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Posted by eddierichards on Nov 1, 2010
Vanquish – Sega/Platinum Games – Playstation 3

Vanquish – Sega/Platinum Games – Playstation 3

East Vs West – Man against machine – Drago Vs Rocky..

I’d been waiting for a game like this for what felt like a very long time. That is, I’ve been waiting for a chance to have a good old tear-up – with GUNS. No swords or magic spells just guns, lots of guns. Now it’s here, I am most satisfied with it. Sega (A company I was never the biggest fan of, unlike everyone else.) has met all my expectations with this instant classic, and surpassed them wonderfully.

The story goes, that in the not-too-distant future, Earth’s diminishing resources and increasing population count has everyone fighting for what they can get their hands on. Our beloved, peaceful United States of America (Yeah – I know!) goes about creating a solar-powered spacestation capable of sourcing energy directly from the sun and sending it to Earth. However, the US is ‘suddenly’ attacked as San Francisco is devastated by a powerful energy beam from above the earth. A dissident group of Russian forces, who overthrew their Russian government, used the spacestation as a weapon to threaten America into surrender. It has to be said that the Russians are painted to be a bunch of total bastards, scum or tossers. If you are Russian prepare to be incredibly offended!

Anyway, cue glorious blockbuster, James Cameron-esque movie. After training as the game’s hero – Sam Gideon, in his fancy battlesuit, (I’ll talk more on it later.) it all kicks off. It is bloody mental and I love it.

You’re thrown into combat against Russia’s Mechanical militia, with ‘The Bravo Company’ – a crew consisting of Space Marines, Special Forces, etc. Fortunately, they are capable of holding their own. As a team, your mission is to take the enemy down HARD..  For America, God Bless. Bravo Company’s leader, Lt. Colonel Burns, is a cool supporting cast member. Any chance he gets, he’s sipping whiskey from a flask concealed in his cyborg frame. He’s constantly yelling orders at his soldiers, with a few recognisable lines lifted straight from Aliens.. And he likes swearing.

By the way, many Halo fanboys will be very much reminded of their gaming holy grail here. In quite a few respects Vanquish apes Halo right down to a certain, almost mocking image in the title screen’s background. Many may end up choosing to ignore Vanquish altogether, out of some misguided faith to Bungie. It would be a mistake as there is so much to like about this game that transfer from Bungie’s game.

There are hints of Gears Of War in there also, but it reminds me greatly of Capcom’s Nintendo Gamecube exclusive, PN03 only with more guns, more mayhem, and no ass-shaking. Ultimately, I guess this is how Japan does it. Or rather, how the game’s Director, Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami does it.

Graphics in Vanquish are, in a word: Nice. The kind of game you NEED a big-screen TV for. Vanquish does feature an option to cater to those with SDTVs (Making text easier to read.) but you are cheating yourself if you are not playing this in HD, baby. It’s all very ‘Anime’ – heavy on the Japanese style, of which I am a big fan.

At any one time, you’ll be surrounded by bullets, missiles and laser blasts all whizzing by you, and seeing huge enemy ships coming in to land (or crash), while you take on giant Mech machines, and bring them to their knees. War is a beautiful thing here.

Sam’s ARS (Augmented Reaction Suit – don’t laugh!) looks cool – despite it making him look a little feminine around the Marines – probably why he’s posing with cigarettes all the time. Hug a wall with the Square button, press R1, and watch him light one up!

In general, Vanquish is just gorgeous, and for the first time, I wanna swap my 32” TV for something much, much bigger. So much goes on at once during battles with massive waves of enemies attacking you. There is practically no slowdown amid the mayhem and in locales full of crisp detail. It’s all a lot of flashing lights and explosions and such, but.. Wow. It all adds up to a very slick, stylish looking affair.

Throughout Vanquish, you and the Bravo Company are constantly chatting away. A lot of speech and witty banter goes on although after a while being when Sam’s incessant need to keep shouting “Get outta the way!” when his pals happen to run into your sights becomes irksome.  Bravo Company in general, is very cool. Some of them will be shot down in battle, giving you the task to save them with a health pack – but doing so is never annoying, and is also rewarding.

At the time of writing, I can only recall hearing the title screen music. Of course there is other music in the game but the sheer level of constant booms, clicks, beeps, screams, war cries, swear words overshadows any soundtrack.  However, when the action does let up, the usual very Japanese techno-rock tracks chirp away in the background. The voice acting is superb and give you the real feeling of being a member of Bravo Company. I Especially like how, when you reach a checkpoint and read your scores, or just stop to take a break when possible, you can hear Lt. Col. Burns bitching about the enemy the whole time.

Unfortunately, there are a few issues with Vanquish that can’t really be overlook. Sam’s ARS (stop it), as cool as it is, has a serious overheating problem. Whilst you play, you’re capable of some really sweet moves and can look like a real Pro when in combat. You can propel yourself across stages with the suit’s internal rocket system (Sam slides on his knees like he just scored a goal.) or jump into bullet-time to take the machines out. You also have a melee attack which varies according to which weapon you have armed at the time – but using these skills will cause the suit to heat up very quickly, which often leaves beginners in the situation of thinking ‘Yeah – I’m gonna blaze in there, and save the day’, and then suddenly running for cover with your Sniper Rifle between your legs. I guess the idea is to stop the game from being a total walkover, which it definitely is not. It can be frustratingly difficult in places, but there is a very satisfying sense of achievement as you progress. There may be the ‘Casual’ and easier ‘Casual Auto’ difficulty settings for the weak-hearted, but it feels wrong to choose them. Especially when the gameplay time in Vanquish is criminally short. On average, there is barely six to seven hours here, which even by today’s short attention span standards is poor.

Despite its short play length Vanquish is a great game. Watching Sam’s weapons unit morph from Shotgun, to Disk Launcher, to Sniper Rifle, is always cool. The frenzy, the excitement, the rush.. Brilliant. Yeah, it has it’s downsides – but you’d be mad not to give Vanquish a go. Do it.

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