Vanquish is the video game equivalent of light speed travel
Vanquish is not your typical 3rd person shooter, sure it might have cover, d-pad weapon switching and a few other things you might expect to find in one but the gameplay feels more like a severely modded version of Ninja Gaiden but with guns. Now if that doesn’t get you interested in Vanquish, then odds are this game isn’t for you, if it does, then read on to find out why you absolutely must play this game.
The movement is one of the main things that separates Vanquish apart. Everything about the game is just incredibly fast, it feels like a game running ten times as fast as it normally would. Courtesy of your augmented reaction suit (or ARS) you can also slow down time, slide around at rocket speed and deliver devastating melee attacks. The appearance of said suit warrants particular mention. It nails the futuristic power armour look perfectly, it has thrusters on the legs that look like jet engines when executing the slide and something that resembles a miniature reactor on the back that vents when it overheats. All of these are concealed by transformer esqué parts that build off and on as they are used. The environments all share the same aesthetic, everything has a mechanical look but still looks convincing as a futuristic world.
You won’t spend much time in Vanquish doing anything other than shooting robots in the face, so it’s a good thing that doing so is extremely satisfying. The controls are as fluid and responsive as you’d expect (this is a Mikami game after all) and every weapon sounds absolutely devastating. Even the standard assault rifle sounds like it could rip through multiple sheets of steel, and the shotgun... well I’ll let you found that one out for yourself. There’s also a very wide selection of weapons to choose from, you have your standard assault rifle, shotgun, sniper rifle and rocket launcher and your not so standard weapons (which I won’t spoil). Even on the harder modes I didn’t find every weapon to be useful, you have three slots and I never needed to rely on anything other than the assault rifle, shotgun and rocket launcher, that being said, the challenge mode does require you to be more versatile.
The game presents a fair challenge and progressing through the toughest encounters is very rewarding. While the campaign is short, there are plenty of reasons to go back and enjoy the sheer chaos of it and the challenge mode is ideal for anyone that thinks shooters are getting too easy. However, if you’re not into mastering this kind of game, it’s easy to be put off by the apparent lack of content.
Even though you’ll only be fighting robots throughout the game, there is plenty of variety to the enemies. The bosses are the crowning jewel of the intense gun battles and the environments feel meticulously designed in order to accommodate them. All bosses are individually checkpointed which lets you be a little wreck less in finding out their weakness. Boss attacks are predictable but they are varied enough to keep you on your toes while at the same time letting you take some risks without overly punishing you for it.
Vanquish delivers on its promise to push the genre of third person shooters forward, everything about it is far beyond anything the genre has shown so far. The only downside is that you can’t help but want more of it, the campaign can easily take less than five hours and while the challenge mode is truly great, the severe level of difficulty it offers will only appeal to a select few. Vanquish offers the most intense experience of any third person shooter out there and will probably hold that title until others learn from it, or until we see a Vanquish 2.