If Vanquish were a movie rather than a video game, the most suitable comparison might be Crank. Like that Jason Statham car, Vanquish moves around at a breakneck pace, briefly stopping at times to give a blink-and-you’ll-miss them scenes that push on the bleakest possible frame of a plot. While a few of the action is thrilling, the game’s generic characters and one-note gameplay keep it from accomplishing the high criteria set by Shinji Mikami’s other works.
After a short tutorial, you are suddenly thrust into a futuristic U.S. vs. Soviet Union struggle. Long story short: You get a crazy battle armor, the Russians have ground forces of robots that prefer to eliminate you, and a demented dude wishes to blow up New York City. Cutscenes are short and won’t do a fantastic job of pushing the story forward, but there are tell-tale signs that the story was not the first order of business for Platinum.
Sam Gideon, a tough-as-nails chain-smoker impersonating Solid Snake, is the character you will be playing. Remote of that, you don’t know much about your protagonist. What he lacks in personality he catches up with his Augmented Reaction Suit, which is just a way of saying “awe-inspiring body armor that allows you rocket-slide into robots.”
Most of the fun Vanquish provides is associated to this suit’s powers, whether you’re rocketing from cover to cover or doing a missile dropkick on a robotic
commie. When a dozen foes are going down a staircase towards you, it does feel like a badass when you rocket-slide away from them in bullet time while throwing a grenade over your shoulder. The game is at its finest when you’re utilizing these powers during one of the numerous giant set piece moments.
However exciting the action is, the game is a one-trick pony. Boss fights begin recycling early, the weapons aren’t specially impressive, and you won’t care about the story for a second. Outside of a “snipe the spotlights” segment and a laughably brief zero-gravity area, most combats are of the “stand here and survive till the elevator is ready” kind. The game is likewise very short. Do not be surprised if you end your first playth-rough in four hours or less.
If Vanquish had been fleshed out with finer characters, more diversity, and a more significant campaign, it might have been great. As is, the amazing suit adds up to little more than a fun toy in a forgettable world.