Vanquish (PS3) Review


I decided that I really didn’t want to let this game sit around any longer, and played through it. It would have been a shame too, because it is actually pretty good. Kind of short, considering the game was completed in under 7 hours on the default difficulty setting, but that is okay with me. It just means it’ll be quick to play through a second time…on hard.

What was done well? Graphics, Controls, Combat and a variety of weapons, variety of enemies, Storyline, Online Rankings

The graphics in Vanquish are actually pretty damn good. It’s very smooth without any slow down and the animations are done very well. Explosions, sparks, robot pieces sliding across the ground, and shadows and reflections all look nice. It is very polished and I have no complaints here.

Controls take a little getting used to at the beginning, but it doesn’t take too long to get used to sliding around on jets, flipping around and firing at a target all at the same time. The tutorial was very helpful in this regard, as I did that before I began playing. I think you have to anyway. It’s been a while since I actually began playing the game, so i can’t quite recall.

Combat, as I mentioned a little bit in the bit on controls is a lot of fun. Use of cover is essential, but when you’re not in cover and need to get around, you can slide around on jets and shoot at enemies quickly (it goes into bullet time). Big enemies and bosses have weak spots that are on their backs or in hard to see spots, and using your jets to quickly get around behind them can be very useful. Plenty of weapons are at your disposal as well, which adds a bit of depth. I mainly used the heavy machine gun, assault rifle and the lock-on multiple missile launcher. There are around 10 or more different weapons. Some are upgradable and some are not. To upgrade weapons, you need a weapon to be at full ammo, and then pick up another of the same weapon, or while having that weapon equiped you pick up an upgrade cube. There are also frag and EMP grenades. EMP grenades are essential sometimes, considering they stun most enemies and are nice in a tight spot when you can’t poke out to fire on the enemy. You can also attack in close combat, but it drains your energy in one hit, so it’s tough to do it a lot. Same goes for sliding around on the jets. It slowly drains your energy and overheats your suit. Be careful.

There are many different enemies as well. Most enemies are similar, but do vary in how they fight in combat. Some have jet packs, some have big drill arms, some are like a big pile of parts that randomly form new weapons. It’s a lot of fun not knowing what could be around the next corner, and adjusting your tactics as new enemies arrive. Large robot boss fights are well done here, and this is the only game where you can upper cut and knock a giant robot’s head clean off it’s shoulders. That kind of thing makes me happy.

The storyline in this game is really not THAT amazing, but I liked it. It was enough to hold the game together, and cheesy enough that it appealed to me. Some people may disagree with me, and that is fine. I don’t blame you. It’s nothing special, but it was effective in my opinion.

As you make your way through each chapter in the game (of which there are 5 in total), you gain points and scores for each mission within those acts. These scores are kept for online rankings. If you’re competitive and enjoy playing the game, then this will give you some replay options.

What could be better? Balance, Game Length, Dialogue

The game was sometimes a complete bitch to me. I’d rock my way through an area easily, and then all the sudden I would die a whole bunch of times. It might just be me shaking some rust off, but it was sometimes a bit unbalanced and it would annoy me. Sure enough I would turn the game off for a little bit and return later to complete the area in one try, but whatever.

The game only took me around 6.5 hours to finish, which isn’t long, but with the online ranking system and scoreboards in place, I’d say there’s enough replay value to warrant this as a minor gripe.

Finally, the dialogue is sometimes so horrible I felt embarrassed to play the game. It’s so bad that it’s good. I recall at the start of the game hearing a character say “Come on you apes, you want to live forever!” and I just about vomited. Come on! The only thing that pulled that line off successfully was the first Starship Troopers movie. Pure cheese. Some people may completely hate it, but it’s a minor thing to me…for the most part.

Overall

The game was a lot of fun, for the most part. Some minor frustration in some spots with balance issues and the short game length hinder the game slightly, but it was definitely worth the purchase. I’d recommend a definite rental. The game is only around $40 now, and you might find it used for a little less. Give it a shot if you like destroying robots and running around in hi-tech armour.

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