Vanquish is not a deep game. The most cerebral it gets at any point is when, as DARPA researcher Sam Gideon, you need to read the telegraphed attacks of mammoth bosses while spotting their weak points (hint: they glow red). Sam's got a crazy power-armor suit on with thrusters that let him boost along the ground from one piece of cover to another and, basically, be really fast at everything. He also has a transforming, upgradeable weapons system that fires homing lasers, carbon nanotube death discs and other stuff. (It also shoots regular ol' bullets). There's no menu to slow down the action; as Sam picks up new weapons and upgrade chips, his arsenal gets more powerful. Basically, he's one quick badass with ridiculously powerful weapons -- and a serious nicotine habit.
From the moment Sam and his assigned group of Marines land inside Providence to the game's final moments, the bullets don't stop flying. Giant mechs assault them, levels collapse around them, massive spaceships almost crash into them. The gameplay in Vanquish may have been possible on the PSOne, but the presentation is pushing the 360 and PS3 into overdrive. There's so much going on, so much detail and so much ... wow that it's no wonder there's a button that makes Sam take a smoke break -- the spectacle simply has to be taken in.
Everything in the game feels tuned to the nth degree for the express purpose of maximum fun.
That said, not everyone is going to be taken by Vanquish. I've mentioned that it's tough as nails -- sometimes you're the nail, and the enemies are an unrelenting hammer -- and that will no doubt diminish the enjoyment for some people. You're also not going to find a lot of incentive to revisit the game once it's beaten, other than a quick action fix. It's a single-player experience that doesn't try to be more than it is.
At the end of six hours, I was feeling as rough as Sam's voice from the challenge, but also coursing with adrenaline -- and a profound desire to walk around high-fiving everyone in sight. Vanquish is a supremely fun and polished action game that makes even Gears of War look like a leisurely stroll, and you simply must not miss it.
- Key specs
- Game format Optical disc, Downloadable
- Online features Multiplayer, Voice chat, Video chat, Store, Browser
- Drive capacity 250 GB
- Controller type Wired, Wireless
- Motion controls Accelerometer, Gyroscopic
- Video outputs HDMI (v1.3), RCA / composite
- Released 2012-09-25
Microsoft Xbox One