In spite of its hi-def graphics, top notch sound-effects and music and sweet art direction, Vanquish is at the heart of it all, an arcade title. For all its modern trappings mean nothing when you’re replaying sections of the game to best your previous high score. Unusual for a game that has a story, characters and an extremely ambiguous ending that screams for a sequel, but yes, this is one game that appeals to your primitive gaming instinct ”“ to perfect each stage.
And perfect you will, in style. Vanquish features a unique scoring system that encourages ballsy, action movie-like moves replete with the all necessary tools to make that happen, like slow motion for accurate shots, a suit that lets you literally blitz through the battlefield and hordes of robotic enemies to practice on. All of these come together in such a way that you’re able to pull off stunts that would make logic and physics seem redundant. The entire game plays like a running gunfight punctuated by cut-scenes and epic boss fights.
Speaking of epic boss fights, Vanquish is full of these (and a couple of them repeated for good measure), which have you trying to find the enemy’s weak spots and pump them with lead. Do that enough times and you’re rewarded with some gravity-defying moves mentioned in the earlier paragraph such as being able to throw back rockets fired at you. It works extremely well and stays fresh enough to keep you interested till the end, which you should get to in about six hours.
However this is one title where the journey is a lot more exciting than the destination, as the plot is an intentionally cheesy satire, mocking everything from sci-fi to the Cold War and politics too. It’s got dialogues mouthed by purposefully constructed one-dimensional characters and raging diatribe that would be right at home with entertainment from the Seventies and Eighties. The gameplay mechanics are clearly the star of the show, so much so that you’d be extremely engrossed with getting from one firefight to the next to find the camp and humour anything but endearing.
If you’re wondering which platform Vanquish plays better on, it’s almost a straight-up tie. Unlike developer Platinum Games’ last release, Bayonetta, this one plays equally well on both the Xbox and the PS3, though occasionally the PS3 version plays better because its controller makes it easier to pull off some of the more difficult moves in the game.
So if you missed on this title with the glut of games that have hit the shelves recently, do yourself a favour and check out Vanquish, it’s got the same nostalgic, retro feel that got you into gaming in the first place.