I recently reviewed Tecmo Koei's terrible Quantum Theory. It was an example of a Japanese development studio trying to copy Gears of War, with awful results: devoid of originality, style and any Japanese influence. This cannot be said about Vanquish. Platinum Games' third-person cover shooter is exactly what I expect a studio from the Far East to do with the genre. It's action-packed, crazy, cheesy and high-score obsessed. SEGA and Platinum Games started the year with a bang thanks to Bayonetta, now they're finishing it with a game very nearly as good.

I'm not even going to try and make sense of the plot. It's typically crazy stuff from Platinum Games: set some years in the future and involving Space stations built to generate power; Russian rebels trying to take over the world; a destroyed San Francisco; the President of the United States; the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA); and a kidnapped scientist. You play as Sam Gideon, armed with an Augmented Reaction Suit (ARS), sent by the President to assist the US army in its war against the Russians.

While the basic mechanics are commonplace in third-person shooters (duck behind cover, peek out to shoot, leap over obstacle to reach next area of cover), the real star of the show is the ARS. With this Sam is able to activate jets that let him boost around the levels (for a limited time), smack enemies in the face with the power of King Kong, slow down time Max Payne-style and upgrade weapons on the fly. In short, the ARS suit is a pretty damn sweet piece of kit.

It's amazing what the addition of boosting and slow motion does to the feel of the gameplay. Whereas Gears of War is fairly slow-paced throughout, Vanquish mixes exhilarating speed with ultra stylish bullet-time. One second you'll be sliding around on your knees, whizzing under the legs of a giant mechanical killing machine, unleashing round after round of lead into its weak spots (orange or red areas, usually); the next you'll be rolling into a slow-motion sequence, with bullets cascading past your head and explosions occurring so slowly you can see ripples in the air.

Vanquish screenshot

Your suit can only use its most advanced features until it starts to overheat, so you'll still have to make do with more traditional cover-hopping and hack 'n' slash-style evasive rolls. And you'll really need to have your wits about you as Vanquish isn't an easy game. On the default difficulty you'll die repeatedly at the hands of the robotic enemies, whereas the harder modes (including an unlockable God Hard setting) will require ninja-like reflexes and heightened spatial awareness. For gamers less appreciative of Platinum Games' hardcore style, Casual Auto mode not only makes the enemies less deadly, but also turns on auto-targeting when zooming in - as in the Call of Duty games.

Enemies are smart, too, making use of their own cover and charging at you if you hide for too long. There's also an element of choosing the right weapon for the enemy, and focussing on certain weapons in order to level them up. I tend to stick with down to Earth weaponry rather than those of science fiction fantasy, so I ended the game with a maxed out assault rifle, heavy gun and rocket launcher, but I could have just as easily gone for the laser gun, massive LFE gun, sniper rifle or disc launcher. You can carry three guns at a time, along with EMP and explosive grenades, with the former grenade type being very useful to disable bots for a short period.

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guyderman's Avatar

guyderman

Here's a weird one - the original Resident Evil is a classic game well loved and respected. If you want the Rocket Launcher with infinite ammo you have to complete the entire game in 3 hours or less. I think the fastest I saw it done was around 2 hours and 45 mins.
Amazing how much things have changed that we now expect a 10 hour plus campaign.
Posted 12:26 on 21 October 2010
scaz2244's Avatar

scaz2244

think iam going to give it a miss. looks very nice, but without multiplayer or coop and being relatively short just doesnt seem to be worth 40 squid
Posted 19:08 on 20 October 2010
CheekyLee's Avatar

CheekyLee@ guyderman

Pretty much the same here, Guy. 5 minutes of heaven > 5 days of purgatory. Every part of me is screaming out that I MUST PLAY VANQUISH, except for my bank balance which is kicking it behind a few other games.
Posted 18:46 on 20 October 2010
guyderman's Avatar

guyderman

I'm the opposite to you all - I LOVED the demo & was very excited about this after playing it.
I'd much sooner play 6 hours of pure adrenaline fueled no nonsense gameplay than force myself through a 15 hour campaign that lull's and drags in parts!
However due to other gaming comitments I'm afraid this won't be a day one purchase sadly! :(
Posted 17:26 on 20 October 2010
draytone's Avatar

draytone@ clangod

My feeling as well clangod, I played the demo and wasn't impressed enough for it to warrant a full price purchase. It felt like a lot of grinding.
Posted 17:10 on 20 October 2010
clangod's Avatar

clangod

I'm happy to hear such a positive review. The demo didn't really appeal to me in the short time I played it but it definitely proved Vanquish something to behold.

I'm also convinced that it doesn't have the replay value of a full price purchase.
Posted 17:07 on 20 October 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

Awesome.
Hell yeah I want this game now. I properly enjoyed that review Tom!
Brilliant stuff :)
Posted 16:04 on 20 October 2010
Neon-Soldier32's Avatar

Neon-Soldier32

Will rent this, due to length. Although, reviews are making me want this game more and more.

Although, you made an error:
Quote:
the real star of the show is the ARS
Should be: "The real star of the show is his ARS"
Posted 17:43 on 19 October 2010
Wido's Avatar

Wido

Awesome review Tom. This has made me do a re-think. I may wait on Smackdown vs Raw 2011 sometime later in November with Fable 3. Could well be Fallout: New Vegas and Vanquish this Friday for me.
Posted 17:27 on 19 October 2010
enviro-bear's Avatar

enviro-bear

Platinum games are on of the only developers that truly understands the western market yet manage to make all of there games stand out head and shoulders above the crowd.
Posted 17:18 on 19 October 2010

Game Stats

Technical Specs
Vanquish
8
Out of 10
Vanquish
  • Frenzied gameplay
  • Gorgeous visuals
  • Brilliant boss fights
  • Feels short
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 22/10/2010
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS3
Developer: Platinum Games
Publisher: Sega
Genre: Action
Rating: BBFC 15
Site Rank: 5,515 11306
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