There is something about Platinum Games titles that I just can’t put a finger on. They have a certain je ne sais quoi or swagger if you will. Whether you’re slaying angel fiends or entrenched deeply within space, each of their games possesses a unique and distinct flair that simply oozes quality. In this aspect, Vanquish appears to be no different from its older brothers and sisters.
From the very start menu it boasts a very distinct, very immersive ambience. This only increases as you begin to play through the demo. Playing the game somehow makes you feel so cool and stylish. The visuals are absolutely superb. You’re going to make your first stop at the tutorial though, where all the controls are explained in a very simple yet effective manner. The controls really are wonderful I might add.
You move and direct with the right and left thumbs sticks. Three of the face buttons are the dodge button, the grenade button, and the melee button. You take cover behind objects with the last button. L2 is used to boost around. See, these rockets placed in various positions around the main character’s suit all blast in unison and he uses them to propel him around at ridiculous speeds. It looks as cool as it sounds.
You can also aim with L1 and shoot with R1. The shooting is handled superbly well I think. I found it very fluid and transitional, more so than in any TPS I’ve ever touched. The melee combat is also handled well, though there is a lengthy recharge after using it. This is of course a balancing mechanic, but you notice it. You can initiate AR Mode or a kind of slow motion by holding the aim button during either boosting or dodging.
The controls are rather simple, but very, very tactical. After you boost into an area full of enemies, use AR mode and shoot down two, boost over to a third and obliterate it with a stylish kick, throw a grenade to decimate a fourth and fifth and then take cover where one previously sat while reloading, you’ll feel like a million bucks. What’s more is that all of these things can happen in a matter of seconds.
Another thing that is really well executed is the sheer sense of scale. The game sends hoards of enemies at you, and in no time hundreds of bullets, lasers and missiles are firing off in every different direction. You feel surrounded by the battles; completely immersed. It possesses its own brand of “nonstop” action, if you catch my drift *wink wink*.
The décor is high tech and futuristic. It creates a tenable ambience which seems to permeate every square inch of the environment. So the demo kicks off with you taking on three enemies, which is fairly simple. Then you enter a much larger area and there are various foes scattered throughout. You will boost between cover spots, annihilating your enemies as swiftly and stylishly as you so choose.
You have a team of soldiers with you who all do their own fair share of fighting, but none of them are as cool as you are. All the weapons and equipment add to the cutting edge vibe that spews forth from the game. I haven’t felt this effortlessly cool since the last Devil May Cry.
You can snatch up various guns from chests and your fallen enemies. There is an incredible amount of activity taking place on the screen at one time. It’s almost overwhelming at first. But when you obtain proper control over the character, you will run towards every challenge smiling. The game play is totally exhilarating.
So after you dispatch all the small fries, and there are a few of them, you can take control of one of the two large mechs on the field and the controls during this sequence are also spot-on. Once you’ve blown up enough baddies you’ll take on the boss, which appears to be some kind of mechanical spider hybrid. The fight commences with you and your team on a raised platform with multiple cover spots.
There are also a good number of turrets and equipment scattered around the platform. The boss has powerful rockets that destroy cover. It will occasionally kill one of your allies, but if you are fast enough you can revive him. You must attack various weak points on the monster like its legs to breach its defense and cause it to expose its core.
As you battle it, you will see hundreds and hundreds of attacks flying at you. It is a very enthralling experience and it commands all of your attention if only for only a brief moment. When you destroy its core it will drawback and release hundreds of rockets that all come flying towards you. While it seems overwhelming, if you burst into AR mode, you’ll be able to destroy the rockets in slow motion while they’re just inches from your face.
Playing the game makes you feel as though you’re watching some kind of epic and surrealistic movie and I don’t think I’ve ever had a similar experience. The boss will then morph into a bigger, more powerful robot only this time it looks more like a Transformer. It will now attack more frequently, and often utilizes a laser that will likely destroy your teammates multiple times.
The process is basically the same though. Attack the weak spots and destroy the core. About halfway through his health bar, you’ll initiate QTE and as you complete it, your character will perform a fantastic maneuver that culminates in him catching a missile, inserting it into the barrel from which it came, and blowing the monsters arm off as he jumps dramatically to safety.
When you defeat the monster it explodes in a bright display of sparks. The game looks very scenic and cinematic. You can tell great care was taken with just about everything. At the end of the demo you receive a score based on a wealth of factors like how many times you revived your allies and how well you made use of cover, though it wasn’t easy to tell if I did well or poorly the first time through.
By the end of the demo my socks were completely blown off. Playing it evokes a euphoric mindset that is simply beyond comparison to anything else I have ever played. I have played through it five times and I will probably play it several times more in the next few weeks. If you thought you were excited before playing this, afterwards you’ll almost be a little scared of what Platinum Games and SEGA are going to throw at you in the full game. Stay tuned for our full review when the game come out next month.