Let me keep this short: there is a remaster of a little game called “Vanquish” that you absolutely must play. You’ve probably never heard of it, but it is one of the best third-person shooters out there. Go play it.
If you’re still here and need a little bit more persuasion, then read on. But first, a history lesson.
A long time ago, back in the late 2000s, the video game market was dominated by military shooters. “Call of Duty” had turned into a juggernaut in the industry, so just about everybody was trying to emulate its success.
That meant a whole wave of shooters that were obsessed with making the player slow down, follow orders and shoot from cover in a world of brown and gray. It was, quite frankly, exhausting, and the market was desperately in need of a breath of fresh air. Then in 2010, “Vanquish” was released, and it was the kick that the market needed.
At least, it would have been had it sold better. Unfortunately, “Vanquish” was released in the window between “Halo: Reach” and “Call of Duty: Black Ops,” the two biggest shooters of the year. Even with good reviews all around the board, “Vanquish“ came and went with little fanfare.
Over the years, it would build up a cult following online. Search “Vanquish” on YouTube and you will find a host of videos still talking about how great is “Vanquish.”
So why should you play “Vanquish”?
Simply put, it has style. Developed by the fine folks at Platinum Games, “Vanquish” emphasizes momentum-based combat. Players control Sam Gideon, a DARPA operative with a tricked out mech suit and an attitude to boot.
Sam’s suit is strapped with thrusters which allows him to rocket slide into action. And the best part about all of this? Whenever Sam is pulling off any sort of acrobatic move, such as flipping over cover or sliding, he can enter a slow-mo mode whenever he aims. It’s awesome.
Players can pull off dozens of neat tricks with the suit. You can rocket into battle, watching in glorious slow-motion as bullets whistle around you. You can roll out of cover and slow down time to pick your shots and take out any incoming grenades and rockets. You can rocket boost towards an enemy and finish them off with a powerful kick that launches Sam into the air and, as you are descending, use Sam’s slow-mo ability to finish off any stragglers. There’s even a dedicated smoking button where Sam will whip out a cigarette while he is in cover. While I don’t condone smoking, I have to admit Sam does make it look slick.
The possibilities feel endless, and every shoot out feels like an opportunity to not only shoot some robots, but to accomplish that in the most stylish way you could imagine. “Vanquish” rewards its players not by just surviving an encounter, but through absolutely dominating it in the most awesome way possible.
If the action isn’t enough to sell you on it, then perhaps Platinum Games’ unique charm could win you over. Platinum loves over-the-top set pieces in their games, and “Vanquish” is certainly not short on those moments.
We’re talking absolutely bonkers stuff, like Sam grabbing missiles mid-flight and dunking them into artillery cannons or punting the heads off of skyscraper-robots. Sam even duels super soldiers that wield laser swords, deflecting their blows using only his fists!
There is so much more I could go on about with this game, and why it is such a gem.
It is an absolute crime that the game sold so poorly when it first released, and hopefully this remaster can bring it the attention it deserves. “Vanquish” has more in common with contemporary shooters like the reboot of “DOOM” or “Titanfall 2” with its focus on fast-moving gameplay and chaotic shootouts, demonstrating that it was ahead of its time.
“Vanquish” has all the makings of a comeback story, so please do yourself a favor and go play this game. You won’t be disappointed.