Vanquish

Developer(s): Platinum Games, Straight Story
Platform(s): PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date: Oct 2010

 How many people, when they see this game, get really excited and say ‘GIMME GIMME GIMME!’? How many people who own this game were either given it as a Christmas present or just picked it up because it was cheap and they were bored?
Vanquish boasts some of the most standardized and generic looking gameplay on the planet, devoid of any originality or inspired design. Which is a real pity, because it is actually a rock solid game that, with a better story and characters, could have been a masterpiece.

The Set-up:
You play as Sam Gideon, a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) researcher. He is equipped with an Augmented Reaction Suit (ARS), which is essentially an Awesome Suit. San Francisco blows up at the start of the game. And the ones responsible are Russians that live in space. So, you, as well as a few special force troops, are sent off to take care of some serious business, which results in shooting a lot of robots shaped like spiders and giants.

It lacks a lot of originality, that much is certain. The story is hardly worth mentioning. That seemed to be the view shared even by the developers themselves, as there are hardly any cut scenes that don’t exist simply to boast a lot of slow-mo and incredible acrobatics. The plot exists simply to tie all of the set pieces together and, for that purpose, it succeeds.

Vanquish is a fast paced game, one that only gives you only a few seconds between shoot-outs to catch your breath. It’s a game that takes skill to master, as the enemies can be lethal. Many have one hit kills, which may seem unfair, but really gets the adrenaline pumping during the action scenes. The control system, it has to be said, is perfectly balanced. Represented by the D-pad, you are given three slots for guns, and a fourth for grenades. You can switch between these guns as you find new ones on the fly, and each one can be upgraded.

The upgrade system is not thoroughly involving, but well implemented. Each time you pick up a gun identical to the one you’re holding, you will regain ammo or, if your ammo is full, upgrade an aspect of the gun. This would mean that it is possible to go the whole game without upgrading once, but you also find glowing green ‘upgrade packs’ throughout the stages, which will also upgrade your guns. Confused? Big gun go BOOM!

Being able to switch between guns so easily is a great asset to the game, especially as there is nearly always another gun floating about in the area you’re in. You will have some standards such as the assault rifle, the shotgun and rocket launcher. But there are also some other interesting futuristic additions such as a lock on laser and a disc launcher. These are a lot of fun to experiment with, as one gun will always be well suited to certain situations.

You will spend almost 90% of the game running and ducking for cover while shooting at your robotic enemies. In the centre of a frantic skirmish, this makes you feel genuinely immersed in the action. This is also aided by Vanquish’s most unique element, the suit thrusters. Sam’s suit is equipped with jet thrusters in, what appears to be, every single part of his body! This means he can move at high speeds in almost any direction. This keeps the game pretty fresh, saving it from crushing mediocrity, like a movie starring Hilary Duff.

The suit can also be used to enhance your reflexes. For those of you that don’t understand game speak, that means slowing down time, a surprisingly common ability in games. This is actually needed most of the time, as you will often be flanked from multiple angles by a huge array of swift enemies.

It’s a fairly accurate depiction of what one imagines a futuristic war would be like.However, enemies are, sadly, fairly uninspiring. A robot spider thing really is the most original enemy in the game. Nearly everything else can fall into the category of humanoid robot, albeit of varying sizes. And some of them can fly. This gets pretty tiresome after a while, regardless of how much fun the dodging and shooting itself actually is.

As well as the developers nailed the gameplay, they failed equally hard on the plot and characters. Sam is a typical tough guy hero, a ‘badass’ who will switch between being emphatic of the other troops, to not giving a shit about anybody in the blink of an eye. The other characters fare no better. You have an information guide in the form of Generic Communications Girl (whose name I honestly can’t remember, despite having played the game for about 7 hours, and her name being mentioned several hundred times).

You also have artillery support from a war veteran named Burns, who appears to be contending with Sam to be the biggest badass in the game. He has huge scars and a robot hand. That’s awesome. And finally, there’s the antagonist, another person whose name I cannot remember, and who basically sits in a chair and laughs a lot in cut scenes. All of these characters are pretty forgettable bar Burns, and that’s only because his attempts to sound like a super badass are quite amusing.

The story goes exactly as you might expect. Fight, fight, fight, fight, gasp, a double cross, fight fight, win. Neither it, nor the characters, serve to keep you hooked to the end credits. That responsibility lies solely with the gameplay and it is an impressive feat that it manages to do so. Once a stage has been finished, you unlock a different tactical challenge in the main menu. These challenges are in actuality more fun than the game itself, as they are simple score attack games and unburdened with a mediocre story.

Overall:
As a true lover of narrative in games, I almost gave up on this one. The opening few stages are a little slow and the levels are all quite bland to look at. Boss encounters are presented with barely any real urgency and the story did nothing to hold my interest. However, at a certain point, about a third of the way into the game, I became hooked. It’s a stellar achievement to have a game succeed so well on the gameplay aspect alone, whereas the narrative and characters are so weak. It’s only about 6-7 hours long, but it’s really the kind of game you play for scores alone rather than anything else. With that in mind, if you’re looking for some aimless and utterly mindless fun, this might just be for you.

Rating: 7/10

This is gonna be fun” – Sam

Shamelessly Awful Facts:

  • This game comes from the team of developers behind Resident Evil 4, and it really shows in the gameplay.

This game is kind of like:

  • What your parents think of when they think of modern gaming

or

  • Solid Snake’s Wacky Space Adventure
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Published in: on April 15, 2012 at 9:20 pm  Comments (5)  
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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Link exchange is nothing else but it is only placing the other
    person’s webpage link on your page at proper place and other
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  2. car

    Vanquish | Shamelessly awful reviews for shamelessly awful people

  3. It definitely is not the greatest game ever made! If I wasn’t looking at it from a purely critical standpoint, I’d probably advise to stay away from it, just because it’s so forgettable.

    Hillary Duff has it coming!

  4. Sounds cool, but it doesn’t sound like the greatest game ever made.

  5. Leave Hillary Duff alone!!!!


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