Vanquish is an interesting one, in many ways its fantastic, in some ways it severely lacking.
The shooting is up there with the best in the 3rd person shooter genre. Its gunplay is fast, slick, well done, addictive and with the addition of the rocket slide, different enough to offer a USP. Basically, it’s Gears of Wars attention deficit disorder little brother.
However the problems don’t lie with the intuitive and fast paced gunplay, its all about the rest of it for me. The game went to the trouble of making great game mechanics and forgot to hang anything else compelling off it.
The characters are either cardboard cut-out archetypes (slightly uptight female commanding officers), or worse, hideously outdated 90s clichés. Not in a knowing GoW type way, more a amateurish, “we don’t care about this so won’t bother” way. The hulking, ridiculously voiced bearded commander would be more at home in a sideways-scroller with text coming out of his mouth for instance.
Plus the developers are under the impression that making the lead character a renegade cigarette smoker is cool, like a fecking Dolph Lundgren film. It’s a game that’s trying desperately to be cool, like your dad putting on a Libertines t-shirt, then rocking up to a house party with a pack of 4 WKD and a quiche.
Add to that rubbish unmemorable villains, incomprehensible plotting / mediocre dialogue and terrible English voice acting (most people sound like they are being played by the same guy who just comedically changes his voice like a ventriloquist) and it just soured the experience for me.
The game is also less than 5 hours long, which just isn’t good enough for a full price game with no MP, sorry. Cant be any excuses for that.
Overall, it felt to me (for the whole 19 minutes it lasted), although I enjoyed it at a visceral level, i never forgot I was playing an arcadey videogame. In the days where we have such brilliantly crafted immersive gaming experiences, it made it stand out for the worse.
I know many of you guys would be happy to have a well done shooter game with crap story and characters, but weirdly I like to be taken on a story ride too and this just didn’t deliver. This is what separates great games from good ones IMO. Although i enjoyed it, 1 year on, I can remember is the 19 minutes of shooting robots in the face.
A solid 7/10 for me.
"It is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring".