Cyberpunk 2077 brings the look, the flash, the aesthetic. Those vibrant Night City neons and chunky, robotic upgrades and weapons will always remain the height of cool. Meanwhile, we’ve got Metal Gear Rising, the fast-paced, ultra-stick MGS spin-off that delivers rapid-fire combat and wild combos in constant succession. Put them both together, and maybe add a little Devil May Cry or Bayonetta, and you get Axiom of Maria, an upcoming Steam action-adventure game with heaps of style that’s available to play right this moment.
Set in a futuristic version of Seoul, which has gradually been abandoned owing to overpopulation and social collapse, you play Kay, a cyber-enhanced, motorcycle-riding warrior armed with martial arts and an electrified katana. You can dash, backflip, dodge and block bullets, and gracefully hack your way through huge crowds of enemies, weaving beautiful neon patterns as you go.
As well as the Platinum, Metal Gear Rising-esque combat, Axiom of Maria’s story also feels pretty MGS and Kojima. The deceased population of Seoul has been digitally preserved by a gigantic AI called ‘Beyond.’
While one group aims to protect the Beyond, another, the ‘Irregulars,’ seeks to destroy it in an attempt to ‘liberate’ the dead from their virtual afterlife. Caught amongst all of this, Kay must also try and locate her missing husband, who vanished after it was discovered he was a member of the Irregulars.
And if the Cyberpunk and MG Rising combo isn’t enough, Axiom of Maria also takes influence from anime classic Akira. In some missions, you’re locked in a high-speed motorcycle chase along the highways of future Seoul.
There’s a fantastic gimmick whereby your motorcycle automatically dodges and weaves in and out of traffic, leaving you to focus on the hyper-cool combat moves that make Axiom look so great. If you want a game that makes you feel cool, where it’s like all the wild things characters normally do in cutscenes can actually be pulled off in gameplay, you can try the early access version of Axiom of Maria right now.