|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Platinum Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Sega||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 19, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Youll also need to master these skills, because this ones often relentless. If theres one thing Vanquish avoids, its subtletyenemies descend from drop ships in hordes and fire in volleys at you from heavily entrenched positions. Unit types dont differentiate too much, but your foes quickly move from small groups of mechanical grunts to specialized classes like snipers and melee to hulking 15-20 foot tall tanks, transport vessels and massive, screen-filling mechanical monsters.
Vanquishs campaign follows the minute-by-minute events of a wide-scale military counter-measure offensive, and though it isnt that long a gameyou should be able to blow through it in between four and six hoursthe sheer intensity and number of enemies make the games escalation of conflict particularly grueling. With so much adrenaline and testosterone running on all cylinders, it can be downright exhausting to play this for more than, say, an hour at a time.
And despite Vanquishs Japanese influence and aesthetic, its clearly aware of its identity as a western shooter. The games conceit, which involves a war in the near-future against the United States and Russia, is nearly all we get as real narrative; Vanquish would rather focus its attentions on delivering spades of over-the-top, goofy military dialogue and following each and every objective that Sam and the marines must tackle. But Mikami seems to be poking fun at the meatheaded stereotypes these kinds of games are known for. The marines CO, a tough-as-nails, muscle-bound caricature named Burns, routinely growls lines like, Oh, you robo-fk! and makes fun of Sams use of tactical jargon in battle. Similarly, when Sam rescues a group of marines from electrically-charged prisons early on in the game, they complain that he shouldnt have rescued them because the electricity, say, cured their back problems, or otherwise felt good. Sam also smokes every chance he gets when not in battle, which just adds a layer of anime-style ridiculousness over everything elsehe even pulls one out at one point when dangling by one hand over a yawning abyss. While the game is supposed to be a serious undertaking in some ways, its pretty obvious that some elements of Vanquish are intentionally tongue-in-cheek.
Shinji Mikami has had a pretty successful career getting his hands dirty with interesting ideas. And if even if they dont always work (read: P.N. 03), Vanquish has the potential to be a promising new IP with a lot of room to grow. If the game is a success, Id love to see a sequel with a full-on upgrade system for Sams suit (rather than just the strangely understated weapons-based one seen here), as well as different applications for it. A few more setpieces wouldnt hurt either, although the bombastic ones here are still pretty thrilling. Vanquish may be a fully modern game and western-style game, yet its non-stop, over-the-top style and pumping soundtrack is also reminiscent of Contra or Squares underrated horizontal shooter Einhandertitles that are Japanese through and through. It would be easy enough to recommend Vanquish for its gameplay merits alone, but if you consider yourself a fan of both Western and Japanese games, missing out on one that bridges the design gap as well as Vanquish does would be downright foolish.
CCC Freelance Writer