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Vanquish Review (Xbox 360/PS3)

Sean W. Apr 10, 2012 0
4 out of 5 Rating

Describing Vanquish can be done in a couple words.  The game is loud, light on story but is fast and action packed.  Vanquish was developed by Platinum Games of Bayonetta fame and creators of the upcoming Metal Gear Solid Rising.

To put bluntly, the story in Vanquish is forgettable as it is nonsensical.  A peaceful day in San Francisco is interrupted by a huge laser from the sky that destroys the city and boils the blood of people within a close proximity of the beam.  A new Russian group called The Order of the Russian Star demand the surrender of the United States and takes responsibility of the strike.  The United States launches a full scale assault of Marines to take on the new Russian Order. In addition, the U.S. send in a DARPA representative named Sam Gideon using a new experimental battle suit.  After some quick dialog and the sudden introduction of a conspiracy from the start, the action begins and never lets up.   From that point, the rest of the plot is told in cut scenes and plays out like a summer action flick.  The action is fast paced and would rival the best in action movies.  This is obviously where the work went into the game and this is where the game truly shines.

Vanquish is a third person cover based shooter with an over the shoulder view.  The hook of Vanquish is the suit your character is wearing.  It gives you the ability to speed around the battleground at high speed shooting targets along the way.  Pressing the aim button while sliding slows the action down to give you the opportunity to fine tune shots.  This is fantastic as you can see the bullets whizzing by you as you nail a moving target with a sniper rifle sliding from cover to cover.   The game prevents you from overusing this feature with a meter in the bottom right that shows your energy level.  Filling it up causes your suit to overheat and you’ll be down to just standard covering and running.  The suit will go into the same type of “slow-down” mode when you take too much damage.  This gives you the chance to get away from danger but after the overheating period, you won’t be able to slide around until the suit cools down.

Vanquish Boss

The melee attacks in Vanquish are powerful.  Melee attacks are usually one hit kills for regular enemies and take a good amount of damage on the bosses.  Standard melee include a three punch combo, or a two punch and kick combo that ends the enemies life.  The sliding melee attack is a fast double kick that is great for getting the jump on enemies, especially bosses.  The only drawback to the melee is that a successful hit completely overheats your suit and prevents you from sliding away to safety.  This is especially bad if there are other enemies in the area getting the jump on you.  This also prevents you from spamming melee attacks all day and coasting throughout the game.

The game runs excellently.  Even with the large amount of enemies, explosions, and action on the screens, the game pushes on.  Getting hit, of course, slows down the action and makes it easy to admire all the small details in the game.

The weapon selection in the game consists of the usual assortment with a couple unique ones.  There is the assault rifle, sniper rifle, heavy machine gun, rocket launcher and shot gun.  The unique weapons include the lock-on laser, the LFE (Low Frequency Energy)  gun and disc-launcher. The weapon you’re carrying in the game morphs in to each of these weapons but only three can be selectable at one time. During the game, picking up a weapon replaces the weapon you are currently holding.  Picking up a duplicate weapon as one you’re already carrying will refill all the ammo for that gun.  Constantly picking up ammo for the same weapons will upgrade it to carry more ammo, improve the accuracy or increase rate of fire.  Saving other fellow soldiers on the battlefield will give you ammo as well as there are ammo crates spread all around the levels.

There are a relatively small selection of enemies throughout the game, with all of them being bullet sponges.  A headshot work for the smallest enemies, but the rest require a lot of rounds to take down.  Near the beginning of the game, you’ll encounter a major boss just to warm you up to the action and craziness you’re about to encounter.

The variety of enemies seems to be lacking though.  In reality, there is only a group of enemies you’ll encounter countless times throughout the game.   Every boss you’ve encountered you will see again, most likely in the next level in multiple numbers.   After that, you’ll encounter them again in the next level after that with multiple small robots giving them cover fire.   None of the bosses are a pushover at first so every section will seem like a major challenge, but after getting the hang of the controls, knowing the enemies weaknesses, and upgrading weapons, earlier baddies become no problem to take down.  Don’t worry, the game will throw more enemies in greater numbers in the next section around the corner to keep the challenge up.

The sound in Vanquish can be described as loud.  Nearly every character is yelling and the gunfire, explosions, sound effects and everything is loud.  We’re talking Michael-Bay-movie loud.  During the battle scenes, the game feels like war with explosions all around you, people yelling for help and gunfire flying. This game will push large surround sound setups to the limits, if you have them.  To be honest, playing Vanquish without the volume turned up is a disservice to the game.   The game features several languages of voice dialog on the disc.  Not only can the voice dialog be selected, the subtitles and the menus can also be changed. The list of languages selectable are English, Japanese, French, Spanish, German and Italian.

Vanquish is an excellent action game. The story is a throwaway but the action is fantastic.  The act of sliding around the battlefield taking down enemies with precise precision overshadows the story and makes Vanquish a fun game to play.  The sound is excellent for those who want to test their audio systems and the graphics are great.  All in all, Vanquish is a video game version of a Summer big budget action movie that delivers on all counts of action.