Vanquish PC ReviewPrice:
Seven years after its initial release, the power-sliding, robot-smashing, chain-smoking action-game Vanquish has finally received a PC port. I’ve never played Shinji Mikami’s answer to Western cover-shooters before, not least because it received a bit of a panning from critics when it first skidded on its knees into shops. In the years since, however, the game’s reputation has slowly grown to the point where nowadays some people talk about it like it’s the best game ever made.
With the long-overdue and yet entirely unexpected arrival of a PC version, now seemed like an opportune moment to investigate Platinum Games’ most controversial title. And I’m glad that I did. Although Vanquish is certainly not the greatest game ever made, there are times when it feels like it might be. What’s more, Sega has done a superb job transitioning it to PC, to the point where it feels like Vanquish was designed specifically with the platform in
Vanquish places you in the gleaming white rocket-boots of Sam Gideon, a DARPA agent who joins a team of Marines to assault a giant space station orbiting Earth. The station is a solar energy plant that has been occupied by a rogue faction of Russians, who used it to wipe San Francisco off the map and are demanding the complete surrender of the United States. As stories go it has not aged particularly well given recent political events. It’s also complete rubbish, an issue I’ll go into later.
On the surface Vanquish resembles the many cover-shooters released in the wake of Gears of War. But in truth it’s an anti-cover-shooter. Gideon is equipped with an 'Augmented Reality Suit', plated power armour, which although light on actual protection makes up for it through sheer awesomeness. The ARS includes a set of rocket-boosters which enable Gideon to perform a lightning quick roll, and more importantly power-slide around the environment like a weaponised hockey-puck. While power-sliding, Gideon can perform devastating melee attacks and also slip into a form of bullet-time, enabling him pull off shots with extreme precision.
Through this system, Vanquish encourages players to leap out from behind its waist-high walls, and slide right into the thick of the action. Yet although Gideon is capable of some incredible acrobatics, he’s far from invulnerable. Gideon’s rocket-slides eat up his suit’s energy quicker than a three-year-old iPhone, draining it even faster if he activates bullet-time as well. Once empty, the suit’s power-supply takes a while to recharge, leaving Gideon vulnerable to attack. In other words you’re a glass cannon, able to dish out stupendous amounts of damage but easily broken if exposed to enemy fire.