STAFF REVIEW of Vanquish (Xbox 360)

Friday, November 12, 2010.
by Brent Roberts

Vanquish Box art ....Incoming communiqe from the General, please stand by....

Welcome back soldier, we could really use your help. We have intercepted data from XboxAddict on the Sega title Vanquish. We want you to decipher the details regarding Vanquish and decode any intel you may find in regards to it's strengths and weaknesses. Time is critical soldier and this is a mission where failure is not an option. America is with you, make us proud....

....End communique....

Suit up and get ready to boost your way into Sega's latest third person shooter, Vanquish. From Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami, Vanquish brings speed and power with deadly accuracy. XboxAddict has declassified all available intel on Vanquish to give you a complete picture of the game. Toss that smoke, grab your weapon and get ready to run soldier because in Vanquish, if you blink you may miss your only opportunity for victory.

To start things off with a bang, we have to address the fact that in the world of 3rd person shooters, the competition is fierce. When you have mammoth AAA titles like Gears and more, Vanquish is coming out of the gate with something to prove. Platinum Games brings a story that takes place on an United States massive orbital space station titled, Providence, and as you will find out early, has been taken over by a Russian extremist group called the Order of the Russian Star. In an effort to save country, the United States launches their entire fleet which includes the main character Sam Gideon.

In Vanquish you play the role of Sam Gideon who is a chain smoking, adrenaline junkie, one man wrecking machine. Sam is a member of DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and he brings with him some mammoth firepower in the form of assault and sniper rifles, rocket launchers, a lock on laser rifle and more. All of the weapons from your basic assault rifle to your heavy hitting rocket launcher can be upgraded multiple times and each time increasing stats such as accuracy, range, and power. This adds a great innovation to work on as you truly begin to unlock all the potential firepower. All this arsenal though would be relatively less effective without the best weapon Sam has to offer, the ARS (Augmented Reaction Suit). The ARS is a great innovation in Vanquish as it allows Sam to boost at high speeds via jets on the arms and legs, perform lightning fast hand to hand attacks, and even slow down time itself.

The fast paced gameplay of Vanquish is this game's standout triumph. In Vanquish you will experience time control like never before as you control your boost at lightning fast speeds to flank your opponent, then when you are in position, instantly make time stand still as you pinpoint your shots on various targets. Make no mistake, when we say that Vanquish is very, very fast, so having total control over time at both ends allows for some insanely fun combat. Another innovation that your ARS brings to the gameplay is that when Sam takes too much of a beating the ARS will slow time to a crawl and allow Sam some very valuable time he needs to boost to safety. The rest of Vanquish's gameplay is very solid, but the innovations other than the ARS suit are few and far between. Vanquish itself is divided into 5 various chapters, and each chapter contains between three to eight sub chapters to complete. The levels you will go through are all fairly linear, but when you are trying to take out a small army, the action never stops and is constantly adapting, which forces you to adapt on the fly. In Vanquish you will have a lot of cover that you may use, but beware for the enemies will use your hesitation against you.

The graphics of Vanquish are a sight to behold. Providence comes to life and brings with it beautiful settings and a phenomenal attention to detail. Each chapter your eyes will see levels unfold at blinding speed, and witness some incredibly polished character modeling that combine to make one epic ride from start to finish. Vanquish showcases an uncanny attention to detail which is amazing when you take into consideration just how fast this game is. From the lighting effects, the environment, all the way up to the intricate detail of your ARS, Platinum Games has done a great job in bringing gamers a visually striking game in Vanquish. The most impressive quality of the graphics, hands down, is the frame rate that Vanquish brings. With so much going on during the battles, the amazing graphics and the sheer speed of the game, Vanquish's biggest accomplishment is that it brings all of this to you without missing a beat.

While you are waging war at break neck speed, Vanquish pumps in some high energy techno music combined with some heavy metal inspiration. This is a great touch as it adds to the sense that the world is flying by you at blinding speed, and when in combat, brings the feeling of a truly fast paced war to your ears. During iconic moments of the game, the tempo will change and you realize that this is the calm before the storm. Once the action picks up though, hang on because the soundtrack will push you faster than you thought possible.

As we pause to let our jets cool down, there is a major point of this game that should be noted. Vanquish is not easy. While normal difficulty will pose a challenge, Vanquish's hard mode should only be attempted by those who want the smallest margin of victory. Another aspect that makes Vanquish a tough fight is the fact that boss characters do have an instant kill attack. This can become very frustrating, and on hard difficulty becomes insane if you do not use time to your advantage. When you combine the difficulty with the blinding speed of Vanquish, you have a true challenge to overcome.

Vanquish though does have its share of drawbacks that really hold this title back. For starters the game is very fast, but also very short. Vanquish can be completed in about six or so hours and offers no multiplayer and very limited replay ability. On top of that Vanquish's plot is very under developed which is a shame when you take into account its only a single player game. The character interaction is amusing, however, their development throughout the game is little to non-existent.

Vanquish was on target to make its mark in the third person shooter world and came very close by bringing very fluid, beautiful graphics, a gameplay style that was fast paced and innovations that set the bar for future titles to follow. Unfortunately, Vanquish's under developed story, limited character development, lack of multiplayer and a very short story with little to no replay ability, all add up to a game that should have been better. If Vanquish can return with more of a focus on the story and development, then it will have its sights set firmly on being one of the best third person shooters to date.

Overall: 8.5 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.5 / 10
Sound: 8.3 / 10


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