Saturday, October 30, 2010

Vanquish First Impressions

As you may (or may not) remember, some time ago I called Vanquish my pre-emptive GOTY (Game Of The Year). With many games coming out this holiday season that are not only hot, but shit hot, it has got some very stiff competition.

After spending a couple of hours awkwardly making love to it, here are my impressions so far.

First off, as you can probably tell by the videos, the gameplay is super fast and frantic. There are constantly hordes of bad guys swarming you and shit flying everywhere. The fact that many enemies have instant kill attacks means that you've constantly got to be on the move. Instead of feeling like pointless fodder, it really feels like any enemy can kill you with a few hits.

But what keeps the pace varying is that all this sliding around, bashing guys and using bullet time depletes your suit's power meter. If you take mortal damage it will also activate bullet time. You then have to rush to find cover while your suit recharges. Then the game takes on more of a standard cover-based shooter persona. All of this dashing, sliding, shooting and covering makes the game feel like the mutated offspring of a drunken threesome between Bayonetta, Devil May Cry, and Gears of War. The fanfiction pretty much writes itself...

For the most part, all of this controls very well. One thing I will say though is that the controls are too complex. With all this frantic action I don't want to be fumbling for the right buttons. For example, square button opens chests. Then you have to hold R1 to grab the item in the chest. Also X jumps and square takes cover. If I'm next to cover I want to press X to jump over in, but I can't I have to instead press SQUARE to vault over it. Frustrating.

While the gameplay is fantastic, I really can't say the same for the story. It is stupid and cheesy, but not in a hilarious way. It's like they sat down and said "Ok, what do Americans think is cool? Space marines, fighting Russians, lots of swearing. Ok let's do this!"

There is very little exposition, and the pace almost never lets up so you get no time to breathe and digest what is going on before you dive into the next firefight. The voice acting and dialog are also bad but in more of a hilarious Resident Evil sort of way. So it gets a free pass there.

One thing I have to mention about the dialog though is that it seems like M-Rated games have just realized they're allowed to say Fuck. Like a 4 year old learning a new word, they repeat it constantly. I know I'm far from a saint and have been known to say bad words like "shit" or "penis" from time to time but that's because I have tourrettes. What's your excuse, video games?

All in all I really enjoy this game and I think it is great, despite it's flaws. It's just too bad nobody will ever play it.

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