Craig Baker On October - 21 - 2010

Fast paced, adrenaline rush, action packed. Pick anyone of these cliché terms and you would be accurately describing Vanquish, an epic third person sci-fi action shooter from the critically acclaimed game director Shinji Mikami. Mikami is most known perhaps for his work on the original Resident Evil Games. The legendary Mikami worked with Platinum Games, maker of Bayonetta, to bring us Vanquish.

Vanquish takes place in the near future where the planet’s human population has exploded so rapidly that nations of people around the globe are fighting for the scarce available resources. The United States has attempted to alleviate its own energy problems by launching a space station harboring a solar energy-driven generator to provide them with an alternative source of fuel from the sun. However, the government of the Russian Federation on Earth has been overthrown in a coup d’état by ultra-nationalist forces calling themselves the Order of the Russian Star.

Sam Gideon: Lover, fighter, cigarette smoker!

Enough about the story, let’s delve into the candy. Because although Vanquish has a good plot premise that is about as far as the story goes. It doesn’t really progress or grow too much as you play. This title is all about the gameplay. Risky it may be to put the hopes of your game on how it plays alone, Vanquish really hit a home run. With the games engine running at several hundred miles per hour, it really could have been a disaster. But with a slick button layout, the player never feels like he or she has lost control. You can easily move around the open spaces offered and hold down in cover if that is more your style. If at any point the action becomes too much and you are near death the game will instantly go into “bullet time” allowing you to high tail it to the nearest cover. It should be noted you can also trigger this sequence manually, but it isn’t abused as you can run out and be forced to let your meter recharge. The same meter also allows you to use your thrusters on the AR suit and your melee attacks, so abusing one thing or the other may put you in situations that can be difficult to get out of.

The boot thrusters on your AR suit are probably the most unique feature that Vanquish has to offer. With just a press and hold of the left bumper, Sam Gideon drops to his knees like a hooker ready to work a shift, and can slide around the floor. You can use this ability to get to cover or escape a shit load of enemies intent on killing you. The boots are also incredibly useful for traversing certain areas as you attempt to get a collectible, ammunition or the next weapon upgrade.

The visuals in Vanquish are stunning. Though you may be going so fast at times you may not notice them. The amount of moving parts on Sam’s suit is a marvel to behold. The set pieces are great as well. Buildings crumble around you and cover can be destroyed. And while all this happens the game manages to sound great. Intense music tracks help to keep your blood pumping. And listening to your suit transform is pretty cool too.

With so many games coming out these days with the focus being on cooperative play or multiplayer, Vanquish is a breath of fresh air. I am so happy that the developers didn’t follow the leader on this one because I don’t think I could handle a multiplayer mode with 24 people zipping about on thruster boots. It has become such commonplace now to have multiplayer that it is almost expected. But at the end of the day, more often than not the single player suffers because of it. So cheers to SEGA for saying fuck the industry standard and wasting everyone’s time with some cheesy tacked on multiplayer just to please every person with an ethernet cable.

With close to ten hours of gameplay on a single play through, this game is without a doubt worth your hard earned money. I know there are a lot of great games coming out right now and Vanquish will probably not get as much press as it deserves, but at some point you really need to play this game. Vanquish also has a lot of replay ability with unlockable difficulties and the option of playing it in six different spoken languages. I personally can’t wait to finish this game on English and start playing in Japanese. So get to the store, buy Vanquish and don’t look back. Prepare for some intense action and if it becomes too much, kick back and share a cigarette with the games hero, Sam Gideon.

  • Andrew

    nice review, will pick up in the future, got Fallout New Vegas 2morrow, so that will hopefully keep me busy for a while, :) . Love the part about the multiplayer, so true about it, single player games are suffering because of it, stop putting crappy multiplayer modes in and more concentration on the story. This game does should good.

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