Content of the article: "Just finished Vanquish, a game that’s been lying half-finished in my library for a year, and had a pretty good time."
I think "a pretty good time" is the best I can put it without getting long-winded, which I'm about to do anyway. The game has a couple of gimmicks: rocket sliding and slow-mo. Both of these are done extremely well. Everything else is… well, it's like they made the most average third-person shooter ever, shrank the campaign to 4 hours, and coded those two gimmicks in. The game should be average, but the two gimmicks elevate it to "a pretty good time".
The actual shooting is average, the enemy and weapon variety is average, the visual design is average, the art is average, the level design is average… Most of this game just kinda flies by. Please know that "average" here really does mean "average", not "bad" in disguise. These aspects of the game just don't stand out at all. They work great on a mechanical level, they're intuitive, I didn't encounter a single bug, etc. but they just didn't catch me.
The setpieces, though, were as good as I'd ask of the low-budget sci-fi action movies it seems to pay homage to. Have you ever seen Lockout? Vanquish is basically just the video game of that. The plot, the only thing in the game that I'd consider below average, is corny as hell with bad dialogue and hackneyed twists. It doesn't really drag the game down that much, though, serving well enough as a vehicle from setpiece to setpiece.
The rocket slide and slow-mo feel perfectly balanced, honestly. I never felt like I ran out at an unfair time or had too much. They're fun enough that it elevates the game well above average, especially along its very short playtime.
The pettiest nitpick I have is against the long-ass gondola rides. This game actually has the best gondola section I've ever played (the Burns bossfight), but there are a couple of gondola rides that should've just been a loading screen. You literally just stand there (or roll back and forth, in my case) while the gondola slides for like 4 minutes.
Overall, highly recommend, especially since it's consistently pretty cheap. For a game of its era, it's fantastic; by modern standards, it's "a pretty good time".
- Titanfall 2 aka I hate to admit it but the gamer bros were right on this one
- Dark Souls 1 can be pretty janky at times, but is still a must-play classic
- playing “The Hong Kong Massacre” has been the most dumb, exhilarating and stupid fun I had recently.
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