Platinum Games has done very well for themselves. They have made two quality games that I have played, Madworld and Bayonetta. Of course, the person to thank for this new game that is now available is Shinji Mikami. Yes, the brilliant mind behind Devil May Cry, Resident Evil 4, and you get the idea. He has had a lot time in the game industry, and his recent game caused some buzz. It’s a third person shooter that is futuristic and, wait… why is this causing buzz? Oh yeah, because it’s Vanquish, a third person shooter that adds the amazing and for some reason, untapped ability to dash. I mean, granted, you have seen Gears of War, where you can run like heck to cover. I mean the only third person shooter that I thoroughly enjoy is Uncharted 2, but I’m not saying Gears of War is a bad game. I even played the first game on the PC and thought it was good. However, I am more interested in this game since it has some pretty good potential for fast-paced and tactical shooting. So, let’s dash our way through the muck of shooters and see why we should care for Vanquish.
The main story is that the big bad Russians are pissed at us for some reason, and have decided to mess with us by blowing up San Francisco. You play as Sam, a soldier from DARPA, also known as Defense Advance Research Projects Agency. You join the armed forces that are going against the Russians, and save the Earth! I am going to cut to the chase and say that if you haven’t played this game already, you shouldn’t take this story seriously. The story in the game is like a cliché sci-fi action movie and acts just like one, with last minute twists near the end, and stereotypes through the roof. So yeah, don’t set your expectations too high or else I’ll have to smack you with a Red Snapper.
The gameplay is a sci-fi third person bullet hell shooter. The controls are basically the same as other shooters that use cover base combat, and have the camera set to the right of the character like Army of Two, Gears of War, and other games in this genre. The main gimmick of this game is that you can unleash your jet boosters in your suit to dash in dashing speed around the area, resulting in some very fast paced combat. There are no people to worry about or slow-paced walks to the finish line. If you don’t become fast in the fight, you will die, a lot. You can also dash into enemies and use a rather powerful offensive move, like doing a jump kick into a giant robot or using powerful punches to beat the tar out of little enemies. Throughout the game, you can upgrade your weapons, like a shotgun, a disc-shooting/chainsaw gun, sniper rifle, rocket launcher, and assault rifle to become more powerful and have more ammo. The gun variety is, well, typical. You can also hijack enemy walkers and unleash chaos on the enemy side. During the fast paced dashing moments, you can also slow down time to hit multiple targets if you’re good. The dash and the slow-down moments do, however, make your armor overheat, and if you were ever a PC gamer, you know how fast it can overheat. You have to be careful how you use everything. During certain moments in boss fights, you go through quick-time events, ranging from launching a missile back at a giant robot to going through an intense sword fight with a Russian prototype suit that your character uses. After beating the game, you can go through a challenge arena where you try to survive as long as you can against hoards of enemies. In a way, this is a fast paced tactical shooter, since you have to be careful what you do or else you will have an early grave.
The graphics are polished and look nice. I mean, this is the same company who brought us Bayonetta the same year this game was released. (Well, Bayonetta was released in 2009 in Japan and 2010 in America). The animation on everyone and the little bits of moving armor is amazingly detailed. This is definitely a very well polished game. The music is also very Devil May Cry and Bayonetta-style with fast paced and intense music playing throughout the battles. The voice acting is okay with the only real person worth noting is Steve Blum, who, I swear, voices two characters that sound the same.
This leads me to the bad parts of the game. The voice acting is bad. I mean, it isn’t horrible by any means, but considering the two big names attached to this game, Shinji Mikami and Atsushi Inaba could have pulled more strings to get a better English voice director. However, the worst offense of this game is that it’s incredibly short. Due to the fast paced combat and the super dashing ability of your battle suit, this game becomes about 4 hours long. 4 HOURS?! Why is it that every shooter these days has a freaking 4-hour campaign? This is what seriously makes me ticked off at shooters and the reason I don’t play a lot of them. They always have very short campaigns, and depending on what franchise you choose, usually relies on multiplayer that is either great or, well, average. There is another thing I don’t like about the game; there is NO multiplayer. You think the two big guys behind Devil May Cry, Resident Evil, Dino Crisis, Viewtiful Joe, Okami, and Godhand could make a shooter that would have been better than most shooter franchises today! I am serious here, what the heck?! I mean, I like the fast paced combat, but if this shooter can’t be longer than other shooters, then what the heck is there to come back to?! There is very little replay value here.
Even with all of the glaring issues, Vanquish is a great game that is extremely fast and fun. You will definitely have fun within the 4-hour campaign and repetitious boss fights. Like I said, this isn’t a bad game by any means, but it’s just disappointing, and people who are praising this game, like naming it Game of the Year and giving it 9 out of 10’s, are extremely biased. I would only recommend spending 15 dollars on this game at the max, due to the lack of replay value and the length of the game. Hopefully, Platinum Games can make a sequel that is longer, but not dragged out. It’s kind of disappointing if you look past the big name producer and director and the fast pace gameplay. This has officially gotten my most disappointing good game of 2010 award.
This game gets a 7 out of 10