"Big Guns and a Power Suit"
Two turntables and a microphone are nice, but big guns and a power suit are even better. SEGA and PlatinumGames have hit the mark squarely with their latest action-shooter, Vanquish. This over-the-top, third-person shooter is a wild, challenging romp filled with foul-mouthed one-liners and tense combat. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Vanquish despite its lack of depth or poignancy.
Set in the near future, the story in Vanquish revolves around the struggle for a crucial space station, called Providence, that produces alternative energy for the United States. In this setting, human populations have exploded around the world, leading to hostilities over energy and food sources. Unfortunately for the U.S., the Russian Federation has fallen victim of a coup by a madman named Victor Zaitsev – the leader of the ultra-nationalist ‘Order of the Russian Star’. Taking on the role of Sam Gideon, a badass DARPA commando, players will be sent into the fray toting an adaptive arsenal and an Augmented Reaction Suit (ARS).
- There's a ton of big baddies and even bigger bosses to take out -
The narrative isn’t particularly engaging, but it does serve as the perfect backdrop to rip it up in the intense, futuristic third-person action. Gameplay is where this title really shines. Controls are especially well done. After a short adjustment period, players will soon zip around the battlefield, hop in and out of cover, target enemy weak spots through the AR Mode hyper-reality system and pour hot lead and explosives into the enemy. The demanding standard battles, varied enemy types and AI Behaviors, and complex boss encounters are nicely choreographed, so players will have a steady flow of awesome coming their way throughout the relatively short campaign.
Disappointingly, that’s the only real downfall of the game: there’s not much content to play through. Players that really get into Vanquish will want to beat the game at least a couple of times on higher difficulties. Also, there are little golden statues to find throughout the levels as well as level-ending statistical and points screens for the online leaderboards. While this stuff is great for completionists and competitive players, it’s not as meaty as it should be for the majority of gamers. Thankfully, the unlockable tactical challenges give players a bit more fun to blast their way through. However, multiple variations of the challenges and perhaps cooperative online play would have gone a long way toward keeping the fun going.
- The large-scale, frantic battles will take your breath away -
Graphically, the game is impressive. The explosions and fast-paced action is all remarkably rendered and surprisingly stable. The only visual complaint I can muster is that the slow-mo AR Mode, which highlights enemy weak spots and helps you evade attack, features a washed out scheme that seems counter-intuitive to the purpose of the mechanic. Aurally, the game’s sound effects are great, accurately reflecting the intense action. Some might find the cheesy dialogue to be off-putting, but when combined with the ability to stop for a smoke break, I enjoyed the banter despite its outlandish, contrived nature.
Vanquish is a sweet time for fans of action gaming. Players will experience difficult, over-the-top firefights punctuated by multifaceted boss battles. If you hold the quality of a game’s initial experience above lasting value, Vanquish is a good pick for frantic fun.
GameDynamo's Score for Vanquish (X360)
Cutting his gaming teeth at Aladdin's Castle and on the Commodore 64, JC entered into video game journalism in 2008. Helping run GameDynamo as its director is both a dream and a rewarding challenge.
[View Vanquish images / screenshots +]
[Watch Vanquish videos / trailers +]
[View more Vanquish articles (news, previews, reviews) +]
[View Vanquish cheats / guides +]
More from GameDynamo