Every year there are a handful of games that fall under the radar due to release schedules that just don't work out well. This year with games such as Call of Duty: Black Ops, Donkey Kong Country Returns, and Gran Turismo 5 coming out weeks within each other, a lot of other titles become diamonds in the rough. This is the case of Sega's Vanquish, and it's a real shame because this is the best game Sega has published in a long time.
What's it about?
Vanquish is a fast-paced third-person shooter that takes place in the distant future where the earth's resources have become grossly depleted due to the high number of people living–it's so bad that people live in space capsules. Despite this, terrorism still exists, and with a Russian threat in the oppressed United States, it's up to Sam Gideon and a team of other metallically-clad infantry to vanquish the terrorist threat.
Why should I care?
Developed by action powerhouse Platinum Games with Shinji Mikami (Resident Evil 4) in the director's seat, Vanquish is a game that benefits having from tremendous style, superb production value, and tight controls.
What makes it worth my money?
Vanquish is a game that both old-school and current gamers can appreciate. While the game is fairly linear, which isn't surprising since it's a shooter for the most part, it features enough challenge and flair to keep the game fresh and interesting. Its atmosphere is a tribute to old-school gaming because of all the action happening at once. Switching between your limited four weapons will be stressful because of all the bullets flying, and the constant dialog from your fellow infantrymen will keep you aware of your surroundings.
As with most third-person action games, there's an emphasis on finding cover and because of how flexible Sam is, you'll be able to find cover almost anywhere. The firing system is excellent and extremely accurate because of the ability to aim more accurately with the help of the left shoulder button ala Call of Duty. The main feature in the game lies within Sam's suit–it gives both Samus and Master Chief a run for their money. The coolest ability you have is the boost ability, which causes Sam to swiftly slide wherever you please. While you do this, Sam's suit takes damage–which enables another feature. Sam's suit can take only so much punishment, and when that happens, everything slows down, which gives the player an opportunity to land more shots or even dodge incoming bullets.
While the suit has all its defining features, that's where the double-edge sword comes in. Whether you're playing the game on the Xbox 360 or Ps3, the controls can be a bit complex if you can't quite understand what you're doing. The game's tutorial is awfully short because of the fact that all the testing you do is in a room and not in one of the game's environments. The average player will die a few times even after figuring out how to kill the last boss. This isn't surprising, this is Sega, and they've made tough games for years. But when you do overcome a boss, there's no better feeling. Some are re-used, and things become more simple as you progress.
As solid as the gameplay is, the game doesn't feature any sort of online play or multiplayer for that matter. Sure, it might not make sense or be too competitive because of the slow-motion features, but what about a cooperative mode?
At its core, even though it's pretty short (the game can be beaten in less than 8 hours), Vanquish is a great game. It has its shortcomings, especially in its horrid dialog and seemingly uninspired story but like Bayonetta before it, and no multiplayer, but the game has a lot of style that just rubs off on you. There's nothing more badass than smoking and having that be a distraction to blood thirsty robots. Either way you look at it, Vanquish is simply solid.