind Murasama blade. What if Armstrong had undergone Hand-to-hand combat training.... or the Tech used for his augmentations leaked?
Before the battle against Armstrong starts, cables from the Metal Gear zap Armstrong, who looked much more buff afterwards than he did before. It's possible that to get to the level of performance in the boss fight that a large power source would need to be drained in order to power the nanomachines up. Volgin did it in Snake Eater with the Shagohod.
Proven in the Jetstream DLC where Armstrong drains power from 4-6 helicopters at least.
Armstrong mentioned that he joined the Navy after graduating college, so he's not exactly unskilled in hand-to-hand combat.
Nobody who is skilled in any kind of self defense would keep using those kinds of huge "haymaker" swings.
The Navy hand-to-hand combat requirements are... not applicable at all to whatever it is that Armstrong does. Nor, for that matter, are the Army's or Air Force's. It's most likely that Armstrong learned "fighting" from doing a bit of wrestling, or from whatever brawls he had while on the U-Texas Longhorns.
Fridge brilliance to the rescue, as mentioned before Armstrong's body becomes much more buff and heavy before the actual battle. He could have spent his whole life polishing his hand-to-hand skills but he could not put them to practice because the great size of his new nanomachines empowered muscles is getting in the way, at that point he is forced to rely in brute force.
Spending one's whole life polishing hand-to-hand skills would still not permit the technique, or lack thereof, of Armstrong. At a minimum he could at least try to fight with the style of someone like Mark Hunt or Cain Velasquez.
When transformed, Armstrong can shrug off basically anything and smash giant Metal Gears with a single blow - it kinda figures he'd thus forgo any thought of defense or finesse in favor of brute force. Why perform fancy counters when you can just slap a HF Blade out of the way with your bare forearm? Why work on your punches when you can smash the ground hard enough to make a shockwave or just grab the guy in front of you and break him in half?
There may be the matter of long term effects that might not have been considered as Armstrong's use of them was the first ever example in the metal gear timeline. This is in contrast to the proven cyborg tech developed at the time.
Sam's HF Blade proves to be Armstrong's kryptonite. Consider how both Sam and Raiden deal regular damage to Armstrong while Raiden's own HF Blade doesn't deal much.
Then again, the reason he returned to fighting in the first place was to provide for his wife and child. At the game's end, he seems to be fighting still, but for noble reasons.
Also, Rose and John are confirmed to be "safe in New Zealand" and Raiden still appears to be with Rose. Also, it is strongly implied that Maverick actually focus on the "security" aspect of being mercenaries and that, up until meeting Sam, he was basically a bodyguard. Not perfect, but definitely still a respectable vocation and a way to provide for his family. Post-game, the level of connection to his family is undoubtedly in question. Both due to Raiden's own mental state and the almost assure threat of reprisal against him that would endanger his family.
Raiden finally admitting that he likes to fight, and that all of his talk of being a hero is meaningless in light of the killer he has become, is a fitting callback to what Snake said about himself. Snake claimed that he was never a hero and nothing more than an old killer. This begins to make you wonder how much of a sadistic dark side Snake must have been holding back all those years if Raiden is hit by a Blood Knight psychotic breakdown this bad.
Snake's upbringing was far more normal and only started to anything resembling a blood knight streak by the time of MGS1 while Raiden was intentionally raised by Soldius to be sadistic and bloodthirsty. To be fair, Snake is Big Boss' kid, and knowing how he dealt with his tendencies.
Here's Fridge Melancholia for you: even in a stable world without the Patriots, where people are truly free but without needing to go back to the days of warrior cultures and civilian serfs, the war economy made it so that mercenaries who actually enjoy war are now the dominant force in armies, rather than actual governmental soldiers-and fairly glamorous mercenaries who are respected by the civilian populace, at that. In effect, despite everything Snake and Philanthropy did, the world became Outer Heaven anyway.
This raises even more Fridge Horror points: Were Big Boss and Liquid right all along? They both claimed that in this world there would always be people that wanted to fight, and that such men would have a natural compulsion to create an environment where they will always be able to fight. War has changed to the point where it isn't about power, money or even sex... men like them do it for the thrill of battle alone. War is fought for the sake of war itself. The present state of the world seems to coincide with what Big Boss and Liquid believed to be true.
Not exactly as while some love this, others are helpless pawns of it as many were forced into combat as Cyborgs by the PMC system. Big Boss and Liquid's dreams were of a world where Soldiers could fight for their causes. If anything, Armstrong's views are closer to theirs than the current state of the world, where many "soldiers fight for causes not their own".
On the other hand, the ending epilogue holds the message that even if the world is sunk in immorality, apathy and cynicism, that's not an excuse to do the same thing. Raiden is fighting for change against the whole world, just like Snake and Otacon did.
Notice all the Shout Outs to previous Metal Gear games? One of them was Senator Armstrong telling Raiden that they have similar philosophies, similar to Gene suggesting that Big Boss become the successor to his cause. Big Boss, who had an Eyepatch of Power. Big Boss, who became a Stranger in a Familiar Land. Big Boss, who tried to avoid becoming addicted to the battle, but failed due to necessity. Big Boss, who was manipulated and nearly killed by the Patriots. Big Boss, who was a Child Soldier—Ohshit.
Bonus points in that Raiden has the same name as Big Boss: Jack. Solidus was the one who named Raiden Jack, most likely after his father Big Boss. Ironically Solidus being Jack's foster father was struck down in battle by his "son" much like Solid Snake had defeated Big Boss in Zanzibar. Raiden already repeated history once by emulating the conflict between Snake and Big Boss. Only time will tell if he will become more than just an expy of Big Boss, but a full fledged successor. Armstrong certainly seemed to think so, which emulates Gene's faith that Big Boss would one day become Outer Heaven's leader.
Even more bonus points when you notice the overwhelming parallels specifically between Raiden's story and Peace Walker. First off, Raiden being the subject of the S3 plan is mirrored by Big Boss and his manipulation by Zero during the Peace Walker project (the test to see if he could be the Patriots' new deterrent force). Maverick and Desperado mirror the conflict between MSF and the Peace Sentinels (who were secretly backed by Zero). Both end with the conclusion to fight a one-man war against an oppressive system. It's all hammered home when you realize that the final battle theme against Armstrong is a remix of the final battle theme of Peace Walker. Whoa.
If you examine it even closer Big Boss was oppressed by the Philosophers but his actions led to their downfall by giving others the power to take them down. Raiden was also oppressed by the Patriots and helped Snake in their downfall. The only thing is that the system of exploitation and control of the masses did not end with these organizations' demises, but instead were taken over by other organizations who seized the opportunity to fill the power vacuum. In Big Boss' case the Patriots took over where the Philosophers left off and he ultimately fought back against them, and in the same way Raiden is fighting back against Desperado and their ilk. History has a funny way of repeating itself.
Not that funny when you consider that at least Big Boss had someone ready to defeat him. His own successors (Solid Snake in particular obviously) led to his downfall. If Raiden goes completely down BB's path and goes off the deep end...exactly who the hell is gonna stop him? Not to mention you could make the point that the only thing that beat BB was the fact that age and a bit of arrogance caught up to him. If Big Boss was in his prime during MG 1 he likely wins. Being a Cyborg, Raiden doesn't really have to worry about not being in his prime and no one is being groomed to step up later. You better pray that Rose and his son is enough of a Morality Pet to keep him on the straight and narrow because if they aren't, we're going to have a lot more corpses on the street.
In the ending of the Jetstream DLC, Armstrong defeats Sam, which causes him to join Desperado and befriend Armstrong. Now, remember the cutscene near the end of the main campaign where Armstrong extends a hand to Raiden after beating him up? He was trying to do THE EXACT SAME THING TO RAIDEN. Fortunately, Raiden refuses to give up against him, but imagine if Raiden joined Desperado...