Vanquish (video game)

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PG Vanquish box artwork.png
Developer(s) PlatinumGames
Publisher(s) Sega
Director(s) Shinji Mikami
Producer(s) Atsushi Inaba
Jun Yoshino
Designer(s) Masaaki Yamada
Shigenori Nishikawa
Junichi Oka
Hiroki Kato
Programmer(s) Kiyohiko Sakata
Shuichiro Chiboshi
Writer(s) Hiroki Kato
Jean Pierre Kellams
Composer(s) Erina Niwa
Masafumi Takada
Masakazu Sugimori
Platform(s) PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Release date(s)
  • NA: October 19, 2010
  • AUS: October 21, 2010
  • JP: October 21, 2010
  • EU: October 22, 2010
Genre(s) Third-person shooter
Mode(s) Single-player

Vanquish (Japanese: ヴァンキッシュ Hepburn: Bankisshu?) is a third-person shooter video game developed by PlatinumGames and published by Sega for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 video game consoles. The game began in development in 2007[1] and was released worldwide in October 2010.[2]

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,[3] beat 'em up elements,[4] and an original sliding-boost mechanic.[5]

Vanquish received a positive critical reaction upon release, with critics praising the game's fast-paced action, innovations to the shooter genre, boss battles and visual style, while criticizing the game's writing, voice acting and overall short length of the campaign.


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. His 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.[3][6][7] 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),[7] acting as a defensive escape and an offensive set up, opening up new gameplay possibilities for cover-based shooters and increasing the pace significantly.[5] 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.[8]


In the near future, Earth's human population grew rapidly that the nations fight for the scarce remaining resources and the United States of America attempted to alleviate its energy problems by launching an O'Neill Cylinder space station called Providence that harbors a solar energy-driven generator to provide them with an alternative energy source. However, the government of the Russian Federation has been overthrown in a coup d'état by a section of the Russian military calling themselves the Order of the Russian Star, turning Russia into a military dictatorship. They captured the space station and diverted its harvested solar energy into a blast wave that devastates San Francisco. Victor Zaitsev (Marc Worden) demands that the American government surrender or he will target New York City.[9]

The President of the United States, 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 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 transforms 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. Winters 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.[10]

As Sam reaches the microwave source station, Candide tells him that Burns and Winters have betrayed all of the Americans. After shooting and killing Candide, 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 along with his men. As Sam destroys two Bogey warriors from a slave unit, one activates a tactical nuke and explodes to destroy the O'Neill Cylinder in space. Sam pilots the escape pod and unites with Elena Ivanova (Kari Wahlgren) at the SBC2 spaceship. Zaitsev survives the explosion, piloting his own escape pod and Winters kills herself.

Development and release[edit]

Promotion at TGS 2010

The game's director, Shinji Mikami, stated that Vanquish's graphics were partially inspired by Casshern, a 1970s anime television series by Tatsunoko Production.[11] 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.[12] Vanquish uses the Havok physics engine.[13]

The game's development began in 2007. In January 2010, a pre-rendered video trailer was released.[1][14] 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."[15][16] It is Mikami's only game under the PlatinumGames brand.

If pre-ordered from GameStop in North America, the game came with an exclusive tri-weapon download pack[17] that later became available for sale on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network in November of 2012.[citation needed] Several European retailers offered free copies of Bayonetta with pre-orders of Vanquish.[citation needed] Zavvi in the UK offered a Limited Edition release which included a statuette of lead protagonist Sam Gideon as a preorder bonus.[18]


Review scores
Publication Score
PS3 Xbox 360
Destructoid N/A 5/10[19]
Edge 8/10[20] N/A
Eurogamer N/A 9/10[21]
Game Informer N/A 7.75/10[22]
GamePro N/A 3.5/5 stars[23]
Game Revolution B+[24] B+[24]
GameSpot 9/10[25] 9/10[25]
GameTrailers N/A 9/10[26]
GameZone 7/10[27] 7/10[27]
Giant Bomb 4/5 stars[28] 4/5 stars[28]
IGN 8.5/10[29] 8.5/10[29]
Joystiq N/A 4.5/5 stars[30]
OXM N/A 9/10[31]
PSM 8/10[32] N/A
The Daily Telegraph N/A 9/10[7]
The Escapist 4/5 stars[33] N/A
Aggregate score
Metacritic 84/100[34] 84/100[35]
Publication Award
CGR, Game of the Year[36][37]
X360 Best Shooter
IGN[38] Best Sci-Fi Game (PS3)[39]
GameSpot Best Game No One Played[40]
GameSpot Best Original Game Mechanic[5]
GamesRadar Most "Oh Shit" Moments Per Minute[41]

Critical reception[edit]

Vanquish received "favorable" reviews according to video game review aggregator Metacritic.[34][35] Many reviewers praised the game's visuals, gameplay,[42] innovation, fast pace, and over-the-top style, though some also criticized its short length, lack of multiplayer, mediocre plot,[29] and corny dialogue.[43] GameTrailers noted that it is hard to imagine the slow-motion gameplay working in multiplayer.[26] Game Informer stated, "Don't be surprised if you finish your first playthrough in four hours or less."[22] This view was challenged by PlatinumGames' writer Jean Pierre Kellams[44] as well as Eurogamer.[45]

In Japan, Famitsu gave the game a score of two nines, one ten, and one nine, for a total of 37 out of 40.[46] Elsewhere, The Daily Telegraph gave the Xbox 360 version a score of nine out of ten and called it "a fast-paced, high-octane and resolutely hard-core shooter, which makes no concessions to casual gamers. It also happens to be one of the best games of 2010."[7] The A.V. Club gave the same console version a B+, calling it "flat-out ridiculous, designed strictly to amuse, not to offer any greater message."[47] The Escapist gave the PlayStation 3 version a score of four stars out of five, saying, "All of the trappings are perfectly sound if not extraordinary, and despite one or two incredibly vexing design decisions, Vanquish's combat is blisteringly fast and a genuine pleasure to watch and play when it's going well - but an exercise in maddening frustration when it isn't."[33] The Guardian also gave the same console version four stars out of five, saying that it "isn't going to change the face of gaming, but it's impressive to behold, satisfying to play (as long as you're reasonably hardcore) and shot through with humour (look out, for example, for the robots dancing to a ghetto-blaster which transforms into a mobile gun). It's the best thing Shinji Mikami has done for quite a while."[48] Eurogamer said it was "a game of astounding creativity and polish" and "the best third-person shooter ever to come out of Japan." Their only minor criticism was the title's replay value, "perhaps the only area of the game which lags behind its Western counterparts."[49]


The PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game respectively debuted at number four (48,318 units) and number 14 (11,204 units) on Japanese sales charts during their release week.[50] By February 2011, the game had sold 820,000 copies worldwide.[51] By March 2011, the game had sold 830,000 copies worldwide.[52]


The game received Game of the Year awards from the Classic Game Room,[36] and[37] X360 gave it the "Best Shooter" award,[38] and GamesRadar gave it an award for Most "Oh Shit" Moments Per Minute.[41] IGN gave it the "Best Sci-Fi Game" award in the PS3 category,[39] and nominated the game for the awards of "Coolest Atmosphere",[53] "Most Challenging",[54] "Most Addictive Game",[55] "Best Visuals"[56] and "Best Blockbuster Game".[57] GameSpot gave the game the awards for "Best Game No One Played", both the editors' award and the Readers' Choice award,[40] 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.[5] GameSpot also nominated the game for the awards of "Best Shooter",[58] "Best Sound Design",[59] "Best Original IP",[60] "Best Xbox 360 Game",[61] "Best PS3 Game"[62] and overall "Game of the Year".[63]


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External links[edit]