Sunday, 12 September 2010

Game Preview: Vanquish-Xbox360, PS3

If Gears of War was instead developed as a coin hungry, arcade machine sat somewhere in the secluded corner of some arcade in Western Pier; then this how it would have turned out.  Everything about Vanquish smacks of classic arcade gaming at its very finest.  Big, bold, beautiful and wonderfully designed, Platinum Games’ chaotic, 3rd person blast-a-thon is every inch the twitch gamers dream.

At first glance it comes across as an accessible, pick up and play title yet within your first few moments you’ll realize that Shinji Mikami’s latest offering is anything but accessible.  Not only is Vanquish eye wateringly fast paced and ludicrously chaotic in its delivery, it demands a level of skill and quick reaction time that it will have even the staunchest of trigger happy gamers catching their breath as swarms of enemy AI cleverly outwit, outflank and outmanoeuvre you.   If that’s not enough each level promises to end with a gargantuan boss tooled up with an arsenal that has one purpose and one purpose only:  absolute destruction.
Given how Vanquish plays out it wouldn’t be unfair to assume that it’s geared toward a more ‘hardcore’ audience, and in some way it is. However, with its sci-fi setting, awesome weaponry and a protagonist suited in an ultra-cool Augmented Reaction Suit, (which allows you to knee-slide at ridiculous speeds across the combat zone pumping hot lead into your enemy at any and every angle), Vanquish has buckets of mass market appeal.  Once you have mastered the basic controls and combinations the insanity is a joy to behold and it isn’t long before you’ll begin to see that your patience is rewarded, and frequently.  As soon as the training wheels are off it simply never lets up and like Bayonetta, as your skill with the outwardly complex control system increases so does the countless cool ways to dispatch the myriad foes, and all the satisfaction that comes with it.

Like with many games of this ilk boss fights are breathtaking.  Huge, lumbering machines destroy all in their wake as they rain down a barrage of missiles, molten-fire and proton-lasers in your general direction, all intent on your total annihilation.  It’s a real test of skill and will push your gaming prowess to its very limits as you duck, dodge, dive, roll and flip in a bid to keep out of harms way whilst simultaneously unleashing your own wanton barrage of firepower as you desperately try bring down your quarry by exploiting the weakest points  in its seemingly impenetrable armour.  It’s like David & Goliath, only this time with huge laser cannons and bagfuls of attitude.

At its core Vanquish may not offer up the most original of concepts, but as a stand alone title it’s already looking to raise itself head and shoulders above the competition; the gauntlets are definitely off in the SEGA camp.  Fast, furious and unrelenting in its delivery, Vanquish pushes at the boundaries of what we’ve come to expect from the 3rd person shooter and will have your senses reeling.  Bring it on.


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