It’s that time of year again. E3 is coming and the hype train is beginning to hiss. In preparation for this year’s maelstrom of new video game delights, which starts on June the 15th, we’re running a twice-weekly series of features highlighting the big hitters you’ll want to keep an eye on at the show.
Some you’ll know, some you won’t, but all will require your complete and undivided attention. So tune in to GamesRadar every Wednesday and Saturday, and have that attention primed and ready.
Today, we’re looking at Platinum Games’ barnstorming new action game, Vanquish.
Why Vanquish is one to watch:
- It’s directed by one Shinji Mikami. An ex-Capcom man, he was the chap in charge of Resident Evil 4. And on the off-chance that you need any greater recommendation than that particular CV highlight, he was also a honcho on Godhand, Killer7, Viewtiful Joe, the entire Resident Evil series pre-4, the Dino Crisis series, and under-rated Brett-favourite P.N. 03.
Even more excitingly, this is his first game since going independent at Japanese dream-team Platinum Games. It’s no secret that the same career step worked wonders for Devil May Cry creator Hideki Kamiya, spawning no less that the incandescent Bayonetta, so we’re very, very excited.
- In terms of gameplay elements, it’s Gears of War meets Bayonetta meets Godhand meets bullet-hell shooters like Ikaruga. How the hell is a combination like that going to work? Spectacularly, from what we’ve seen so far. As a power-armoured super soldier fighting off an invasion of enemy robots on a space station, you’ll decimate the baddoes with a combination of firepower and sheer, brute force face-smashery, flipping and diving between cover with the elegance and ferocity of a chaingun-weilding ballerina, delivering bullets and ludicrously super-powered melee crunches in equal measure.
- It’s insanely fast. Like, seriously, stupidly, giddyingly fast. Don’t let your character’s clunky, space-suited appearance fool you. A lumbering Master Chief he ain’t. He’ll boost through throngs of enemy ‘bots at eye-watering speed. He’ll somersault over cover and enemy alike with the grace and velocity of an Olympic gymnast. When the bullets start to rain down – and they will, in terrifying numbers – he’ll zig-zag between them like a wasp flying between raindrops.
- There’s a stack of gameplay depth, despite the carnage on show. For all of its spectacular brutality, Vanquish looks to have a seriously nuanced control system, opening up the game to all kinds of showboatingly creative comboing.
Examples? You can boost towards a group of enemies, toss in an EMP grenade just before you hit, and then punch their stricken bodies skyward with one massive punch. You can drop-kick a robo-git into a stunned stupor, then pull out a gun as you rebound from his hapless face and plug him right in the kisser as you gracefully arc backward. And while there’s no health bar per se, the suit’s recharging energy supply covers both melee attacks and defence, forcing a tight tactical interplay between aggression and evasion.
- If you were one of those who found Bayonetta’s bonkers delights to be located just a little too far into the realm of Japanese weirdness, fear not. Vanquish is a definite attempt by Mikami to blend the best of east and west. It’s a Japanese spin on the current western flavour of the month, bringing all the flair of the rising sun to the now-traditional sci-fi-tinged cover shooting so many are comfortable with over on this side of the globe. It promises to be a heady, heady brew indeed.
So what do you think? Are you already hot for Vanquish? Is it on your E3 2010 must-see list? Or is something else in your sights? Let us know in the comments, or through our portals on Facebook and Twitter.