Vanquish Review (PS3/360)

January 16, 2011


Do you like cover-based 3rd person shooters?  Do you like extremely fast-paced games that just never let up from the second it starts until the second the credits roll?  Do you like having a sweet suit that lets you powerslide your way across the battlefield while shooting enemies in slow motion?  If you answered “yes” to at least one of those questions, hands down you should be playing Vanquish.

Vanquish takes place in the future where the Russians are threatening to launch nuclear warfare at the United States.  The President of the United States issues an attack on their Space Colony to prevent any other attack from happening.  Besides hiring the military, a special unit known as DARPA are tasked to aid in the attack.  While that’s not the most original concept for a storyline, it does the job of letting the player know there is a story going on beyond all the action taking place.  You play as Sam Gideon, a DARPA agent utilizing the ARS suit.  The suit gives Sam accelerated movement speed and enhanced strength that allows him to have a chance to take on the “challenge” of completing his mission.

Now I mention “challenge” for a good reason.  This is by no means an easy game.  It’s not impossible, but just know that coming from the same director/creator of Resident Evil 4, the game will be a challenge.  Sam might have an accelerated suit (not to be confused with the Accelerator suits from the awful G.I. Joe movie), but he can still endure damage quite quickly on the Normal difficulty setting.  Checkpoints are given at appropriate sections throughout the levels so frustration will rarely endure.

Gameplay wise, it’s kind of what you would expect from a well-developed 3rd person cover shooter.  I say “kind of” because the powersliding feature your suit can do, radically differentiates itself from other 3rd person shooters out there.  You have a power meter at the bottom right of your HUD that regenerates anytime you aren’t using the powersliding or slow-motion effects.  If the meter runs out, the suit overheats and you will have to wait until it cools down before you use it again.  When the suit is overheated, Sam’s evasive roll is much slower as well, not to mention you can’t powerslide your way out of trouble so using that meter strategically is a must if you want to survive.  You’ll notice that the suit will have green lights at the start of the game, take damage and it’ll turn yellow, too much damage will turn it to red (think Dead Space in terms of how your health is displayed).  Another great feature is that if you’re taking too much damage and are close to dying, the game will automatically go into slow motion (if you have anything left in your power meter at that moment).  This will allow you to hopefully get to cover in time to regenerate health, which is determined by the color on Sam’s suit.  Bottom line, the game is far from unforgiving.

Boss battles are standouts as well.  Each boss will really test your skills as you progress, ensuring that you’ll just barely make it out of each fight with your heart racing.  The bosses will range from enemies your own size (but they’ll prove to be formidable enemies despite their size) to those that are the size of the Sears Tower.

Another standout is the graphical presentation throughout the game.  Platinum Games has developed their own engine and its easily one of the nicest looking games this generation.  Sam’s ARS suit looking incredibly detailed as do the NPCs.  You’ll notice that the suit animates when using the powerslide and when you exit the powerslide which is a cool touch.  The animations are incredibly fluid making the game more of an experience.  The level design is quite impressive as well.  The whole game changes environment each act and no area ever looks the same.  The art direction is very well done with quite the sense of scale throughout the campaign.  It’s definitely one of those games that despite being ludicrously fast-paced, deserves a view of the environments as you play.

Vanquish’s sound design is nothing short of stunning.  All the guns have appropriate and effective sound effects that give them the impact they need.  The suit’s sound effects for powersliding, cooling down the suit if overheated, and initiating slow-motion add to that extra immersion as well.  The music is perfectly suited for the game with it’s upbeat techno/electronica score.  Even when the game goes in slo-mo, the music will slow down but you’ll still hear the heavy beats hitting, which is a neat touch.  Voice acting is pretty good for the most part, except for the whole military grunt style voices the main characters have.  I can understand if Burns (one of the characters on your team) has that type of voice but Sam’s voice just felt a little too “Solid Snake” like.  Either way, it gets the job done and doesn’t really detract from the experience.

Overall Score: 9.0 out of 10

Overall, Vanquish is one of those rare gems that any action fan should play.  It’s a fast-paced, well balanced game that is exciting from beginning to end.  Hopefully the game picks up sales because it’s a shame when game’s like this are missed due to everyone being hooked into other blockbuster titles.


+ Fast-paced relentless action

+ Tight controls

+ Loading times are minimal

+ Excellent graphics

+ Great soundtrack and sound effects

+ Missions can be replayed via “mission select”

+Challenge Mode increases the longevity of the game after the campaign is done


-Short Campaign

-Story is kind of there just to carry the action




About Glacier928

Marcello is the founder, creator and editor-in-chief of GamersXtreme. His dedication and passion shows as he keeps gamers informed with daily news articles and provides truthful, honest opinions on all gaming related news. Having experience with video game design, as well as over 20 years of gaming under his belt, Marcello has always had a massive interest in the gaming society. Originally, he created GamersXtreme in the style of a magazine back in middle school. Today, he has taken what was created as a basic premise and has evolved it into the site it is today.

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