Sega knows how to make an arcade game. They’ve been doing it for a long time and Vanquish is no exception to the rule. It’s fast, fun and action-packed but don’t expect your first time through Vanquish to be anything but short and sweet.
The waiting game
There’s a reason I wait to buy video games. With very few exceptions, I try make it a point not to pay more than $30 for any video game. The $60 price tag on new games is just way too high to get much value. And don’t give me the games-vs-movies comparison; yes there’s a difference and video games are worth more, but value becomes relative at that point so you can’t really compare.
Vanquish was a game I knew I wanted. I had been reading about for a while before the demo was released, and it looked and sounded great. Then the demo came out and cemented by hunch that this was my kind of game. I was hoping to get Vanquish for Christmas but when that didn’t happen, I just had to be patient. I kept checking out GameStops are other used sellers waiting for that $30 price point. Best Buy eventually had it down at $40 and with a gift card I was able to pick it up on a Saturday night for under $30…and by Sunday evening I had completed the game.
Don’t blink, you might miss the game
But to be honest, I expected Vanquish to be a quick game. It’s a true run-n-gun game that has a pretty generic story of government deception (which includes Russians as the bad guys, which is always awesome) and you have your standard issue cut scenes taking you through the five levels of total robot shooting carnage. The pace is fast, the guns are plentiful and the action is intense. Vanquish is a challenging game…you’ll die a lot, but even with that challenge I had the game done in just around six hours.
Thankfully our games now have all the extra achievements, trophies and other secondary objectives that can keep you playing, but more than that, because the game was short I’m more willing to play the game again at a higher difficulty level. And if the “normal” setting was pretty hard, I can only imagine the trouble “hard” will have and then of course there is “god hard” difficulty, which should prove interesting.
Even with what may seem like an all too short game life, Vanquish is a ton of fun. Between your super suit and arsenal of weapons, it takes you a while to get your pattern down and truly use your powers to the best of your ability. Vanquish plays out like one of those movies that you don’t mind seeing again because you’ll be able to pick up more. Only this doesn’t apply to the story in Vanquish, but the game play and strategy. And like I mentioned, since the game is so short you know there’s not a mountain of time spend ahead of you. It’s not like you’re playing through Metal Gear again and there’s a good near-20 hours of play in front of you. Vanquish is fun and fast with little decision making, just how I like it.
Don’t let time spent be the judge
Vanquish also follows several of the Rules to a Good Game including quick deaths and restarts. There’s no elaborate cut scene when you die and no annoying cries of allies watching from afar. You die and you start where you left off. You do get punished when you die in terms of score deductions, but honestly, score seems to make little difference in Vanquish. There aren’t even any achievements that require or use score to accomplish. If anything, that might be the one thing I’d add to Vanquish…making score relevant. The game is fast and short enough that you can do play-throughs with a high score mindset.
The controls in Vanquish are pretty solid overall, but like many third-person games it can and does suffer from more camera movement when you get into the heat of battle. Your super suit does this bad ass slide move and while it’s a great tactic it is the one point where you’ll almost always suffer camera screwiness. Given how forgiving the game is with dying, I gave up yelling at the poor camera positions quickly.
Vanquish is another solid arcade style game from Sega that delivered in every way I was hoping. It makes me want to find more games like it and also makes me look forward to Vanquish 2, which hasn’t been announced but if the story is any clue there might be one. But even with all the fun and action, I can’t imagine paying $60 for it all. The $30 I paid is probably the right price point for Vanquish. If you find it for less, go ahead and grab it, or wait another couple months and it’ll be a $20 discount title. It’s a great game that if nothing else will fill the void between bigger, better releases. Don’t be surprised when you finish Vanquish in a weekend, but do take that weekend to enjoy what the video game market is often missing…great arcade games.