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E3 2010: Vanquish - hands-on

Sam Gideon is no soldier. So, when the US and Russia head to robotic war on a futuristic space colony, he’s not exactly the most likely candidate to win the day. He did, however, design a badass supersuit that give him abilities that edge upon the Godlike, and that’s why soldiers are willing to follow him into the Vanquish’s remarkable robot apocalypse.

Good God, Platinum Games is back with another wildly over-the-top showcase unlike anything you’ve seen before. Assuming you played Bayonetta, we shouldn’t have to tell you that the visionary developers revel in everything that make gaming culture great. They’re all about throwing nods to the heavyweights that came before, so it’s no insult to say Vanquish takes loving inspiration from the worlds of Gundam and Gears of War.

Of course, it takes it one step further, using their trademarked style of mixing the impressive with the outlandish. Hell, you won’t even be technically holding “A gun,” you’ll be holding every gun. Instead of picking up weapons, they’re scanned into a Borg-like instrument of pure doom that can assimilate itself into anything piece of third-person arsenal you can imagine. And Sam’s suit isn’t just a visual concoction of Master Chief and something you’d summon in a Final Fantasy battle either…

The best feature the suit has going is the ridiculous Boost ability. You’re looking at practically the same cover system forged by Gears of War, only now imagine powersliding between obstacles at freight train speeds. It may not sound like much, but it makes Vanquish a complete game changer. You’re electric dash, which looks either like the classic Mega Man slide or a double-kneed rock slide, drastically changes the pacing of the genre. You’re free to fire upon enemies the entire time you’re carving sparks into the floor at breakneck speeds, and Platinum proudly boasts that one of its primary goals was to change the tempo of the third-person shooter.

A pulse-pounding soundtrack, not unlike the ones you’ll find in modern day schmups, certainly doesn’t hurt. But then Vanquish throws the time-slowing AR system into the mix and the pacing really gets thrown for a loop. Hold the Left Trigger while boosting, leaping over cover, or evading obstacles and you’re given everything you need to shoot missiles out of the sky with a shotgun… which you’ll do plenty.

Platinum’s taken a Western genre and kicked up seventy-three or so notches to make for a blistering Japanese experience. It’s everything we love about the games they’ve produced with Sega, and hell, even the melee attacks throw combo salutes to God Hand. And with a point system that tallies your destructive progress after the battle, we can’t wait to drag another player into Vanquish with us.

Jun 17, 2010