Review: Vanquish

In: Reviews by Chris "FighterAce100" Salazar

15 Nov 2010

vanquish4302010image7-1272641400PAX Prime 2010 exposed to me to some games I would not have played on my own if I had not tried them out first. Vanquish was definitely one of those games.

It’s very different from your typical third-person shooter — hell, any regular shooter, even — but it still enticed me to play it. Its unique cover-based gameplay style and the insane chaos that comes in the midst of fighting are nothing short of awesome. This is adrenaline all bundled up and put into a disk for consumption. Buckle up; this game is a hardcore ride that will leave you wanting more until the final act.

The story behind Vanquish is that Russia and the USA are in a severe economic depression. The world is over populated and polluted, and Earth’s natural resources are running out. Through technological research and advancements the US is able to build a ginormous space station named Providence in orbit above the Earth. We’re talking Star Trek‘s Deep Space Ninte would be dwarfed by this thing. It can sustain millions inside it. I would venture to compare it to The Citadel from the Mass Effect games.

This space station also has a strategic military value attached (You didn’t think this huge piece of metal in orbit would be civilian only use did you?). A microwave emitter built into the station is used by the Russians (after a takeover that happened without anyone knowing about it) and literally nukes San Francisco into a molten cement heap. This leads us to our main character and storyline following Sam Gideon, a Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency special agent working for the US government who is sent in, with help from the Marine Corps, to infiltrate and remove the Russians from the station.

Game on!

If you liked any of the Gears of War games or are looking for a new breed of chaos like you get from Big Team Battle in Halo: Reach, this game is made for you. There are constant bullets, rockets, missiles, lasers, and grenades exploding and cutting things to shreds. Cover is everything in this game, and how fast you can react to a situation under fire adds tons of pressure for getting those quick kills and insane animations. The enemy has seemingly unlimited amounts of ammo at hand and they kill Marines like Grunts fresh off the drop ships in Halo. It’s up to you to show these Russians who’s the most badass soldier out there.

Your suit is what makes the game a reality. Similar to what a Spartan would have in the Halo franchise, this suit sports built-in rockets, ammo storage, and a weapons device. A clever rocket-induced sliding and slow-motion reaction system helps as you speed across maps to new cover positions. As you slide, you can blind-fire any of the three weapons you have currently equipped or go into a slow-motion, jaw dropping, ass-kicking animation that lets you annihilate anyone who gets in your way with headshot precision. Yes, the picture on the front cover of the game looks corny, but it’s totally bad-ass in the game. Try the heavy machine gun switch to a rocket launcher while you’re doing this; it has spectacular explosive results!

The weapon choices are few but work well throughout the playthrough. Sam’s suit can have three different types of weapons at any given time, each having its own uses and upgrades. Upgrades usually occur by maxing out the amount of ammo you can carry for it and then slowly increases the capacity, damage, or range of the particular gun. There are nine total weapons to choose from, ranging from an assault rifle to a lock on rocket launcher. The animations of switching weapons never gets old either, as they instantly “transform” from one gun to the next as you select them. Weapons can also be upgraded by picking up green floating cubes from destroyed enemies.

The game is broken into five acts with multiple missions in each act. Checkpoints are located throughout the levels and save your progress on the spot. Plan on reaching these quickly if you want to keep a certain upgrade or if you are low on health. If you happen to die, the upgrades are lost and each ammo crate that you had previously opened may not offer you the same weapon or ammo you received before you died.

There are tons of bosses and tough enemies to fight, but each has a specific weakness, usually seen by a bright red spot on them their bodies. If you don’t see that spot, you can always just shoot away their armor and weapons, then beat them down the ol’ fashioned way. Melee attacks are awesome and these animations depend on which weapon you have selected. They do an insane amount of damage to the target. The only downside is they overload or overheat your suit and you have to wait through a cool-down period before you can do another melee strike or start sliding around.

It took me about five hours to play through the entire game on normal difficulty. The game somehow makes it seem like every battle takes a good hour to play while you pummel some Russian tech. The battles increase in difficulty as you progress, so you never seem to get bored. The environments change as well, from urban subways to reactor cores. Seriously, this game is a total blast, hindered only by its really corny voice acting and humor. Did I mention that you can light up a cigarette in combat, smoke it, then toss it to distract the Russians? It’s totally unnecessary but it’s fun to do it because it’s so random (and is pretty effective at getting their attention).

Intense battles, a crazy storyline, tons of chaos and you can light up as you pull the pin to a grenade. This game has it all and it’s a ton of fun to play. I’m picky as hell with any of the games I buy; this one has a nice spot waiting for it between Gears of War and Halo.

Vanquish
Platinum Games/SEGA
Available now
Reviewed for Xbox 360 (also available for Playstation 3)

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2 Responses to Review: Vanquish

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AnotherSociety

November 16th, 2010 at 7:17 am

Excellent review. I really liked this game from start to finish its pretty crazy. I love the cover system and the speed of the game is just nuts. The boss fights are awesome they certainly do take a while to kill but they look amazing. I really hope there will be a second. Watch for the end credits thats a laugh too ;-)

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Chris "FighterAce100" Salazar

November 18th, 2010 at 8:29 am

Thanks Society! Yeah the end credits are a “blast!” haha The game is fun all the way through the credits. I think its a awesome buy for someone who just wants to shoot up some robots instead of zombies or get too technical into a game like CoD or Battlefield. Hell, I’m still playing the game after I beat it. Time to challenge myself on a harder difficulty. Rack up those points!

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