Vanquish

Dominic Sacco

Vanquish

VANQUISH takes the third person shooter formula, adds a dash of speed and its own melee system to create a unique action extravaganza. The result is a package that promises to be a far cry from a traditional shooter.

Lead character Sam has a mechanical battle suit, but it’s not as clunky or large as the standard mech stereotype. It’s human-sized, quick and full of firepower – like a cross between Robocop and a ninja.

Vanquish is a third person shooter that promises to be faster and more fluid than its rivals, with a unique and intuitive combat system. The sci-fi action game provides players with both a huge arsenal of weaponry and an array of martial arts skills for them to take down an army of robots.

It’s the latest offering from Platinum Games which brought the industry the critically acclaimed Bayonetta earlier this year (see ‘Platinum offerings’).

Veteran game director Shinji Mikami is the brains behind Vanquish, who is best known for creating the immensely popular Resident Evil series. He has also worked on Devil May Cry, Viewtiful Joe, Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney and more, adding a touch of magic to the new IP.

“Vanquish may be a new IP, but there’s definitely a fanbase for the game,” says Sega’s senior product manager Ben Walker.

"It’s from the studio that developed Bayonetta and from the mind that created Resident Evil. I believe this gives gamers a lot of confidence as Mikami-san is renowned for his innovation and there’s a genuine interest in playing his latest creation.

"Couple this with a dev team that has created some truly iconic brands and consistently delivered high Metacritic-scoring games, and we’re confident that Vanquish is well positioned for its imminent release."

RUNNING AND GUNNING

Vanquish is set in the near future where Russia and the US are fighting over the world’s limited energy resources. The US builds a space station to draw energy from the sun, before it is captured by Russia and used to destroy San Francisco. America tasks its armed forces with recapturing the station before Russia blows up its next target – New York.

That’s where Sam comes in. His Augmented Reaction Suit has a jet boost function that allows the player to speed across vast distances on the battlefield to either take on enemies or avoid them.

Sega says this ability transforms traditional third person combat – which normally restricts player movement until a particular wave of enemies is cleared – with a 360-degree approach where strategy is key. The result is like Gears of War being played at twice the speed.

Another key feature is the slow motion ‘heightened awareness’ technique which, when used with the jet boost, offers some true showboating potential for gamers.

This is on top of Vanquish’s melee system, where each weapon features its own unique close range mode in order to smash enemies into oblivion. This gives players the choice of shooting from range or fighting up close. Players have already been teased by this gameplay with a downloadable demo.

Walker adds: “While the main aim is to clear the level, these abilities really promote replay value by encouraging gamers to try and achieve the same result in as much style as possible.

“Vanquish’s roots lie very much within the third person run and gun arena but it delivers an intensity and speed to gameplay not previously seen within the genre.”

Although a new IP, Vanquish has already been well-received by the gaming press with a series of positive previews running across key websites and in specialist publications.

BLOWING AWAY THE OPPOSITION

Sega says Vanquish is more than capable of establishing itself as a successful IP even in the competitive Q4 market.

"The challenge any new games IP faces is being able to generate sufficient interest in a previously untried product,” says Walker.

"It needs to be different enough from the competition to stand out yet still maintain familiar genre conventions. Vanquish is well placed here and is being universally touted by press as a step forward for the genre, while still being compared to benchmark third person shooters."

PLATINUM OFFERINGS

Platinum Games was set up in 2006 and one year later merged with Seeds – a developer established by key members from Capcom’s subsidiary firm Clover Studio. In 2008 a four-title publishing deal was struck with Sega. MCV takes a look at Platinum Games’ releases so far.

Bayonetta
Platforms:
360, PS3
Metacritic review score: 90

Third person action beat ‘em up introduced gamers to a whole new femme fatale with witch Bayonetta.

MadWorld
Platform:
Wii
Metacritic review score: 81

Wii action title features a unique black and white styling, gritty humour and bloody violence.

Infinite Space
Platform:
DS
Metacritic review score: 75

RPG that allows players to assemble a spaceship armada and embark on an epic adventure across the galaxy.

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