Hidden Gems: Vanquish

Vanquish is a third person shooter by famous game designer Shinji Mikami, released in 2010. The game was a moderate succes selling over 900.000 copies, and was well received by critics. However, due to the fact that it was a new franchise and released in one of the busiest periods of the year, it was kind of overlooked. Recently it has been released for PC as well.

So what kind of game is Vanquish exactly? To put it simply, it’s a third person shooter done the Platinum way. That means: with the action cranked up up to eleven and addictive action gameplay. It’s got all the standard shooter mechanics – a cover system, different weapon types and hordes of enemies to take down. But it also has a mechanic that adds another dimension to the gameplay in the form of a futuristic Augmented Reaction Suit. This suit allows the player to slow down time and overwhelm enemies with speed and agility. It is also equipped with boosters that let you slide around the environment at breakneck speeds.

One thing to note is that this game really begins to shine at higher difficulty levels. At that point the extra abilities are no longer just fun gimmicks; they actually become essential for getting trough the battles. Soon you’ll have to make your move-set second nature, and you’ll be sliding away from enemies while lobbing a grenade in their direction, vaulting over cover while slowing down time, in the mean time landing a few shots, and safely landing behind cover before the enemy forces you to keep moving again. It results in fantastic battles that are as satisfying as they are spectacular.

Vanquish is quite a short game, but because of the awesome gameplay it does have good replayability. It’s by no means perfect, as usual with Platinum Games the story and characters are a bit out there, and while an over the top b-movie presentation does fit the overall game, it’s hard to get attached to the characters or the events taking place. However, the tight controls and addictive shootouts make this a recommend game for all action fans.