When I walked into a game shop and saw this in the new releases I would pick it up and wiggle the box around in awe. Then I’d put it back on the shelf and walk off. Some copies of Vanquish have a 3D type sleeve which is really awesome to play with and if I was ever to buy a game based on the cover, this would be it. Thankfully Vanquish is made by the team behind Madworld on the wii and Bayonetta, two games I really like. Gears of War on speed begins.
Vanquish is a third person shooter set on a space station. You are fighting the Russians who like to play the bad guy in games and everything is rather clichéd. Your guy has a super custom suit, only one of its kind and the army are your typical sci-fi Halo, Avatar type soldiers. The plot is boring but the cutscenes can be really cool but all that matters in this game is the gun play and the amazing visuals. Everything has a clean crisp look despite everything blowing up around you constantly and the speed you play the game is what makes it stand out from other shooters in this genre.
As Sam in the super cool suit you shoot lots of robots by moving and hiding behind cover, very Gears of War. You can pick up machine guns, shotguns, snipers and a few cool unique weapons like disc throwers and laser lock on devices but everything is played rather safely as you move through the games linear path. A linear path full of amazing set pieces such as speeding train fights with the other train going upside down above you, a room in which you can walk around in a circle and fighting while giant spaceships fly past and blow up. Everything has a very summer blockbuster excitement to it as you gape at the amazing things happening around the rather n0rmal yet satisfying gameplay. But then you learn how to use the slide function and everything goes up a little on the wow factor.
When you slide you go very fast, you are almost like a car speeding around enemies and corners and if you fire in this state the game slows down so you can pick off enemies while looking very cool. The slide feature is so awesome I wish it would last a little longer before it needs to recharge but this makes you think of when to use it as it can be very helpful in defeating the larger enemies. Just sliding around a room picking off smaller enemies before landing behind the giant robot and shooting it in the back is a very exhilarating game moment and it makes you feel like a real hero, rather than having to watch all the cool stuff in cinematics, though Sam does things you can’t do there. Button prompts which every game has to use by law are also included for key moments which don’t feel so forced as usually it is in meaningful situations such as sword duels and breaking free from enemies to kick them in the groin. Everything is super cool, slick and exciting, there is no way you will finish a level then think of not carrying on with the action.
But the action unfortunately doesn’t last long. After around four hours the game wraps up and it all feels very anti-climatic with a terrible ending and rather unsatisfactory last boss. I was expecting a final chapter to kick in but it doesn’t and I’m left feeling bitter. The story was even starting to get slightly interesting and new enemy types being introduced at the end were incredibly cool and daunting to fight. Replay value is small too with only extra difficulties and achievements to aim for. A challenge mode would have been welcome or rewards such as alternative costumes and power-ups. Imagine unlimited slide!
Vanquish is an amazing game which has style and substance but is let down by closing the curtains before everything is resolved. With more replay value and a decent ending this would have been my game of the year but for now it is just an intense shooter with incredible smooth gameplay and crazy set pieces. Just.