Vanquish is directed by Shinji Mikama and produced Atsushi Inaba, so it has a lot of hype behind it. Did Mikama deliver another masterpiece? Hit the jump and find out.
Platinum Games already said various times that story was not the main point of Vanquish, it was to focus on the gameplay. But believe it or not, stories do play a role in games and nowadays people actually buy games just for stories.
The story of Vanquish takes place in the future, where land is scarce and nations have to fight for resources. America decides to fix its energy problems by launching a solar generator type thing into space. Sounds good, but Russian Federation has been overthrown by super nationalist group called ‘Order of the Russian Star’. Pretty damn cool name, right?
Well they decide to take the space station, covert the energy into a weapon and take out San Francisco. This means that SEGA America got hit by the blast, guess they aren’t fans of Iron Man? OK, no more jokes, this is a super serious review. Order of the Russian Star is lead by Victor Zaitsev, he tells the President of the United States to surrender or he will destroy New York next.
What is an American to do? She decides to take back the space station and calls upon Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Burns, a war hero, and his Bravo Company. You would think you would play as Robert Burns, no, you play as Sam Gideon, a member of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). You are a researcher and the reason you are sent in is because you have the ARS (Augmented Reaction Suit).
Sam’s mission is to rescue Dr. Francis Candide. Given this mission, you mostly fight along with Bravo Team, against mechanical beasts. Something I always questioned in the story line is why do the Russians have access to fully controlled robots, but all we get is a suit and even that is ‘cutting edge’ for us? We have to send out soldiers to die, while Russians only lose robots? Brilliant.
Given that 80% of the story is told in the start of the game, there is not a big emphasis on story and that is fine with me, the story isn’t particularity amazing, but it gets the job done. Not like games like Killzone or Gears of War have amazing stories either.
Something I can’t talk much about is the ending and its the only big negative I have with the story. The game ends in a whimper instead of a big way. There is no real ‘boss’ fights in the game, since they are all robots that you don’t really care about fighting.
Platinum Games have used the same engine for Bayonetta and I have to say, it really shines on this title. I think it has to do with the white tones the world uses and how bright and vivid explosions look, regardless if they are blue or orange.
The game uses slow motion, which we have seen in other games like Max Payne, but I think it looks most impressive in this title. When your character goes into slow motion the world slows down, particle effects really stand out and explosions look marvelous. Also the world’s color changes to a different hues.
My favorite things about the game are the little details, like when Sam switches weapons, you just don’t pull out another gun, the gun transforms into another gun in real time. Not to mention Sam’s suit has mechanical parts, depending if he is boosting or running, they stick out or move. Little things make the difference in the suit and makes it seem more alive.
If there is one thing that the game excels at is the controls. First of all, when I first played the demo I was left unimpressed due to not playing the tutorial first. After you learn the button placement and how to manually go into slow motion, you will have no problem shooting your way through the game.
It is true that the gam pretty much does one thing and it does it really well, that thing is shooting. You will see no platforming, puzzles or any of that in this title. The game is focused on fast, arcade action 3rd person score based shooting. The game does have a cover system, but the game actually encourages the user to use less cover and only use it when you’re in critical condition.
The game takes you from rail ways to zero gravity chambers as you shoot your way to save the space station. The game gives you a variety of weapons. You first have your normal Assault Rifle, Heavy Machine Gun, Shotgun, Rocket Launcher, and Sniper Rifle. Then the game gives you odd guns like the Low-Frequency Energy (LFE) Gun that shoots a transparent frequency that blows up missiles and pushes enemies that are crowding you, also can go through objects.
Something that you will start to notice is that each weapon has a unique melee attack. It is little things like this that makes me figure out new ways of playing the game. There is a gun call Disk Launcher, for instance, its melee attack lets you saw through the robots, pretty cool.
“Shows completion time and how much I suck”
There has been a ton of talk about how long Vanquish is. Game Informer said most people should be able to beat the game in 4 hours or less. Well, I played the first time in normal and it took me 28 seconds shy of 6 hours. I also seem to be able to complete games faster than the usual folks, so I would say its still short, but longer than the 4 hours.
Something that people don’t understand is that the game is about scoring and the leaderboards. The game is about the challenge and challenging yourself to become better at the game. It is an arcade style shooter that has replaybility by leaderboards.
If that is not good enough for you, the game also features a rather good challenge mode. They take levels and mix them up for a challenge, they are harder and feature more enemies. The point of the challenges is finding ways to beating the levels as fast as possible. Frustration and joy will come out of these modes.
If you are man enough, you can go through the game on hard and maybe even God Hard, which you unlock after you first beat the game.
An addictive shooter that has a short single player, but also has brilliant graphics. The enemies feel faceless and doesn’t really give you the feeling that you accomplish much when its over.
But its damn fun while it lasts. With Challenge Mode and leaderboards, the fun just keeps on coming. Did I mention there is a difficulty setting called God Hard?
– Great Graphics
– Some great levels
– Enemies lack character
– Story could be better
– Ending is unsatisfying