A Few Comments on Vanquish

March 25th, 2013

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It only took about half an hour of play for me to realise that Platinum Games is one of the world’s best game developers. Vanquish is a supremely well-designed action game that deserves more time than I’m about to give it. Consider these dot points as preliminary commentary for when I get back to Australia and can explore the game more thoroughly on its harder difficulties.

Rolling – Access to the slowmo ability encourages the player to identify the enemy’s weak point (observation, knowledge), determine when they can roll around the enemy to get a clear shot at its weak point (space, knowledge), and then execute (dexterity, reflex).

Sliding Boosting– Because Sam Gideon slides so ridiculously fast, the slowmo is activated any time the player shoots in this state, allowing them to cleanly target enemies. If it weren’t, shooting when slide boosting would clutter the game design. By joining the two mechanics, the player’s presented with a meaningful strategic choice: use the boosters to get behind enemy lines and then keep going forward or flank the enemy with a few melee moves or shotgun blasts (less cool down juice) or slowmo as you slide in, picking apart the enemy line (more cool down juice). With the former, the player risks being caught off guard by a pack of enemies. With the latter, the player risks being caught with their suit overloaded and nowhere to hide. Depending on the composition and layout of grunts and larger foes, you’ll want to vary your strategy accordingly.

Jumping Out From Cover – Access to the slowmo ability encourages the player to identify their targets (observation, knowledge), wait until they’re open (timing), and then leave the cover, line up the crosshair, and shoot (dexterity, reflex).

After Slide Kicking – The slowmo ability allows the player to follow up the slide kick with some close-range shooting. This can destroy decimate grunts and take large chunks of health off larger foes, but comes at the expense of a lot of cool down juice.

Hopefully, there will be more for me to say in the future.

  • As you said, I love the slow-mo to assess the enemy’s weaknesses. Such a great feature.

  • Steve Johnathan

    While the design is great, I felt the same way about the game lacking legs. This game desperately needs a sequel/ spiritual successor.