Vanquish boxart on Paul Gale Network
Vanquish is too fast of a game for the boxart to convey.

Vanquish is a high impact third person shooter for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 developed by PlatinumGames (the same folks that handled MadWorld and Bayonetta) and is another very solid title worth checking out. Sega did well be choosing to publish this game and gain a title that will fit right at home with the Gears of War crowd…and possibly the Sin and Punishment one.

Vanquish works well as a cover shooter.
Vanquish is cover shooter, yes…but it’s also a light show.

You play as government agent Sam Gideon, in the not too distant future where United States and Russia are vying for the ownership of the world’s depleted energy sources. The story is decent and moves along well enough, without being anything too special, but that’s acceptable in a game like this. The cinema scenes are entertaining and usually have a good musical score that makes you feel like your mission means something. The overall soundtrack fits the theme of the game and the voice acting ranges from a little cheesy to spot on (I personally liked the Russian accents more than some of your own teammates’ and that’s coming from a voice actor that does his own “Russian” accent).

Sliding in Vanquish
The sliding mechanics add a lot to the gameplay and the fact that you can fire while doing so is great.

The adventure feels like a high-octane movie, but like a movie, it only lasts a few hours. Honestly, it’s maybe a 7 hour experience at best and that’s including the parts where you’re not playing and if you purposely take longer in an environment to just gawk at your surroundings. I say that as a compliment, because the graphics in Vanquish are nice, but moreso than the raw polygon count being good, is the amount of detail in the environments themselves. I was also pleased with the architecture of each area I had yet one more epic battle in. I also appreciate the great variety given to the gun designs, their functionality, and the overall animation in the BLADE itself, which is your gun that can transform into a number of things including an assault rifle, machine gun, rocket launcher, and much more that weigh heavy on the cool scale. The game seriously doesn’t let up in this department and I was happy for it. You’re bascially paying a lot per the hour, but rest assured….you will feel cool all the while.

Big firefights
Don’t worry about “only fighting men” because whether its those types of firefights or the ones against big creatures, the action is always BIG.

As you move Sam around very quickly in his ARS (Augmented Reaction Suit), you’re going to notice that this game is very much a truly over the top action title that holds its own despite how much goes on screen. I never had any slowdown complaints due to a wonky frame rate and thankfully that’s so, otherwise such a thing would have destroyed this game. It’s also fun in a Virtual-On sort of way moving back and forth so fast thanks to your suit’s state of the art jets on all four limbs.

Vanquish is fast!
Did I mention that this game is fast? Yes I did, but it also has some cool slowdown…but not in the lag kind of way, but rather intended for that moment of awe.

Sliding is what separates Vanquish from other shooters, and thankfully it’s not a gimmic that you’ll get tired of quickly. Instead, PlatinumGames did a very good job in keeping this move not only cool, but useful, and since there are quite a few manuevers you can do while sliding, no matter how many times you do it in the game it still feels fresh. I feel that in a game this short, it’s especially important to nail one thing and that’s “variety”. If you have a long quest that’s solid for the most part, but only has you doing a few things over and over again, you could forgive it a little. But in a short action title like Vanquish, if you felt drained by the repetition involved, then even if the rest of the game was technically good, the overall experience would be forgettable.

So Vanquish puts you against many obstacles as you try to regain the US’ space station. Sam will take on giant mechs, hordes of enemies, other lightning quick foes, platforms crumbling beneath you, and even some stealth elements which usually quickly turn into blazing firefights. In an overall positive time spent with the game, the main gripe is its length, because as much as it reminded me of playing action games back in the day at my local arcade, just now modernized and pumped up to insane levels, people are going to have to drop 60 bucks for a game they’ll finish in one day.

Vanquish is short but varied.
The different terrains you’ll travel are plentiful and you won’t be complaining about the overuse of brown as a color, that’s for sure.

Some will also say that it’s a title that should have multiplayer, and though I agree that it would help in a big way due to the short length of the game and the fact that it’s set up so nicely for some good vs. mode action, just because a game is a 3rd person shooter the developer should never be forced to make it multiplayer. It’s the same argument people had when Metroid Prime first came out. How come it didn’t have multiplayer? Because it’s a one player game, that’s why. That’s why I don’t fault Vanquish for not having some kind of vs. mode to make it a more valuable purchase. Instead, I just wish the game was simply longer. There are high scores at the end of each stage and online leaderboards to keep you coming back, so it’ll be enough for some gamers, but you’ll know if you’re the kind that needs more.

Overall, Shinji Mikami and PlatinumGames made an action game that will get keep your heart racing, your eyes peeled, and your lungs on standby. That being said, it’s also a short title that could benefit from more modes or a longer story and though it doesn’t reinvent the genre, it does leave you satified. I definitely recommend every shooter and action gamer to at least play it in some capacity. You will have fun.

Score: 8.8/10

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