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Vanquish PS3 Review

Vanquish shouldn’t work. It’s a third-person shooter with gravely-voiced space marines engaging in a bit of bromance whilst they rid the world of evil. There’s no need for another one of these games. But Vanquish takes all these tired gaming clichés and wraps one of the best shooting experiences ever around them. Once you’re playing Vanquish, you’re in action heaven.

The plot really could have come from any third-person shooter. Sam Gideon is a secret DARPA agent testing a new Augmented Reality Suit (or ARS, for short. We know, looks a bit silly doesn’t it?). Sam is working to help Robert Burns and his Bravo Company stop a terrorist plot being orchestrated by the dastardly Order of the Russian Star. This organisation have hijacked a US satellite used for absorbing solar energy. They use this energy to attack San Francisco and threaten the US government that if they don’t give into their demands, they’ll destroy New York city next.

As I said before, any action game could have picked this story out of nowhere and ran with it, but it gives Vanquish a decent backdrop to help progress the action and give you some amazing set pieces.

So you can imagine, there’s a lot of shooting. You take on legions of robot troopers and thanks to an amazing engine and fantastically responsive controls, this couldn’t be more fun. Sam has 3 weapon slots which he can freely fill with anything he comes across. This can be machineguns, shotguns, sniper rifles, rocket launchers and some bizarre stuff like disc launchers and laser cannons. He also has a 4th slot specifically for 2 types of grenades.

As well as the usual running and cover system you’d expect from a third-person shooter, you also have the option to use melee attacks, a crazy boost which sees Sam jet along on his knees like a rockstar and a focus system called the AR mode which allows Sam to slow down time after a dodge or roll and take out as many enemies as possible. These options use the ARS’s suit temperature gauge. Overheat the suit and you are temporarily vulnerable to enemy attacks as you can’t flee the scene without your boost or use AR mode.

Destroying enemies will sometimes leave upgrades which allow you to raise the amount of ammo you can hold for the selected weapon. This adds a nice level of strategy as you choose which weapons in your arsenal you want more effective use from.

All of this makes for some fantastic action which is incredibly intuitive and responsive. As the game throws more and more enemies at you, you begin to use this system with a more advanced understanding allowing for a fast and fluid gameplay experience.

Also, Vanquish never feels unfair thanks to its’ amazing gameplay engine. If you die in Vanquish you know it was your own doing that caused your downfall. No death is cheap or unfair and that is all down to how well created this game is. This level of precision gives the game a remarkably authentic SEGA feel, almost as if it came straight from SEGA’s heyday.

This is all rounded off nicely with some incredibly detailed graphics. The satellite is littered with debris and destruction, embers float in the air, enormous structures cast shadows across the battlefields, enemies explode with amazing realism and the lighting is superb throughout. This is a world you do not want to leave anytime soon.

Sound is also well executed with satisfying clicks and clacks as Sam changes weapons, room-shaking explosions and thunderous rattles of bullets being unloaded. Music is the only department we were let down by as you can barely hear it and there’s hardly anything memorable about it. However, the thumping drums keep the game’s frenetic pace will emphasised.

Vanquish may be another third-person shooter with gravely-voiced space marines engaging in a bit of bromance, but it’s easily the best example of a third-person shooter with gravely-voiced space marines engaging in a bit of bromance. Missing this immense slab of action from Platinum Games and Shinji Mikami would be a gaming crime. Don’t miss out on one of the most over-the-top and enjoyable shooters this generation.


Written by Sonic Yoda on 26/10/2010

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