Vanquish is a third person action that isn’t for everyone, but it perfect for those that like the stronger stuff and original, fast and spectacular gameplay. Finished with beautiful graphics that perfectly display the chaos of a battlefield, filled with technology, robots and explosions, this faster-than-light bombardment will completely immerse you and leave you with sweaty hands.
The formula used here is relatively simple. Some succesful gameplay elements (taking cover behind objects and bullet time) are added with an injection of adrenaline. In Vanquish you get a futuristic suit that makes you “skate” from one location to the next extremely fast while slowing down time allows you to perform gorgious-looking moves while splitting opponents in pieces with a rain of bullets. And that is done in a very beautifully animated way, with pieces flying in all directions, sparkles and all kinds of sounds that give your surround system a go for its money.
The controls are tight and there’s no feeling of lag or glitches so that hardcore gamers can focus on perfectly controlling the moves, get good at them and kick some major ass with them after a round or two. The combination of these lightning-fast moves and slow-motion delivers something very fresh and new and at the same time allows challenging gameplay and an interesting difficulty degree.
The makers clearly realise this and have created levels that will not let you rest for a second, but attack your senses and vary this with assignments that go just a tad slower and require you to think and be more cautious. That way abundance is avoided and in the end there’s room for quite a lot of variation in missions. In fact, there’s no lack of variation thanks to the exciting, original opponents and a series of challenging boss fights with all of them having unique weapons and attacks, and of course “weak points” and tactics you need to discover if you want to take them down.
Luckily you get quite a decent gun to give them a suitable reply. You can upgrade or reconfigure your weapon to for instance a shotgun or sniper rifle, but you can also use shockwaves or shoot discs. I did miss a bit more variation and enjoyment of getting a new weapon – and you’ll quickly hang on to your favorite upgrade – but that’s only a minor issue.
Weapons, gameplay, opponents, controls, graphics: absolute top! What disappointed a bit was the story. The futuristic setting is so cool that you hope for an immersive story but we never get further than an out of control Russian who wants to wipe off San Francisco from the map. The characters with their sucky dialogues and over-the-top acting only make it worse. Also you can only have fun in singleplayer with the campaign that’s replayable thanks to the scoring system and the difficulty degree as there’s no multiplayer present. This gets made up a bit by the Challenges, but also here you’re on your own.
Vanquish in other words is one huge spectacle with lighning-fast, hardcore gameplay and a presentation that visually and auditively underlines its strengths greatly. The beaufitul boss fights and varied missions luckily make up for the simplistic story and characters. Chaos and adrenaline for action junkies who prefer getting a high score over looking opposition online.