Vanquish (video game)
||The lead section of this article may need to be rewritten. (July 2013)|
Jean Pierre Kellams
|Release date(s)||NA October 19, 2010
Vanquish (Japanese: ヴァンキッシュ Hepburn: Vankisshu?) is a third-person shooter video game developed by Platinum Games and published by Sega for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 video game consoles. The game began in development in 2007, and was released in October 2010.
The game is notable for introducing several innovations to the 3D shooter genre, including a fast-paced style of gameplay reminiscent of 2D bullet hell shooters, beat 'em up elements, and an original sliding-boost mechanic.
Players control Sam Gideon, a DARPA agent armed with the Augmented Reaction Suit. If the player takes too much damage, the suit will automatically enter Augmented Reaction mode (AR mode), which slows down time, helping the player to avoid being killed. The player can also manually enter AR mode by holding down the target button while evading, allowing the player to target enemies easily. At any time, the player can use boosters on the suit to move quickly across the area. If the player uses AR mode or the boosters too much in a short time, the suit will overheat and will require a short period to cool down, during which Sam is less mobile. The suit will also overheat instantly if the player performs a melee attack, and certain areas will also overheat the suit.
Sam's weaponry consists of the BLADE weapons system and two types of grenade. The BLADE system can store up to three weapons at a time (from a total of eight weapon types), with the player able to swap weapons if he encounters a new one. These weapons, and the grenades, can be upgraded by collecting upgrade boxes, or by collecting the same type of weapon while it has maximum ammunition. Upgrading these weapons improves their abilities, such as their maximum ammunition capacity, accuracy, and blast radius. Players can aid injured allies on the field to earn weapons, or find them in crates or weapon lockers. In Normal difficulty or higher, weapons are downgraded if the player dies.
Other gameplay mechanics include the use of explosives during certain areas, commandeering enemy vehicles or turrets, the ability to use cigarettes to distract enemies, and quick time events during certain battles against larger enemies. It has also significantly improved upon the cover system, which it has been credited for taking "to the next level." In contrast to previous cover-based shooters, Vanquish has bullets and missiles coming from all directions in a manner reminiscent of bullet hell shooters and the cover is easily destructible, forcing the player character to be on the move, while the game also penalizes the player's score for the amount of time spent in cover. Its most important innovation, however, is the sliding-boost mechanic that allows the player to slide into and out of cover at high speeds (and in slow motion using bullet time), acting as a defensive escape and an offensive set up, opening up new gameplay possibilities for cover-based shooters and increasing the pace significantly. The game also has a unique end credits sequence, which is interactive and plays like a rail shooter, with the lead designer Shinji Mikami being the most difficult 'enemy' to take down.
In the near future, Earth's human population grew so rapidly that nations are fighting for the scarce remaining resources and the United States of America has attempted to alleviate its energy problems by launching an O'Neill Cylinder space station that harbors a solar energy-driven generator to provide them with an alternative source of energy. However, the government of the Russian Federation has been overthrown in a coup d'état by ultra-nationalist forces calling themselves the Order of the Russian Star, captured the space station and diverted its harvested solar energy into a blast wave that devastates San Francisco. The main antagonist, Victor Zaitsev (Marc Worden) demands that the American government surrender or he will choose New York City as his next target.
The President of the United States of America, Elizabeth Winters (Lee Meriwether) takes Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Burns (Steven Blum), a decorated war veteran, and puts him in charge of a newly commissioned task force called Bravo Company that consists of several space-faring special forces, veteran Marines, and the remnants of the defending U.S. forces on board the space station. She also gives them the game's protagonist and playable character, Sam Gideon, (Gideon Emery) a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) researcher equipped with an Augmented Reaction Suit (ARS), a cutting-edge mechanical suit outfitted with a vast array of functions, including jet boosters attached to both arms and legs. He is armed with an experimental Battlefield Logic Adaptable Electronic Weapons System (BLADE), which is capable of scanning any existing weapon and then transforming into a perfect replica. Its ability to store three scans at a time means that at any given time the BLADE can shapeshift between three different weapons.
The mission gives DARPA the perfect chance to test the ARS. The President and the Secretary of Defense give Sam classified orders to rescue a scientist named Dr. Francois Candide (Benito Martinez), who works on-site when the station was attacked, he decides to take matters into his own hands and tries to disable the array before it can be used to attack another city.
As Sam reaches the microwave source station, Candide tells him that Burns and the President have betrayed all of the Americans. After killing Candide with his rifle inside his arm, Burns tells Sam that he will change the microwave's target to Moscow, with the government sending an economic stimulus package before attacking to prevent their leadership from suspecting anything. After a fight, the dying Burns apologizes and allows Sam to escape before using the bomb on his robotic arm which explodes and kills him and all of his men. Sam destroys two Bogey warriors from a slave unit. One activates a tactical nuke which then explodes and destroys the O'Neill Cylinder in space. Sam manages to unite with Elena Ivanova (Kari Wahlgren) in the SBC2 spaceship by piloting the escape pod. The game ends with Zaitsev surviving the explosion, piloting his own escape pod. Finally, President Winters shoots herself in the head with her pistol at her desk.
The game's director, Shinji Mikami, stated that Vanquish's graphics were partially inspired by Casshern, a 1970s anime television series by Tatsunoko Production. Mikami also stated that the game design itself was inspired by Casshern. Mikami originally wanted to create a game just like Casshern, but with the addition of guns, since Mikami had already previously created a brawler with God Hand. However, while making Vanquish a shooter, Mikami still wanted to maintain Casshern's "feeling of speed" which is the reason he introduced the sliding-boost mechanic. Vanquish uses the Havok physics engine.
The game's development began in 2007; in January 2010, a pre-rendered video trailer was released. Atsushi Inaba produced the game. Mikami has stated that the game is being developed with the PlayStation 3 as its lead platform in an effort to "help avoid dodgy PS3 ports", commenting that it was a "great success." It is Mikami's only game under the Platinum Games brand.
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Vanquish received generally positive reviews, with many reviewers praising the game's visuals, gameplay, innovation, fast pace, and over-the-top style, though some also criticized its short length, lack of multiplayer, mediocre plot, and corny dialogue. Aggregating review websites GameRankings and Metacritic gave the Xbox 360 version 83.95% and 84/100 and the PlayStation 3 version 83.44% and 84/100. GameTrailers gave it a 9.0, noting that it is hard to imagine the slow-motion gameplay working in multiplayer. Game Informer stated "Don't be surprised if you finish your first playthrough in four hours or less." This view was challenged by Platinum Games' writer Jean Pierre Kellams as well as Eurogamer.
The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of Vanquish respectively debuted at number four (48,318 units) and number 14 (11,204 units) on Japanese sales charts during their release week. By the end of 2010, the game sold over 400,000 copies worldwide, and over 950,000 copies as of May 2014.
Vanquish has received Game of the Year awards from the Classic Game Room, and Zavvi.com. X360 gave it the "Best Shooter" award, and GamesRadar gave it an award for Most "Oh Shit" Moments Per Minute. IGN gave it the "Best Sci-Fi Game" award in the PS3 category, and nominated the game for the awards of "Coolest Atmosphere", "Most Challenging", "Most Addictive Game", "Best Visuals" and "Best Blockbuster Game". GameSpot gave the game the awards for "Best Game No One Played", both the editors' award and the Readers' Choice award, and "Best Original Game Mechanic" for its rocket-sliding game mechanic, which acts as both a defensive escape and an offensive setup, opening up new gameplay possibilities for action games. GameSpot also nominated the game for the awards of "Best Shooter", "Best Sound Design", "Best Original IP", "Best Xbox 360 Game", "Best PS3 Game" and overall "Game of the Year".
If pre-ordered from GameStop in North America, Vanquish came with an exclusive tri-weapon download pack. That download pack later became available for sale on Xbox Live and Playstation Network. Several European retailers offered free copies of Bayonetta with pre-orders of Vanquish. Zavvi in the UK offered a limited statuette as a preorder bonus.
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