Vanquish review
In space, Sega can't hear your screams... nah it's a good game, don't worry yourselves


A cover shooter ON STEROIDS!
So yeah, Vanquish pretty much kicks ass. No need to really pussyfoot around the obvious with this game, mostly because it never pussyfoots around during gameplay. It never gives you anything more than scenarios where you have to shoot down a bunch of robots, perhaps except quick time events, but they're not overdone or bullshit, so they're not worth expanding on. Anyway, if you haven't already got this game, shit, I'll go and convince you to go and get it.

Story? Vanquished.
Basically, Russia attacks San Francisco with powerful advanced technologies, and now it's up to Sam Gideon's badass new ARS suit and some American soldiers to take Russia down before it's too late - whether that refers to America's unconditional surrender or the takeover/destruction of Ameirca, that's up to both sides. That's all there is to it - cutscenes either just go along the lines of "aww shit, more *bleep*ing things shooting at us" or is basically Sam destroying some big robot. I mean, they try to cram in some other shit, but it's so thinly spread that it doesn't even matter. Then again, a shooter is like toast, and the story is like vegimite - spread it thinly, or it'll taste like shit.

In saying that, at least the characters-- actually, forget it, the characters blow. There's no development or anything that makes them worth caring about (the chick doesn't even wear revealing clothes or have big boobs - BOO!). Sam is just some stereotypical action hero that goes out of his way to save the day while being a snarky smoker. Yeah, that's great and all if he had anything cool to say, but nope. I don't expect the second coming of Duke Nukem, but I do expect a hero that is worth giving a crap about, not some cookie cutter dude who smokes and disrespects his superior officers while blowing everything up. So yeah, don't play this for story.

Vanquished future.
Vanquish plays out like a cover shooter - meaning that it's usually a good idea to snap to cover, and peek out overhead to gun down robots. You have a pretty good arsenal of weapons, ranging from standard (machine guns, shotguns, sniper rifles and rocket launchers, along with some grenades and EMPs) to something more futuristic (lock on laser guns, disc launchers and LFEs). It's a pretty nice balance and they do all work well enough to make you think "hmm, should I replace my stronger machine gun for a rocket launcher, or shotgun for a lock on laser". They all manage to do their jobs finely, especially the bloody strong LFE, which kills whatever grunts it touches, and knocks the stronger enemies back.

There is an upgrade system present, and here's how it works. What you have to do is pick up that same weapon while it's at full ammo, and after a few pickups, your maximum amount of ammo you can carry and, sometimes, the amount you can fire before being forced to reload will increase - power stays the same. However, if you replace that weapon you've been upgraded and forget to get it back, then it's back to square one. Sounds crazy, but in many situations, there will be heaps of weapons either in boxes, capsules or just laying around. In that sense, it's still a bit of a silly system. Why not just have some generic XP system? Or hell, why not just have a couple more of those upgrade holograms? Like, you're picking up additional (say) assault rifles just to stock up on ammo, and naturally, you'd just pick it up and get right back to shooting. It forces you to either be at very low ammo, or just don't use it. It's fine in the first couple of acts, but as the game progresses, you'll probably find yourself using more and more ammo, meaning you'll be scurrying for pick ups more and more, meaning less chances of upgrading. Eh, can't always have it my own way.

But that's not interesting enough for Platinum Games! NO! What they opted to do was make the ARS suit seem *bleep*ing badass! The first thing you'll notice is the ability to slide around with some build in rockets to propel you in whatever direction you're going. This gives the game a huge sense of speed as when you have to get to cover that's kind of far away and you're under fire, moving normally would get you shot a hundred times. Rocketing there, though, will avoid that pothole, unless you got enemies behind you.

The other major power you'll discover is the ability to slow down time. Just press X and hold L1, and there you go, easy targets! Works extremely well against giant robots, though the drawback is that if you slow down time, rocket for too long or use a melee attack (which does a decent amount of damage against big robots and one shot kills grunts), you'll overheat the suit, which means you'll have a period of time in which you can't slow down time, boost through an area or use your melee attack. It's a pretty fair trade off, forcing you to have a good idea of when to use those features and not overuse them (boosting and time manipulation eventually lowers the temperature bar), especially since you're fairly vulnerable while cooling down unless you're in cover... yeah, it really forces you to make sure you use your melee attack in emergencies only, but if you successfully land a hit, you'll be able to kick some serious ass!

Of course, what shooter's complete without enemies? Here, you'll fight grunts, robots controlled by grunts, and just plain big robots. Sometimes, you'll find yourself fighting robots a hundred times your size. Their designs do end up feeling really samey after a few encounters, but they at least do the job in trying to delay your progress, and obviously, the bigger they are, the harder it is to destroy them, with the biggest ones requiring you to destroy a part of them so that you can open up their core, which must be shot at until the red bar empties so that the robot can be fully destroyed. These can either be easy or hard, depending on your surroundings, strategy and weapons, so it's always a good idea to experiment.

Now, this is normally where I'd discuss online multiplayer, but Vanquish doesn't actually have that. What may be seen as a scar on the face of excellence is actually seen as a statement - single player is here to stay! Seriously, I'd rather no multiplayer to some shitty thrown in at the last second multiplayer (coughbioshock2cough), especially since damn near every shooter has it these days. God, if you want multiplayer so much, go play one of those instead! Gee, remember back when the only replay value you had was to - gasp - actually play the game multiple times because it was - shock - fun!? Oh man, those were the days. I suppose you could argue that “wait a minute this game is only like five hours long bro”, but given that the story blows goat testicles, it's understandable... I suppose if the story was actually written better, they'd probably be able to extend the legnth to about eight hours (AND NO LONGER, OR THIS WILL GET BORING!).

The vanquished hole in space.
The graphics are pretty damn impressive. Each of the models and scenery have some pretty sick *bleep*ing textures and color usage that just makes it look pretty good. If I have any concerns, it's that there isn't enough of it. Like, the levels look really similar, there are only a few enemy designs at the most, and all the friendly soldiers barring one look all the same. With that said, given the rich usage of these limited colors and the amount of detail put into each and everything you see, eh, I'll be understanding here.

The void of music.
The soundtrack in this game is pretty good. You'll probably have to adjust some settings so that you'll actually hear it over all the gunfire and shit (in saying that, the gunfire also sounds pretty good, so no problems there), so that it'll be able to pump your blood and kick your ass while you're sliding around, shooting everything in sight. I love it when a techno sort of soundtrack is able to differentiate each of the individual songs so that it gives off a different kind of vibe, but ultimately, it does the same thing... just makes for good listening material. Not the most memorable stuff, but it does the job. The voice acting isn't anything to talk about in any amount of detail. It's... crap, really. Like, it does nothing to make the story any better, nor does it strike as great. Just bloody noble hero or testosterone induced shit that isn't very convincing. Meh.

What should be vanquished? The game or 90 of your dollars?
Vanquish is a pretty good game with a pretty shitty story. If a bad story, short campaign and lack of multiplayer sounds bad, then you'll actually be missing out, because everything else is pretty good. It's one of those games that needs to be played, if only because it's not the same cookie cutter bullshit we've been getting since *bleep*ing Gears Of War and Modern Warfare came out.

Story: 4/10
Pretty weak and might as well be "Russia is attacking America - ARE YOU A BAD ENOUGH DUDE TO SAVE IT!?". Main hero is pretty bland, too.
Gameplay: 9/10
See, this is what I look for in a game - consistency in quality (which is damn good) and no filler-esque crap! Upgrade system is a bit "eh" and probably sounded better in their heads. But honestly, the mechanics that are utilized throughout just gives the game a sense of speed, mobility and awesomness. What's that I hear you cry? No multiplayer? Get stuffed and go play Gears Of War or something. Not every shooter needs it!
Controls: 10/10
Seriously, these controls are bloody tight. Snapping to cover, sliding around, slowing down time, moving and shooting... responds immediately and is mapped for success!
Graphics: 9/10
The levels tend to look the same, and there aren't a lot of enemy designs, but dammit, what they do have is excellently done!
Sound: 8/10
Some pretty sick techno beats get you into the action. Nothing catchy, but they at least do their job. That's if you can actually hear it over the bullets... yay options menu! Voice acting is kind of crappy, though.

Overall: 8.5/10

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