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XBox 360, Playstation 3

Reviewed on: XBox 360

Publisher: Sega
Rated: "M" for Mature

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
CHEATfactor: 6
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User Rating: 6

Let's cut right to the chase; I liked Vanquish a lot more than I thought I would. That turned out to be a double edged sword though as the more I played through the game, the more hopeful I got, and the more I was let down. It's a slick action game with its heart in the right place, but Vanquish feels so strikingly outdated and basic that you never really feel like the game reaches its full potential.

Taking place in the far off future, Vanquish casts players in the middle of an energy crisis. The population of the Earth has skyrocketed, and as a result - energy use is at an all time high. To keep up with the demand, the United States has begun to depend on solar power, and have launched a space station to better harness it. Then comes those wacky Russians. A group of Russian nationalists have overthrown their government, commandeered the station and have used it to destroy San Francisco. You control Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) agent Sam Gideon as he attempts to take down the Russians and get the ship back. The plot is a bit hokey, but it won't get in the way of the fun much as it's largely ignored throughout the game.

"'s the game's action that really makes Vanquish memorable."


Developed by legendary Japanese producer Shinji Mikami of Resident Evil and Viewtiful Joe fame, Vanquish is obviously an attempt to reach Western gamers with Japanese style. Big guys with metal arms? Check. Old grizzled sergeant who complains about his injuries yet features a body builder like physique? It's here. Yes, the game is filled with a lot of clichés and forgettable characters - but it's the game's action that really makes Vanquish memorable.

Simply put, Vanquish is a shoot first, ask questions later type of game. It's best to think of it as Gears of War meets God Hand, and while that combination may seem a bit weird, it works well here. Moving in a rhythmic, dancelike fashion, you control Sam as he maneuvers through obstacles and takes cover ala Gears of War. I'm a pretty major Gears fan, but I'd go as far as saying that the cover mechanic in Vanquish works better in some aspects than it does in the source material. That's due in part to the fact that the Sam is able to take cover against falling debris and other changing obstacles, which changes the dynamic of the battle greatly.

Sam is able to move so rapidly thanks to his ARS suit, which gives him the ability to dodge, maneuver and yes - even slow down time. Most times the suit and its abilities work well, but there are times when the controls become awkward and could lead you into trouble. It also makes for some pretty bad ass moments, like Sam dropping to his knees and bending backwards to take out enemies behind him ala The Matrix. The weapons in Vanquish are all satisfying enough and can take out most enemies in a few bursts.

"It's an incredibly dated system..."


Vanquish's momentum hits a thud pretty quickly as it features very little character progression. The Sam that you start out as is the same Sam that you'll end the game with save for a few weapon upgrades. Even those upgrades though don't feel as they should as you'll find them by picking up items that enemies drop and not the result of any real decisions. It shouldn't matter much though as the game's enemies are all incredibly easy to take out, and the ones that aren't, can be taken out using the ARS' time manipulation effects. It's an incredibly dated system and feels incredibly out of place in what's an otherwise impressive game.

In the visual department, Vanquish is a treat. Featuring incredibly detailed, yet oddly clean worlds, it's easily one of the best looking games of the year. Those Matrix like maneuvers feature incredible animations, and you'll want to see them again and again. The game's true beauty though is in its particle effects - bullets and explosions take effect with brilliant explosions.

Sometimes with video games, we lose sight of what's really important - having fun; and Vanquish delivers in spades. Delivering a unique and fun experience, Vanquish is sure to provide a worthwhile experience for those who are willing to dive in head first and look past the game's faults. Though the game never reaches its obvious true potential, it's still an experience worth taking. 



CHEATS USED: Achievements/Trophies Lists, Unlockables

Vanquish is a bit too easy at some points - how about throwing it into God Hand Mode. Doing so makes enemies quite a bit harder to defeat (but not smarter) and makes for a bit more of a challenge. There's also the ability to unlock challenges when you defeat missions.

I'd love to see a cheat with unlimited ARS abilities, or unlimited ammo. It just seems like a missed opportunity here in Vanquish.



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