Vanquish was directed by Shinji Mikami of the Resident Evil and God Hand fame. It is the only game he directed while he was still working at Platinum Games before he founded his own company Tango Gameworks. It is a sci fi 3rd person shooter that takes place in a futuristic setting on earth. There are also events happening in space that affects things on earth.
You play as DARPA Agent Sam Gideon who is assisting a group of Marines to reclaim one of the space colonies taken over by Russian terrorists. These same terrorists have wiped out San Francisco after launching a massive attack on the city. The terrorists have vastly superior weapons so Agent Gideon is testing out an experimental suit in order to gain an advantage over the terrorists. The game has an arcade styled points system similar to other titles made by Platinum Games such as Transformers Devastation and Bayonetta.
Vanquish’s main highlight is its Combat. It is very fast paced and highly challenging. Enemies will shoot at you in many different directions. It mixes in Beat Em Up style up close combat and rapid-fire gunplay. Its highly stylish and you can shoot at multiple different directions. You earn points on each enemy you kill. The more powerful the enemy the more points you would earn. Headshots give you bonus points. The gameplay combat is pretty similar to 2D bullet hell shooters.
Another highlight of this game is its ARS mode. You are given the ability to slide boost and while in ARS mode, time is slowed down so you can defeat enemies in slow motion. It also activates ARS mode if you are on the verge of dying. This will come in handy in very sticky situations, such as slowing down time to take out multiple enemies at once or destroying missiles aimed at you.
Melee combat is another aspect in the game. It is good to use in case you are ever up close to an enemy and you need to find another way to take him out. But after each time you use it there is a cooldown system just like in the ARS mode or in slide boosting. Its best to use is wisely.
The control system of the game is smooth and is accessible to use. You have a variety of weapons you can upgrade and you can carry up to 3 different weapons, like the assault rifle, sniper rifle and rocket launcher. The enemies in the game are a wide variety of robots, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. You can shoot off parts of enemies in order to weaken them so you can take them out quicker.
I like the environment design of the game as it provides you a variety of different action sequences and it gives you different ways to be either killed by enemies or kill enemies too. Vanquish’s world looks like a highly detailed high-tech setting. I really liked the graphics of the game along with its visual style. The anime Cashern is the main inspiration for this game and the game designers and development team emulated its style of speed and visuals.
You are going to be on the move a lot in this game because combat is very much constant. Cover is highly destructive and taking in cover will penalize your points. Failing a mission objective or being killed will also cost you points. It is better to be on the move in many different directions. Saving allies increases points and you can also get ammunition or an upgrade after saving one of them with just the press of a button, which is pretty neat. The addition of quick time events is well placed and each time you take part in one, there is going to be an over the top stunt to perform.
Vanquish has a fast paced and energetic soundtrack that fits in well with the science fiction nature of the game. The sound effects in the game were also high quality. Another segment of the game is a challenge mode where you fight off waves of enemies so you can reach the highest score possible. There is a few destructible statues to find in the game along with replaying missions to see if you can get a better score or find more upgrades that you might have missed for your weapons. So there is plenty of replay value in this game.
There is a few short comings that prevents it from being 5 stars much of it is related to the story.
The story and writing is really weak and I was not fond of it at all. It’s basically cliched and can be quite predictable as well. America Vs Russia in space. A mysterious conspiracy behind it as well from both sides included. I even found some pretty odd dialogue lines to go along with it.For example, one of the characters states “Thank god I'm an atheist”. Atheists don’t say thank god as they don’t believe in them. As a consequence, the voice acting too it was also pretty silly because of this poor writing.
I couldn’t really find myself to be interested in any of the characters as they were mostly one sided and you could see these kinds of characters in another type of video games. It’s really short too, only five levels, you can beat it in about 4-6 hours depending on your skill level. Boss fights were over the top and stylish. However, you fight the same few bosses through each level over and over again so it’s a bit repetitive.
After you beat the game, you are placed in a on rails shooter where you take out asteroids and it has the developers’ names and pictures on it. Shinji Mikami, the final asteroid is the most difficult one. As a reference to one of Shinji Mikami’s previous games God Hand, there is God Hard difficulty which is the most challenging and things get even more hectic than before. You can unlock this difficulty by beating the game.
Overall, Vanquish is a pretty good game. It has great replay value and the combat is very enjoyable. The soundtrack was very good as well as the game environment. If you like short games with fun combat. You can try this out.
It gets about 4 stars.