First Level: Vanquish

You all know Shinji Mikami, right? He’s the guy behind Resident Evil and part of the team that worked on Viewtiful Joe and Devil May Cry and although he’s now well clear of Capcom it’s taken a few years for his new studio Platinum Games to grow from the ashes of Clover and Seeds. Regardless, his new game Vanquish is a definite return to form, combining balletic gunplay with slow motion mechanics set in the near future, with Russian ultra-nationalists aiming their galactic weapon on New York, having already taken out San Fransisco.

Enter a grizzled group of marines and Sam Gideon, the player character, who’s equipped with an Augmented Reality Suit which offers incredible dexterity and strength but comes with an unfortunate acronym.  Undetered, Gideon leads the US counterstrike alongside Robert Burns, a veteran marine with a minigun.  The ARS comes complete with boosters and the ability to slow time, and his BLADE weapon is an upgradeable, expandable affair that does away with the need to carry more than one gun at a time, notwithstanding a small cache of grenades.

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Vanquish’s intro and tutorial eases you in, explaining the basics and ensuring you’re familiar with the various third and first person twin analog controls controls (R1 is fire, L1 is aim, with the other two triggers used to boost and reload) – it doesn’t take long and is pretty much essential as once you’re into the game proper it’s a non-stop thrill ride with so much stuff going on you won’t have much time to think.  The first section offers up a nicely pitched battle between your team and the enemy (on foot and on mounted mech-style walkers) and climaxes with a fantastic, tense boss battle.

Visually the section we’ve played through is very showy, with large numbers of characters running around fighting and all manner of things flying overhead; the graphical effects are impressive with some great detail and the frame rate’s nice and smooth even when there’s enough going on to get that PS3 fan whirring hard.  It’s a distinctive look, and definitely Japanese, but there’s an odd blurriness to the display, like the game’s being upscaled; still, when the action hots up and the bullets start raining down Vanquish is a delight, so we’ve no complaints here.

The sound’s great too, bombastic and punchy, with some great acting thrown in for good measure, and although the menu screens are a little basic the presentation’s fine and the load times are perfectly acceptable (there’s a hefty install though on the PS3 version).  Vanquish looks like being a great game, there’s bags of potential so far and although we obviously need to reserve our full judgement until we’ve completed the game from what we’ve seen so far it looks like the Platinum Games team have come up with something special for third person shooter fans.

You can read more about Vanquish here.

Shinji Mikami
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9 Comments

  1. completely missed this one until earlier this evening. Like the whole idea, a definite lovefilm for me

    • There’s a demo on the Playstation Store. I went in completely unaware of this game and I was pleasantly surprised.

  2. looking forward to the review TSA have heard its a great game.

  3. This is a definite for me to play. Played quite a bit of Bayonetta and loved the craziness and speed of it but diddn’t finish it (must go back to it though due to he complexity of the moves and the learning curve I think I’ll need to start it from the beginning again which I guess is why I’m delaying replaying it – too many good games out).

    It’s great to see Platinum doing well and producing great games. What with this and Bayonetta let’s hope Sega continue suporting them. They’re clearly imaginative souls (Okami looked beautiful) and the industry needs more teams like this and Team Ico who are given free reign to march to the beat of their own drums.

    Whilst I’ve heard Vanquish is a short (c5 hours) game it doesn’t seem to be to it’s detriment as I understand it’s 5 hours of high octane, quality entertainment with good replay value. Can’t wait to get strapped into my ARS (surely they could have come up with a better acronym?) and give it to those mechs!

    • It is there for the sake of it. With all the swear words around it just feels natural.

  4. Enjoyed the demo, but just can’t afford yet another game at the moment! Damm this x-mass build up period, too many games coming out.

    Nofi, what’s the pacing of the game like, I’ve heard the demo is pretty much the best part of the whole game and it doesn’t live upto expectations? But that could just be one guys interpretation.

    • This does look like an awesome game but due to so many games coming out in the next month or two, it’s going to have to wait til it’s a bit cheap!

  5. Bought it, love it :)

  6. Have to say, this flew completely beneath my radar. Not even heard of it really until the eurogamer review.

    It’s ruddy brilliant however! Killzone 3 and Crysis 2 will need to beware. It’s awesome fun, with fantastic graphics (thankfully no screen tear on the PS3 which would mar it somewhat) and a hell of a lot of action constantly going on.

    Grey_Ghost13 – I’d say the rest of the game is just like the demo, it doesn’t let up! I’m about halfway through at the moment and the game is full of awesome set pieces and boss battles.

    I’m impressed at just how good a game this is, especially considering it’s cross format. It does go to show how long in the tooth the Unreal 3 engine is now.

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