Vanquish – Revisiting A Hidden Gem

Vanquish, PlatinumGames stylish, fast-paced third-person shooter, was initially released in 2010 for the PS3 and Xbox 360. It was met with strong critical reviews and is an early example of the developers innovative game design. Recently, PlatinumGames decided to re-release both Vanquish and Bayonetta for the PS4 and Xbox One and it is a must-buy for fans of the action genre.

Being in a constant state of motion is the only way to truly experience Vanquish.  As protagonist Sam Gideon, you are in direct control of the Augmented Reaction Suit or ARS, which will allow you to zip around the battlefield at breakneck speeds. The ARS will also allow you to activate a bullet time mode once certain conditions are met. These can include incurring a certain amount of damage, whenever you aim after dodging, and whenever you aim while boosting.

While it would be awesome if you could just boost around to your hearts content, Vanquish requires the player to manage their stamina as boosting or activating the bullet time mode will drain stamina rather quickly. Once your stamina has been completely depleted, a cooldown takes effect and you are unable to use your abilities for a short period of time. These just happen to be the times when you are the most vulnerable and this is also when you should find cover as quickly as possible.

Utilizing cover is a good way to take in your surroundings and formulate strategies on how to flank enemies. The AI isn’t very intelligent, but they are incredibly aggressive. They do not mind getting up close and personal which is when they are at their most dangerous. Boss fights can be particularly stressful as you have to be cognizant of the other enemies on the field. It doesnt help that every boss has multiple forms and a formidable arsenal that can inflict some serious damage. Staying in one place is the quickest way to get a game over.

Luckily, Sam is well equipped to handle the waves and waves of enemies the game will throw at you. It is recommended that as you progress, you get a feel for every weapon that the game offers as you will be so much better off as the encounters begin to escalate. While you may get attached to a certain weapon, it may not be the best tool for the current scenario so remember to diversify. It also helps to pay attention to the actions that activate quick time events as these can assist in dispatching enemies quickly.

Now unfortunately, the issues that plagued Vanquish in 2010 still exist today. The plot is fairly generic and the dialogue is poor and incredibly cringy. Seriously, there are times where it sounds like a bad 90’s anime. The game is also really short and the pace is so fast that your first playthrough can be completed in roughly 5 hours. This was my second playthrough and I tore through the game at around 4 hours.

There is little to no replayability, unless you’re a speedrunner, as Vanquish is really linear. That doesn’t mean however the title isn’t worth a plathrough. I love this game, its action is incredible and still holds up well 10 years after its initial release. What’s insane is that the ending leaves the door wide open for a sequel, so maybe PlatinumGames did this with the hope that there sales will be strong enough to justify a sequel, which I’m all for.

If you have not played Vanquish, I highly recommend you do so now, but make sure you pick up the bundle as it comes with Bayonetta, another excellent action game from the highly acclaimed developer. Sadly, buying this game on it’s own is just not recommended as the length and lack of replayability will not justify the cost. All that aside, this is a hidden gem that deserves to be recognized.

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