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November 8, 2010
Vanquish - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
21/10/2010SegaSegaPlatinum Games1None
Media HDD Space Resolution Move Controls Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Visuals in Vanquish are fantastic.
From publishers Sega, developers Platinum Games and Shinji Mikami (who worked on Resident Evil, Devil May Cry, Killer 7 and Dino Crisis no less!) comes this all-new third person action game, Vanquish. After the success of Platinum Games' previous title Bayonetta there was a lot of excitement and anticipation for this title prior to release. We're happy to report that this game is a blast...

Vanquish takes place on a vast space station in a near future world where nations war over the planet's remaining energy resources. Against this backdrop, players take the role of Sam Gideon, a government agent kitted out with a futuristic battle suit. A versatile fighter with a huge arsenal of weaponry at his disposal, Sam also has a melee attack to take down the numerous Russian extremists.

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This collapsing bridge sequence is stunning.
Vanquish is a third person action game which sees you battling a range of enemies in order to save the space station from the Russians. Sam has plenty of weapons available including Assault Rifle, Heavy Machine Gun, Shotgun, Sniper Rifle, Disc Launcher, Rocket Launcher, Lock-On Laser, LFE (Low-Frequency Energy Gun) as well as Frag Grenades and EM Emitter Grenades and is able to carry three main weapons at any one time. As you progress through the levels you will find Green Upgrade Chips which allow you to, well, upgrade your weapons with more firepower or ammunition.

Split across five main Acts Vanquish succeeds simply due to the "cool" factor. By tapping a button Sam will drop to his knees and rocket around the world. This makes avoiding enemies and getting from one section of cover to another a breeze. When you get injured, or if you choose to manually, Sam can enter a slow-mo mode (think bullet-time) to avoid enemy bullets, and also precisely aim at them giving you a chance to take out some hard targets, or avoid death. The cover system too is fairly impressive with a press of the square button getting Sam to take cover against walls or objects.

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Vanquish is Platinum Games' latest shooter.
Finally we can't talk about the gameplay without mentioning the boss encounters. Now these are epic with the bosses not only massive in size, but also having a pretty decent range of attacks. Many of these bosses have one-hit kills however there is typically some visual and audio cue prior to these attacks giving you time to get Sam out of the way or behind cover in time. No doubt you'll die quite a bit in this game, but it rarely feels like the game is "cheating" to kill you. Each level is ranked according to deaths, time, friends killed, enemies killed, bullets fired and so on.

Much has been made of Vanquish's length online with one reviewer claiming a completion time of under four hours on your first run through - that's bullshit. It took us quite a bit longer than that to complete this game at around, if not more then, 6 hours. Still not quite long enough in our books, but not the short game some would have you believe.

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Ohhh, America's first female president?
As you complete the campaign Challenges are unlocked which see you trying to survive a swarm of enemies and clock the fastest time. Upon completing the game a "God Hard" difficulty level is unlocked and yes, it is bloody hard! For hardcore gamers that difficulty level will have you returning time and time again.

There really are few issues with the gameplay in this title - it really is a tight, action packed shooter. While the developers originally designed an open-world game, and then scaled it back to be more linear to become more focused however we felt that, at times, the game was indeed a little too linear. I would have also liked a little more variety in how to kill enemies - it seems most have a nice red "dot" to target - especially the bosses. Finally we have to comment on the lack of multi-player. Surely the developers could have created some maps to battle online - even if it was only limited it could have added some value to the package which is a little lean as a single player only experience.

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Sam can mount that gun to the right there.
Visually we were pretty much blown away by this title on both an artistic as well as technical level. PS3 owners that were slightly let down by the visuals in Bayonetta will be pleased to know that the PS3 was the lead platform for Vanquish. Artistically this game is certainly impressive as while the game is set in a rather metallic, industrial world with only a few short battles in a forest, the locations all look like they could belong within a large space station. Also impressive is the fact that there can be dozens of enemies on-screen, or enemies that well and truly fill the screen - particularly some of the bosses, as well as bullets and explosions and there is never a moment when slowdown or even frame rate issues are apparent or detrimental to gameplay.

One aspect of this game which simply can't be overlooked is the stunning cut-scenes littered throughout the game. There would have to be over an hour of these cut-scenes and they really do look sensational and it's a credit to Sega and Platinum Games that this typically very expensive inclusion is littered throughout this game which would never reach the sales of big-budget games like Final Fantasy or Resident Evil.

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Shooting at enemies from behind cover.
Sonically the game is up to scratch too with plenty of directional effects assisting in locating enemies. Weapon effects and explosions are pretty fantastic however it's the music that really keeps this game moving with a heart pumping soundtrack that rarely lets up. Speech too is of a pretty high quality although there are some moments that appear a little awkward although Gideon Emery is impressive as Sam. We also found it interesting that at the start of the game the "F-bomb" is dropped a few times, but it doesn't continue beyond the first mission or two - perhaps the shock value is only needed at the start of the game. In any case Vanquish is a fantastic sounding game.

It's sad to think that this fantastic game is likely to be overlooked by many and lost within the Christmas crush. Despite a relative short length and lack of multiplayer this among the most entertaining third person action games on the market. Vanquish is well worth checking out if you're after some pretty intense battles. Very entertaining.

Review By: Dave Warner

GRAPHICSVanquish really is a brilliant looking title with some gorgeous artistic design evident.
SOUNDVoice acting is pretty good but its the music and effects which astound.
GAMEPLAYIt's a third person shooter, and a bloody good one at that.
VALUEAbout 6-7 hours to complete the game but you'll go back for Challenges and to beat times. Still, multiplayer and a longer game would have been welcome.
OVERALLVanquish is one of those games you will "enjoy" while playing despite the difficulty. It looks and sounds the part and is a blast from start to finish. We highly recommend this game to action fans.

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