Cody Giunta
10 Aug, 2010

Vanquish Preview

PS3 Preview | Did our playtest Vanquish any doubts?
Since our E3 peek, PALGN has been lucky enough to visit Vanquish publisher Sega’s Sydney offices and gain some hands-on experience with the PlayStation 3 version of the title. The build at this stage is very impressive, and with a few months left until release, it appears as if Vanquish is on track for a successful release to provide gamers with a frantic yet fluid shooter.

Our own hands-on time with Vanquish began with one of the later stages, leading a squad of military personnel. Though your fellow humans are by no means pushovers, it’s safe to say that your character is much, much tougher, all thanks to the ARS - Augmented Reality Suit. You can take extraordinary levels of punishment that would normally be fatal. Bullets, lasers, firebombs, heavy artillery – you have a chance to still be standing after taking big hits. We were also told that, in a later set piece, your suit is able to withstand depressurisation, when a hole blown in the side of the space station sucks several members of your team out into space.

A lot of comparisons have been drawn with Gears of War, but from our playthrough, we think it’s safe to say that any similarities are minimal. Yes, Vanquish does use a cover system, you can revive fallen colleagues and it is a shooter, but the gameplay goes beyond these aspects. Even though the suit is very tough, you are still capable of moving with incredible speed and agility, and this is one area where Vanquish truly shines and sets itself apart from other games of the genre. As described in our E3 preview, your suit is capable of making a power-dash attack, where you can slide quickly along the floor to get yourself out of tight spots or get up-close to enemies. We found out that while the dash itself won’t inflict damage upon robots, there are several different tricks and modes of attack that you can deal out from this position - you can fire your weapon and go into bullet time, end your dash with a jumping kick which will scramble any robot’s circuits or simply stop right in front of them and engage in melee attacks. For the truly daring amongst you, crashing into an object will result in your character rebounding into the air, from which you can flip around and fire a hail of bullets. If such a pace gets too much for you, it might be a good idea to lean against some cover and have a cigarette. However, going for a smoke also has a purpose. You can throw it far away from where you are positioned and robots will train their sights on it and start firing, allowing you to reposition and perhaps launch a surprise attack.

Stop, bullet time!

Stop, bullet time!

Your power-dash, melee attacks and health all share the same energy source and it’s vital that you keep an eye on it. Should you take too many hits or engage in too much melee combat without breaking, your suit will go into a life support mode and will only let you walk and shoot. In this mode, time will also be slowed to give you a chance of either taking out the enemy before you with weaponry or seeking cover to rest up until your energy recharges.

Our hands-on experience culminated with a fight against a massive four-legged robot called Argus, using both our guns and fixed turrets. When we thought we had finally defeated it, things got even more hectic. The Argus launched an insane number of cluster bombs, which left us no choice but to power-slide out of the way to avoid death. To our horror this didn't signal its death but a new stage of the fight as it changed into a bipedal robot. It was here that we discovered a very interesting quick time effect. We jumped high into the air above the robot and watched as it launched missiles that were the size of our character’s legs. To dodge them, we had to swivel the control stick around in a particular direction. Though it was intense, that was hardly the best part of the quick-time tricks. When the last missile was launched and we again swivelled the control stick, we didn’t dodge it. Instead, our character grabbed the missile in mid-air, turned it around and shoved it back into the very cannon from which it launched, inflicting heavy damage on the Argus.

Flipping out at the awesomeness

Flipping out at the awesomeness
Despite sequences where a lot was going on at once, we did not experience any drop in framerate whatsoever. The whole playthrough, in this regard, was seamless. One section that we were surprised played so smoothly at this stage involved us dodging a flying transporter that had just been knocked into the air, all the while being attacked by hordes of robots on foot, watching another transporter fly over our heads and disgorge even more minions, and explosion after explosion as humans, robots and sections of the environment met their demise. Adding to that, the visuals themselves appeared very solid and had little to no issues with screen tearing or other glitches, even though we played on a large television.

There is no doubt that Vanquish is a very, very fast-paced and frantic game, to the point where you could almost think of it more as an action game rather than a shooter. You will likely die a few times in the initial learning period, but it never once feels cheap or frustrating. Overall, our hands-on experience with Vanquish was a very positive one and from what we played we could not find any glaring faults. It definitely achieves what the makers of the game have set out to do – a very polished shooter with action elements of blistering speed, and unlike many other shooters on the market. We eagerly await its release to see if the complete package equals or surpasses our quick play test.
Vanquish is shaping up very nicely as a potentially great action shooter.

Related Vanquish Content

Vanquish Review
24 Oct, 2010 Shinji Mikami's latest boosts into cover for our full review.
New Vanquish gameplay trailer
06 Aug, 2010 Now featuring even more explosions!
E3 2010 Feature: Vanquish Preview
04 Jul, 2010 A third-person shooter set to punish your gaming skills.
3 years ago
Man I thought the smoking thing was just a cool little animation.

However, going for a smoke also has a purpose. You can throw it far away from where you are positioned and robots will train their sights on it and start firing, allowing you to reposition and perhaps launch a surprise attack.
That's fucking awesome.
3 years ago
Looking forward to this. I don't usually play/enjoy shooters much but for some reason this game really appeals to me. Maybe because of its pedigree.
3 years ago
Game of forever.
3 years ago
Jarrod wrote
Game of untill Shinji Mikami makes a new game.
Fixed that for ya.
3 years ago
Shaping up really well. Lots of good releases on the way by the looks of it.
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Australian Release Date:
  21/10/2010 (Confirmed)
  SEGA Australia
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