How Vanquish changes the cover-shooter forever

It’s about total freedom

By now you should be considering the various levels of cool that can be unleashed by combining all three of the suit’s main powers in freeform, improvised combat. And the reality won’t disappoint. All of Sam’s abilities are responsive and slick, meaning that in no time you’ll be hurtling through and around huge arenas, radically changing your direction and angle of attack on the fly. There's no gradual, linear crawl through funneled cover here. You can zig-zag through 360-degree carnage like a jigsaw blade.

Above: Taking cover and shooting is just one option in Vanquish

You’ll switch between weapons and tactics on a second-by-second basis, sniping from cover one moment, then shotgunning through a previously-distant mob a quick boost-dash later. Then you’ll lob an EMP at a nearby mech, drop-kick its face off in slo-mo, and immediately boost away to a spare cover location you just spotted whilst in flipping through mid-air. You'll vault, pummel and blast in every direction as you tear along the ground towards it, and along the way you’ll notice that another mech has fired a missile, so you’ll catch that missile and throw it back without breaking your flow for a moment.

Above: Punch. Crump. Head. Exploding.

Vanquish makes you more mobile and more versatile than any cover-shooter has ever dreamed to before. It feels as much like a third-person fighting game as a shooter, and as much like a racing game as a third-person fighter. It’s tough to get a handle on things at first. Between the ferocity of what’s going on around you, the speed and responsiveness of Sam’s handling, his sheer number of options, and the all-out sensory overload, it’s even a little intimidating.

But take a deep breath, take your time learning how things combo together, and above all, throw away all preconceptions of what you’re capable of in a cover-shooter. And before long you’ll be having an absolute riot. The only limitations on how you can win a battle in Vanquish are the ones you assume exist.

It’s stupidly beautiful

Above: Wait 'til you see that train moving. Your eyes will burst with joy

You know this already, but I need to reiterate it. Vanquish is a sparkling eyeball feast. It might feature a lot of cold, hard metal within its space station environments, but never once during my play time did they feel sterile or dull. There’s enough flair in the visual direction and more than enough gleaming beauty in its execution to keep your peepers engrossed despite the lack of fleshy organic matter on show. Sam might be fighting robots, but the attention paid to the way they move, spark and explode when shot makes taking them down as visceral an experience as setting off a cluster bomb in a blood bank.

Above: The odds look stacked. They probably are. But not in his favour

Not that it will be metallic environments all the way. Vanquish’s setting is an impossibly vast Halo-style ring, and is home to countless millions. Scanning its inverted horizon I saw industrial areas mingled with cities mingled with huge swathes of grassy parkland. I’m told that we’ll get to explore a wide spread of environments as we shoot our way through the installation, and having had a brief taste of the station’s overall ambience while tearing through it on a dizzyingly fast train ride (while being mercilessly attacked, naturally), I’d say that the visual mix of gleaming pristine technology and lush verdancy is a unique and atmospheric winner.

The west has been evolving the third-person shooter for a whole generation now, but with Vanquish it feels like Japan could be bringing us the first real revolution in a long time. And that makes sense. The last time it did that, the game was Resident Evil 4, and was headed up by Capcom's Shinji Mikami. Vanquish is headed up by a very similar looking man of the same name at Platinum Games. So trust me. You really need to be watching this one...


  • 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.

Showing 1-20 of 32 comments

Join the Discussion
Add a comment (HTML tags are not allowed.)
Characters remaining: 5000