By ERIK ZOTTNICK
If you haven’t played Vanquish yet, you’re really cheating yourself out of an awesome experience. It’s got tons of robots, gunplay, explosions, and, oh yeah, even more explosions. Although it’s slightly conventional in some ways, though not anymore so than other similar games, it’s a riot.
The plot behind the game is simple. Welcome to the future, where Russia has taken over a US space station and used it to destroy San Francisco. It’s up to you and your sweet mechanical, jet-powered suit to stop them and take back the station before they strike again. Funny how video game plots can be so complicated like that.
What’s important, though, is that plenty of things blow up. You’ll be fighting wave after wave of red Russian bots that explode when they die for some reason. In between those waves comes the occasional boss fight with many varied enemies for you to take on.
The game looks absolutely stunning. There’s hardly a flaw to be found. Everything is rendered beautifully from the very ornate suit you wear (you’ll really do have to see it), the scale is just massive, there’s a real sense of a battle raging all around you. There’s many robot behemoths to be fought and twisting, disorienting levels to navigate. If it sounds like too much to deal with, it’s not.
The only real problem I have with the game is that it can, at times, be very unforgiving. Many enemies can kill you with a single hit, but this actually makes avoiding their attacks all the more satisfying. The game doesn’t often pause and keeps you in the center of the action most of the time.
The game has pretty simple, but flashy mechanics. You can use jet boosters to travel around. You don’t fly exactly, but you do jet across the ground. You can slow down time, much like in “Max Payne” or “The Matrix” but in more limited quantities. This ability can serve you very well and give you a great advantage in tight situations. You’ll really need it given the insane speed of the game’s action.
There’s a lot of movement and dodging you have to do, but there’s also a great cover system similar to “Gears of War.” Although you won’t be spending most of the game hiding behind walls, it can be helpful in many situations.
“Vanquish” is one of my favorite titles this year. It’s got everything I love about games: A cool space setting, great design, fast and rewarding action and plenty of explosions (explosions!). If you’re a gamer, any type of gamer, make room for this one; you’ll be pleasantly surprised. It’s a hyper-speed punch to the gut you won’t want to miss.