Third-person shooter Vanquish offers few surprises
- Some of the most interesting level design and most dynamic firefights you'll ever experience, the environments are epic and the boost slide is awesome
- A thin story packed to bursting with cliches, a painful lack of what could have been a spectacular co-op mode
Since the start of its development in 2007, third-person shooter Vanquish has been something of a mystery. Directed by Shinji Mikami (known mainly for the Resident Evil series), the game looks like a Halo or a Gears of War. The good news it that Vanquish isn't just a retread of those hallowed franchises, as it exhibits some unique traits of its own; the bad news is that it exhibits some poor design choices whose faults are too obvious to ignore.
Price$ 99.95 (AUD)
While Vanquish attempts to refresh the well-worn shooter genre, its story is all too familiar and not particularly creative. Mikami does set out to reheat the Cold War by introducing a WMD-wielding Russian super villain named Victor Zaitsev. You play as Zaitsev's nemesis, good guy Sam Gideon, a chain-smoking American football star, employee of DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) and wearer of DARPA's impressive Augmented Reaction Suit (ARS). This Master-Chief-like armoured suit with its jet boosters and built in weapon emulation system makes you nigh invincible, which is good because your mission to rescue kidnapped scientist Dr. Francois Candide and keep Zaitsev from blowing up New York City requires you to be fairly hardy.
Vanquish's gameplay offers as few surprises as its story and functions much like your basic run-and-gun. You can carry up to three weapons from the available pool — rifle, shotgun, machine gun, assault rifle, disk launcher (which fires spinning sawblade things) — and you can carry two types of grenades, EMP and explosive. A single button press lets you evade, take cover or perform a melee attack and both your ammo and your weapons can be picked up off the battlefield. Vanquish also features an "AR Mode" which you use like bullet time to slow everything around you and take down multiple targets. Even better, your suit allows you to perform a high speed boost slide on your knees like a rock star performing a smokin' guitar solo. The slide is awesome for evading enemies and for performing some very stylish kills, although if you do it too often your suit will overheat, leaving you vulnerable to attack.
Up to this point, Vanquish sounds like a solid action title that fans of games like Gears of War and Halo should enjoy; unfortunately, several design choices ruin its potential. For one thing, the game has an oddly abrupt beginning that walks you through a confusing, dated, somewhat out of context tutorial. Cliches also abound in the story: A space station, an armoured suit, a Russian villain, a kidnapped scientist, a tough guy hero with a grizzled, impatient military rival — it’s all rote material that you’ve seen a million times before. There is also a missed multiplayer opportunity here as well: the game is single-player only, but a good multiplayer co-op mode would have made Vanquish infinitely more interesting. Without question, the epic firefights would have been a compelling excuse to connect with a friend and rampage through them together.
Vanquish does have something to offer: you'll experience some of the hottest combat zones you've ever seen and probably find yourself cackling madly as you survive some of them by the skin of your teeth. The game has some clever level design that takes advantage of weightlessness and/or shifting and crumbling terrain, forcing you to navigate in three dimensions and also allows you to commandeer and use enemy turrets and Star Wars chicken-walker-like mechs. Combat is not only frenetic, but feels very real in terms of the large scale random destruction and the way your AI squad runs around on the battlefield. But ultimately, Vanquish is flawed and lacks originality. It does offer some interesting variations on a tried and true shooter formula, but I can't recommend this to anyone looking for a deep and compelling experience. If all you want is an adrenaline rush or to feel like a total badass for short, explosive bursts, however, then it's something worth considering.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Smart LED Bulb LB130
Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop
Everki ContemPRO Roll Top Laptop Backpack
Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive
Epson WorkForce ET-4550
Samsung portable 1TB T3 drive
UE Boom 2 Bluetooth speaker
Linksys AC5400 MU-MIMO Gigabit router
Belkin MIXIT Metallic Lightning to USB Cable
3SIXT Ultra HD Sports Action Camera
Google Daydream VR headset
Acer Swift 7
Logitech G403 Prodigy mouse
Lexar® Portable SSD
Epson WorkForce DS-360W
Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive
Huawei Mate 9
Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards
Garmin Fenix Chronos smartwatch
Surface Pro 4
Dell Inspiron 5000 series 2-in-1
Dell XPS 13 laptop
Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive
HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450
HP Pavilion x360 13”
Blade 28 backpack by Arc’teryx
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- 2 ZTE Axon 7 review: Is ZTE dumping old stock on Australia?
- 3 Oppo R9s smartphone full review
- 4 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- You can download Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes for iOS and Android today
- Nintendo's Fire Emblem Heroes looks sharp, but will it survive the freemium transition?
- Nintendo's bringing Super Mario Run to Android in March, but Fire Emblem's coming first
- The Switch is a mix of Nintendo's past consoles
- Dead Rising 4 impressions: 'Tis the season to BBQ zombies with your flaming sword
PCW Evaluation Team
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
- How to quit Pokemon Go (or to start enjoying it again)
- Huawei Mate 9 full in-depth smartphone review
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- CCPMO Analyst - Financial ServicesNSW
- CCTest Automation EngineerVIC
- CCMarketing SpecialistNSW
- FTSenior Dot Net Backend Orientated DeveloperNSW
- FTChief Architect - Public SectorACT
- CCSenior Mobile Application DeveloperNSW
- FTSenior Database AdministratorVIC
- FTApplications DeveloperACT
- FTOracle Forms PL/SQL Analyst ProgrammerQLD
- CCWPF .NET EngineerNSW
- FTApplication Support Analyst/DeveloperNSW
- TPInfrastructure Project ManagerVIC
- TPInfrastructure Project ManagerNSW
- CCDevops Consultant - 12 month contractVIC
- CCWicked Front-End DeveloperQLD
- TPDeployment Specialist (DevOps)QLD
- FTPMO Coordinator-Permanent Opportunity-Education/Government Background EssentialNSW
- CCDigital Communications ManagerNSW
- TPOrganisational Change ManagerQLD
- CCDevops Consultant - 12 month contractVIC
- FTLife/400 Resource - PermanentNSW
- FTSenior Business AnalystNSW
- FTIt Security and process analystNSW
- CCBusiness Project ManagerNSW
- TPBusiness AnalystQLD