Vanquish – impressions

Few games it has to be said, are as immediately entertaining as this.  The relatively short demo offered a great glimpse of this game’s overwhelming joy – blisteringly frenetic action, sci-fi / anime styling and ridiculously large boss battles.  Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami’s much-anticipated shooter follows in the wake of the acclaimed Bayonetta from Platinum games, and is both immediately familiar and fleshing.  The story may be simple cookie-cutter nonsense about a megalomaniacal empire raging war on civilization, and one hero in a prototype armoured suit being called in to assist the local marines, but deep characterisation and a meaningful plot are very much not the point here – more so old-school blasting action made by some of the best game designers around.

Graphically I will say this is a showcase for next-gen consoles, with heaps of detail, a stylish future world, and wonderous lighting and shadow effects and some very cool explosions.  The weaponry on offer is a varied assortment, from your standard machine guns and rocket launchers to the more imaginative LFE gun & disk launcher – there’s surely a weapon here to suit most tastes.  Let’s not forget too that you can pull off the now obligatory slow-motion John Woo style to give yourself a (brief) advantage, and this certainly goes down as one of the most stylish and visually arresting games available.  Thankfully the looks aren’t all the game has to offer, with some stunning set-pieces that should have your jaw hitting the floor several times in one sitting, quality enemy designs and slick production values offering up huge battles and plenty of imagination.  I’m undecided at this stage if the frequent cut scenes are welcome or an annoyance, as they have a habit of turning up just when you’re getting into the gameplay – but that’s a small gripe.  Oh and on Normal difficulty, it doesn’t feel as tough as anyone watching it may think it is – but then again, perhaps that’s another reason why I am enjoying it so much.

As you progress you also unlock ‘challenge’ maps to test your skills, and the game also keeps track of your score and vital statistics meaning re-playing this game once the credits have rolled is a must.  On this basis and the aforementioned Bayonetta, Platinum Games are quickly becoming my favourite game developers.

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