Time for some FREEDOM.
There’s some few interesting points overall with the Raptor. The knees’ sides for one carry a similar V-cut than what the YF-23 had. Another is that much like the Berkut, the Raptor is far more inspired by the plane than outright transformation. This can be seen in the frequent use of diamonds, triangles, hexagons and saw edges all around the body. This seems to be a thing with the 3rd Generation TSFs. Another is that it tends to be surprisingly smooth and jagged at the same time, and this juxtaposition is not the easiest one to design.
Another thing is that a lot of the plane’s elements are sharpened, whereas the thrusters on the shoulders get a hexagon shape instead. The shoulder units can be understood very well, as it needs to go with the rest of the design of the unit. The Jump units are the best example how things have made sharper, best seen in the wings and fins.
The fighter itself has become iconic to large extend because of this, and that it poisons its crew due to materials used in it. The TSF similarly has become somewhat infamous in the Muv-Luv fandom for being designed to fight other TSFs with properly functioning stealth and heavy emphasize on ranged fighting as opposed to the general TSF battle doctrine, where ranged and close quarters combat are balanced to a large extend. Japan is somewhat an exception with its emphasize on direct sword fighting, and as a special case of the SU-47 Berkut’s knife dance. As such, the TSF fails is to deliver the idea of stealth. While it doesn’t have too much bulk in TSF terms, it has far too much grooves and protruding surfaces to give the visual cues of a vanishing trooper.
I admit that some bits are a bit far fetched. The fighter’s nose is practically nowhere to be found in the TSF without allowing some loose reading. The nose could be seen on the groin guard, but it’s far too flat nature to be the nose. The chest on the other hand can be seen using the overall shape of the nose, just with far more harder lines and changed tip. The change can be understood, as the whole TSF is more about angles than sleek sleek surfaces.
Because of all the aforementioned, the Raptor doesn’t have any clear hardpoints to poke the BETA with. The knee is clearly a one, but those knee points also house the battle knives.
The knees could work on piledriver principle. However, as the tip is rather flat, I doubt it would as a hardpoint. Then again, blunt damage is still damage. Unlike most of its contemporaries, the Raptor’s arms are completely free of any weapons. The guards are there to protect from the TSF close quarters weapons, not to add more lethality of the unit. The knife itself reflects this with its switchblade nature. The CIWS-1B is without any doubt the worst TSF combat knife, CIWS-1A and Type-65 PB Knife being far superior in design and form. Switchblades are mostly good for generic working as replacement tools when you don’t have an access to a proper blade, which seems to again reflect the ranged fighting the US army favours.
Ultimately, there’s not much to the Raptor. It follow similar ideology with the Su-47 Berkut in that only a number of elements to inspire their looks rather than actually adapting the plane itself. As such, neither of them are actually good examples of TSF core idea. Next time we’re going to go full baguette with the Dass-Ault’s Rafale with all of its curves.