Saturday, September 11, 2010

Vanquish- "At A Glance"

Sega and Platinum Games is due to release its fast-paced sci-fi shooter Vanquish on both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 next month. The game is headed by Shinji Mikami who is better known for his work with the Resident Evil, Devil May Cry and Bayonetta series. A good thing because I cringed when I first saw Sega of America's brand on the game. The company has not had a great track record in recent years after nearly killing its mascot Sonic the Hedgehog and various Marvel movie based games. The demo is now available and thankfully rendered all my previous fears null and void. The story revolves around the lead character Sam, grumbly voice and all just like we now have to accept for all male heroes in games these days, as part of a US faction fighting Russia for control of the world's fast-depleting energy sources. Sam is outfitted with a high-tech battle suit that allows him to quickly dash between covers, along the battlefield, or slow down time for dead-eye targeting of enemy units. The demo starts off in the midst of a long metal corridor during the game's first act. Sam maneuvers quite smoothly though the control configuration takes time to get used to. Again like in Quantum Theory, firing is handled by one trigger while reloading is done with the other and the only configuration change you can make is whether you use the bumpers or trigger buttons to do this. I miss the old set-up of reloading with the square of X button, but that is just me. Dashing is controlled by the other trigger/bumper pending on your weapon setup so that also takes time to get acquainted with. Still it is pretty freakin' sweet to hit the dash button while standing still to make Sam take a smoke break in the heat of battle. The action starts fast and furious with swarms of Russian enemy units attacking you and your fellow squad members. If teammates fall in battle, you have the ability to revive them but they do little to help you win matches as far as I can see in the brief demo. The greatest thing about the battle suit Sam wears is the "AR mode." If you are low on health, time slows automatically to allow you the chance to get your ass to cover and away from danger. Once the bots are killed, you fight a boss, a crawler mech that transforms after the first round into a walker drone. The game is easy enough to figure out what to do next but at times the quick-time fight moments for big hits to enemies are frustrating. The boss battle has the chance to do one or more of these though I only experienced one thus far. The prompt was to twist the joystick in a clockwise or counter-clockwise motion though it makes no distinction which stick is which so you will likely miss the first two attempts to figure out the right answer. Despite these few flaws, Vanquish is looking like a great buy for gamers and a beautiful game to boot though I constantly get the vibe I'm playing something like P.N.03 but...good. Later, gamers!

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