Bayonetta, Vanquish, Platinum Games Forever
I just finished playing Vanquish. Amazing.
After playing Bayonetta, I was convinced that Platinum Games were one of the greatest game companies ever. On paper, I'd never have bought Vanquish, but when I saw that it was made by Platinum, I had to try it.
I don't think I've ever really played a third-person shooter. I've played third-person platform games with a little shooting---like Musashi and Tomb Raider. I think the closest I've come is Parasite Eve on the PS1. I've certainly never played anything in the modern "cover-based" shooter genre. But, oh man, this game is amazing.
I love the cover aspect of it. It makes it feel very "real" and gives an odd rhythm to the extreme excitement of being in the open and the ability to relax a little behind cover. The game can become very methodical, and I like that.
I really enjoyed that you were traveling with a "squad" most of the time. Even though the AIs revealed that they didn't really do anything (they never seemed to ever kill any enemies.) It was still fun to have them around, interacting with you and the environment. It was a nice way to have stupid dialogue in between action too.
The game is rated M. Like Bayonetta, though, there is basically no violence against humans---just robots. So, it is not offensive to me. The few times (in cinematics) when there is human violence, it is quite tame. The language is pretty bad though---however, I listened to it in Japanese and for me personally, reading a swear has SOOOO much less impact that hearing one, so I wasn't bothered at all.
I can't believe I'm saying this, but this game is actually faster paced than Bayonetta. It is so fast sometimes, that I actually got a little sick playing the game and had to take breathers. =) I'm an old fart, I guess. The amount of attention and speed the game takes is so exhausting. Some nights, I would schedule three hours or so to play, but I had to stop after two because I was just so tired in the head with the crazy action. I loved it though.
There are some funny little details in the game. For example, you can surprise some robots who are dancing on their break. Another detail: there's a soldier that you save in the beginning, and the game goes out of its way to show you later on how he gets shot shortly afterwards---as if it is saying how fruitless your action was.
The most frustrating part of the game were a few of the "cheap" one-hit kills. For example, if you don't destroy a robot all the way, it will chase you and explode, killing you in one hit. There are a few enemies that shoot lasers that kill in one hit. This is most frustrating when they are behind you and you don't see them power it up. But, the number one most frustrating thing is the "Unknown" enemy. This thing is death. It can instantly kill you if you let it get close at all. I could only kill them by spamming EMPs and using the melee Disc Launcher attack---over and over. Yikes.
I played on Normal difficulty and never used a Checkpoint---I effectively "1cc'd" the game. Here are my stats:
Difficulty: Normal Total Score: 265,740 Space Score: 9740 Mission Time: 5:33:33 Cover Usage: 33.99% Distance Traveled: 34488 Munitions Fired: 32927 Deaths: 0 Confirmed Friendlies K.I.A.: 589 Wounded Friendlies Assisted: 35 Confirmed Kills: 960 Pangloss Statues Destroyed: 25 Developers Destroyed: 77
I wish I could've kept track of the total time I played. (The "Mission Time" is the amount of time in all the final, completed runs of levels.) I would guess that my actual play time was three or four times more than that, because I had to repeat so many levels so many times to get a perfect run. However, I never played anything more times than necessary to get passed.
While when I beat Bayonetta, I immediately played through EVERY difficulty level and got EVERY item; with Vanquish I don't feel the need to totally destroy it and do everything. Maybe it is because I have some other games waiting to be played... nevertheless, I love this game! I will definitely play it again in the next year at the next difficulty level.