Dude Rocket Knees
Do you have rocket knees in Gears of War? No you don’t, let me tell you about who does have rocket knees. Vanquish is the new game by Platinum Games the same developers who brought you Bayonetta earlier this year.(2010) Does Vanquish have what it takes to set it apart from other third person cover based shooters or is it just another Gears of War clone?
You play as Sam Gideon who works for a research company that develops new battlefield technologies and applications named DARPA. DARPA sometimes sends an employee in with military personnel to test its new products in the field. Vanquish starts out with San Francisco getting wiped out by a laser. The attack came from an American space station that has been overrun by Russian robots. Sam is attached with a military team called Bravo 6 who is headed up by Robert Burns. The military hate it when DARPA agents are attached to military forces but they have to put up with you and you notice very early that you are unwelcome to Bravo 6. Almost all of the enemies in Vanquish are made up of robots and mechs. Unfortunately for Vanquish the story is the worst part of the game. I for the most part did not care for the story, with all of its double crosses and conspiracy’s. It never pulled me into it and I never really cared about any of the characters. After everything was done with I just felt confused.
Vanquish has a lot of good things going for it even thought its story is its weakest part. Between the ARS suit that Sam wears, the weapon upgrading system, and its crazy ass cut scenes. Sam the main character has at his disposal an Augmented Reaction Suit or ARS suit that is developed by DARPA. The first thing you will notice about the suit is the rocket knees you have at your disposal. You are able to slide on the ground for great distances, if you have enough power in the suit. This is totally crazy because you are able to slide from cover to cover along with sliding down long corridors to get to the next confrontation. Along with rocket sliding you have the ability to slow down time. If you get hit to many times the game will slow down so you are able to get to cover or take out any enemies. You can also go into slow-mo when you dodge or rocket slide. That’s right you are able to rocket slide on your knees in slow mo, it is bananas.
Along with the suit you have the capacity to scan in new weapons and weapon upgrades. The system that they have come up with for upgrading your weapons is unique. You are only able to carry three different weapons at a time, along with grenades. If you are carrying a weapon and you have come across the same weapon on the ground, one of two things can happen. First you can refill your ammo for that weapon. Or if you already have full ammo for that weapon you will receive an accommodations for that weapon, if you get enough accommodations for that weapon if will automatically upgrade that weapons ammo capacity, firepower or any other attributes. You are also able to do this with all of the weapons, enough the rocket launcher. You are also able to switch to pick up a completely different weapon if you so choose. There are also upgrade cubes that come out after killing some enemies; these cubes you collect automatically upgrade whatever weapon you are currently carrying.
With this system in place, I found myself only using one type of weapon at a time. This was so I would keep full ammo on a different type of weapon so that when I found the weapon I had full ammo on the ground I would get an accommodation for it when I picked it up. It made me strategize more with what weapon I would use at any given time. I would usually do this until I had one weapon upgraded all the way, and then I would switch to that upgraded weapon. The only problem I found was that I would only carry the same weapons all throughout the game and never try any of the other weapon combinations. Also if you are playing the game on normal difficulty or higher, every time you die all of your weapons get downgraded. It makes you think before you act before you run into a battle. The action is nonstop go go go go. You will be moving from battle to battle killing all robots and taking down any oversized mechs. There is very little down time in Vanquish.
Earlier I touched on the story not being good, but for the cut scenes themselves they are bat shit crazy. They end up being a fever dream of action packed craziness. I enjoyed watching them even though I was not sure what was going on story wise. Something else that bothered me besides the story was the voice acting. Between Sam and Robert (the leader of Bravo 6) bickering back and forth with their gravely voices and corny one liners, it made me roll my eyes every time they open there mouths. At first I thought this was on purpose but the more I thought about it, I don’t think it is on purpose. Because the story is suppose to be taken seriously, but it is hard to take it seriously when you have characters like Sam and Robert.
When I first seen Vanquish I thought it would be just another Gears of War clone. But I was so wrong the game is crazy. The first battle I slide into I did not know what was going on. Bullets flying everywhere, enemy robots everywhere, I did not know what I had got myself into playing this game. But after some time I got use to it and I got better at the combat and understanding what was going on.
But with its short play time, around 4 hours for normal difficulty. It’s bad and ridicules story and over the top voice acting makes this a good effort for Platinum Games. I did enjoy my short time with Vanquish and I hope I can go back to that universe with a sequel, so I can rocket slide in slow mo to cover while shooting heads off of robots. I mean just that sentence alone makes my head explode.