I kinda had my socks blown off last night playing the demo. I enjoyed the game so thoroughly that I played the thing TWICE.
Three words. Vanquish is AMAZING. I don’t think words can fully express how incredible the demo was, let alone how much fun the game is to play, but I’m going to try anyways.
This game is about speed. Lots of it. Yet, like the cover-based shooters before it, such as Gears of War or Uncharted, Vanquish emphasizes cover. Rushing in like the Master Chief will probably end with you being a nice crater in the floor as your suit explodes. Where does speed come in? Everywhere.
Unlike previous cover based shooters that have you move in a very linear direction, or even cover-based shooters than have you battle over large areas and long distances, Vanquish operates on a different mantra. Traditionally in cover-based shooters, engagements tended to be long and drawn out affairs, something that many find boring. You hole up and hunker in your defenses and keep exchanging fire with your enemies until one side prevails. Usually the side that prevails is the one that doesn’t stick their head out stupidly, or as in trench warfare, the side to successfully rush over and break the defense line of the other trench. Otherwise, you’re locked in perpetual stalemate.
Gears and Uncharted generally offer this sort of back and forth shooting gameplay, with the occasional mix up offered thanks to incredibly well made setpieces of gameplay. Vanquish may yet have those setpieces which will be amazing, but the game doesn’t need them to show you what it’s made of. At any given time in the game, you’ve got combat options. Lots of them.
I would say that Platinum Games has done an amazing job of balancing that awe-inspiring force that is the Master Chief while maintaining the ‘Take Cover or Die’ mantra of Gears. At any given time in the game, you are a force to be reckoned with. Your armor has a rapid dodge which will allow you to dodge virtually any attack launched at you, be it regular gunfire, or thousands of missiles, or even laser beams. In addition to that, the game has an even faster Boost mechanic that will propel you in the direction of your choice. Did I mention that you can SHOOT while boosting? In addition, by entering the aim mode off a dodge or jumping over cover, you engage a bullet time ability to rapidly gun down enemies?
Vanquish gives a player plenty of tools for dealing with what would be in Gears of War or Uncharted an impossible battle, and making long battles short, sweet, and enjoyable. In addition, the game features powerful melee attacks, which can also be performed off a boost. These melee attacks are wildy powerful as they will take out large mecha in one shot, or even send massive enemies flying. Not without a price though. These melee attacks totally deplete your boost gauge, making dodging slow and removing bullet time abilities, leaving a player to judge whether the burst of damage is worth the sacrifice in mobility.
Vanquish also features a unique weapons upgrading system, where by picking up a weapon you already have full ammunition for, your weapon is able to level up and gain improved properties like larger magazine or faster reload.
While still being a cover-based shooter, speed is of the essence. Most cover in the game is destroyable or just mediocre cover, so no player will be allowed to turtle up in one location all battle. Players will be forced to constantly stay moving between cover locations to avoid being overwhelmed by enemies. In a sense, you’ll take cover, reload your gun, jump over cover, use bullet time to fire off a few shots, boost to new cover and keep wailing on your enemies, constantly relocating based on the enemy positions for the best attack options.
Unlike any third-person shooter before it, Vanquish will likely keep you on your toes all game. Look forward to it October 19, 2010 in North America!