Release Date: February 18, 2020
Reviewed On: PS4
If there’s any game that I think flies under the radar too often, it’s Vanquish. Since its release in 2010, this title shaped the 3D action genre into what it is today. Now in its 10th Anniversary, a new generation of gamers have the opportunity to experience this fast-paced adventure. Sadly, the same faults that held it back in the past are still present in this release.
Vanquish begins with a war against the United States, and players take on the role of DARPA agent Sam Gideon, who is equipped with a mech suit known as the Augmented Reaction Suit. A group known as the Order of the Russian Star has opened attacks against the world and even kidnapped Dr. Francois Candide, the person who created Sam’s prototype suit.
Vanquish ‘s narrative is full of twists, betrayal, and explosions, what more could you ask for from a high-action game? It tries its hardest to take itself seriously, but it also knows when to throw in a few comical moments. This is the ultimate presentation of the macho attitude, and it plays on those themes exceptionally well.
When it comes to this new console version, players can expect the same amount of detail provided in the PC version. Those who have played that version might not see much difference in performance, but it is still a quality console port. Players get to experience it in 4k resolution with 60fps, and the action is improved because of it.
Gameplay revolves around traveling through enemy-infested areas and clearing them out using an arsenal of weapons. The straight forward nature shouldn’t be taken for granted as there is a lot that happens when getting from point A to point B.
Players can equip weapons found on the battlefield from a seemingly neverending variety of different types. However, a layer of strategy is added since you can only equip three weapons at once. As you run out of ammo, its encourage to look around the map for new equipment or quickly switch to another weapon.
While enemies aren’t the smartest bunch, they do pack a punch. Enemies seem to swarm around you, so it’s crucial to use the AR suit’s various abilities to make it out alive. The cover base nature of the game comes in handy as you can duck behind nearly every structure to safely reload or gain health. However, this game keeps the action high by allowing you to slide around the stage at top speed to try and get behind enemies are flank around them. This also initiates a slowed down perspective to take down large groups of enemies quickly.
Aside from simple grunt encounters. Vanquish features some exciting boss battles that require the player to take out weak points on the powerful foe until they get knocked down. Most of these fights also feature a quick time event where players will need to press a few buttons or mash a button for a bit to complete the scene. I should also mention that bosses have different forms, which extend the battles. However, if you end up dying during the third form, well, then you have to go back to the beginning of the fight, which feels like a cheap pad on its runtime.
While elements of gameplay are meant to keep you entertained for hours, sadly, the story doesn’t really facilitate that. Incidentally, the story is only about 5 hours long, and most of that time is spent running and gunning from area to area.
The repetitive nature of the action requires players to highly invested in switching out weapons and staying alive, something that lower difficulties don’t offer as they simply make it feel broken. Still, this short experience is packed with some excellent moments of game design, which deserves a proper sequel.
Sound design is impressive, and Vanquish’s graphics look excellent even ten years later. Also, a great soundtrack complements each explosion and moment of intense action. Furthermore, the game features excellent audio dialogue, no matter which language option you choose.
Vanquish rewards those who take their time and utilize every tool the AR suit has to offer with some great moments of video game combat. Throw in a wide variety of weapons, and you have everything you need for a fantastic action experience, albeit a short one.
Since so many games had taken ques from Vanquish since its launch ten years ago, I think its time the series gets revived so we can see a proper new generation title. For now, players have the opportunity to play the best version of Vanquish on their console.
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