How Vanquish changes the cover-shooter forever

Vanquish isn’t like Gears of War. It isn’t like Halo either. You need to know both of those things right now, and you need to remember them. Because whatever the surface impressions might suggest, Vanquish is something you have not played before.

It’s harder, faster, slicker, and more gloriously, mind-punishingly insane than either of the above comparisons can ever hope to convey, and the time has come to start getting excited very about it. I know this because I’ve recently played it. And now I’m going to tell you all about it.

It’s a ballet with bullets

There’s cover to shelter behind. There are enemies to shoot. But Vanquish is not a cover-shooter as you know it. Cover-shooters let you pace yourself. Force you to, even. They do not drop you into the middle of a multi-directional bullet-hell of rockets and lasers big enough and furious enough to make Ikaruga proud, and then let you tear it all apart from the inside.

Above: Moving so fast you'll be there before you left

They do not let you charge through waves upon waves of enemies in order to take down the big guy at the back, before allowing you to make it back to safety unpunished (if you’re fast and agile enough). They do not let you tear around football-pitch-sized battle arenas at Mach 27, leaping, vaulting and high-kicking like an Olympic figure skater. They do not allow you to make mid-air chain combos out of drop-kicks and shotgun blasts. Vanquish is no clone of Gears. It’s the cover-shooting cousin of R-Type and Bayonetta, and it changes everything.

But it’s about more than shooting

It’s that power suit that does it. Far more than Platinum Games’ aesthetic attempt to appeal to the western market (though it’s that as well), the pristine cyber armour worn by government boffin hero Sam Gideon evolves the cover-shooter into a brand-new beast. Affording insane speed boosts, gravity-defying acrobatics and a reaction-time booster that creates an impression of slowing events to a chronological crawl, it’s a genuine game-changer.

Above: You don't climb over cover, you hurtle over it, raining down death

Tap a trigger button and Sam drops to his knees, firing rockets from his feet and zipping forward like a kid full of cake on a wedding reception dance floor. A couple of seconds later and he’s a couple of hundred metres away, and you’re wondering what the hell just happened. Tap another button and time will fall away, allowing clean aiming at a more sedate pace as the world seems to move in slow mo. Given the tornado of neon gunfire swirling around you, you’ll need the help.

Above: One of those tornadoes. Kansas. We are not in it

Use a melee attack and the effect will change depending on what Sam is doing. Standing up close he’ll unleash a sustained flurry of body-shattering machine gun punches like E. Honda taking lessons from a pneumatic road drill. Vault a piece of cover and it’s a gracefully arcing smash to the face for anyone hiding behind it. Boost first, and you’re looking at a back-flip and kick which can either stun or launch enemies for a brutal bullet-based juggle.

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  • YuGiOhisbetterthanMagic - September 1, 2010 4:38 p.m.

    this looks so crazy intense , it will probably be the first game in a long time to live up to the Seizure warning plastered to every game ever
  • philipshaw - July 9, 2010 10:04 a.m.

    I was already excited for this when I read about it in PSM3 a couple of months ago but seeing this reconfirmed why I will buying this day 1
  • HotCyder - July 9, 2010 1:34 a.m.

    I hope platinum games continue to keep making games after their Sega Contract that appeal to the world's smallest niche: Me
  • Cyberninja - July 9, 2010 1:18 a.m.

    i was saving up for a 3ds then you so me this awesome game thanks radar my wallet really appriates it.
  • Valntyne - July 8, 2010 9:53 p.m.

    Holy Hell, this game sounds Farking EPIC! (See what I did thar?)...
  • Gameguy94 - July 8, 2010 6:45 p.m.

    I have trouble wrapping my mind around how this game will play. I've played Gears of War and Uncharted and I just can't imagine a third person shooter with that fast of a pace!
  • Pirate - July 8, 2010 6:08 p.m.

    David Houghton why do you so wish to make me a poor man by showing the awesomeness of these games. You will bankrupt me!!! :P
  • 510BrotherPanda - July 8, 2010 4:03 p.m.

    If bullets are coming in every direction in a 3 dimensional environment, how do you NOT get hit? It's understandable in bullet hell games because it's 2d and you dodge up down left right, but are the controls good enough to instantly let you move 360 degrees x 360 degrees? Looks like something people should play in shorter sessions so their eyes don't bleed from all the fast movement.
  • rxb - July 8, 2010 3:30 p.m.

    Was kinda pissed off that we were getting this and not bayonetta 2 at first but im stating change my mind now. Also the release date is my birthday.
  • JohnnyMaverik - July 8, 2010 2:50 p.m.

    I don't get how so many journos were caught unawares by Singularity, since christmas there have been two trailers, a couple of gameplay vids including multiplayer, a date announced a while back that didn't get dramatically shifted, and multiple previews from all the major outlets as well as most of the smaller ones. I think RDR just gave you all a concussion...
  • db1331 - July 8, 2010 2:45 p.m.

    Ahh, when I look at the Singularity article like that, it actually makes perfect sense. Keep up the GUD WERK Dave.
  • werdwood93 - July 8, 2010 2:44 p.m.

    just watched the trailer and asked myself the question : "is the arm his wife?".
  • GR_DavidHoughton - July 8, 2010 2:37 p.m.

    BTW, Vanquish UK release date just confirmed as October the 22nd, one day after Japan. Told you I'd keep you posted.
  • GR_DavidHoughton - July 8, 2010 2:35 p.m.

    db1331: An 8 is a very good score, and a definite recommendation. We didn't get time to do a big in-house review of Singularity because of the way it totally caught us unaware, for the reasons I mentioned in my feature. That article was basically my way of making up for the lack of review in time for release, and contained most of what you need to know about the game. It might be shamelessly derivative and a bit inconsistent in its visuals from time to time, but Singularity really is an absolute corker. Hope that clears things up, and thanks for my top ranking amongst the GR staff. My head shall now proceed to swell.
  • BodyDamage - July 8, 2010 2:28 p.m.

    boy....this might just be the complete epitome of chaos and shit chucking lunacy that I've always wanted and never gotten. very excited.
  • Fusionmix - July 8, 2010 2:23 p.m.

    This is the first time I've ever been excited for a third-person shooter.
  • JohnnyMaverik - July 8, 2010 2:18 p.m.

    Looks really cool, but I still demand a decent story.
  • quincytheodore - July 8, 2010 2:07 p.m.

    I meant "can't say it better".. can I get edit button plz. I'm prone to typos.
  • db1331 - July 8, 2010 2:06 p.m.

    Dave, is this going to be like Singularity, where you make an article about how awesome it is and how we need to all be aware of its existence, and then GR gives it a comically short review and an 8/10? You are my favorite staffer at GR, but it seems in the past week or two you have been absolutely gushing over some average looking, non-innovative titles (this and Kane and Lynch 2). You remind me of my friend when he was on some really strong muscle relaxers, and EVERYTHING was AWESOME.
  • Clovin64 - July 8, 2010 2:06 p.m.

    I WANT THIS SO BAD. I'm totally buying this on release day, whenever that is. "Bayonetta with Bullets" sounds like a nice summery, but it sounds even more frantic and exciting. I just hope theres no Bayonetta PS3 style loading times whenever you want to pause it. I was a little worried about the enviroments looking to dull and samey, but I'll trust your opinion Mr Houghton.