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    dkirschner's Vanquish (360)

    [January 14, 2012 06:06:04 AM]
    I found Vanquish on one of those "Best Games You've Never Heard Of" lists, which I love oh-so-much. Vanquish rules. It's apparently masterminded by some established Japanese designer. You can tell someone masterminded it, and that the person is an action/shooter mastermind indeed. Vanquish is a third-person shooter, a FAST third-person shooter. There's a cover system like Gears of War, and lots of guns too. The major difference between this and other shooters I've played is the booster pack. Your character is in this hi-tech experimental military armored battlesuit, like a good Japanese robot-man-mech protagonist. The suit has rocket boosters that let you slide around the battlefield on your back all John Woo-style, firing guns the whole way, like if you went on a Slip n Slide with a rocket launcher. It can be a little dizzying until you get used to controlling the speedy sliding mech-man, but once you get the hang of the orientation, it is tremendous fun. I found myself sliding circles around bosses, zipping from cover to cover, and careening toward enemies to jump up and melee them with a foot to the face. Each gun has a different melee move, and while they all do the same thing (1-hit kill on normal enemy soldiers) they have unique animations.

    The guns themselves bring an RPG element to the game since they are upgradeable. It's a neat system that I figured out early. You can equip four weapons at a time. You always have stun/frag grenades, and then the other 3 slots (right, up and down on the D-pad) you can equip whatever other guns you like. So, an example of the upgrade system: I have an assault rifle equipped that has half ammo. If I pick up another assault rifle, it completely fills the ammo. If I have full ammo and I pick up another assault rifle, I get a bar toward an upgrade for the assault rifle. Once I get enough bars, I get a star. When I get a star, the gun upgrades stuff like its fire rate, ammo capacity, or damage. Guns either upgrade to 5 stars or 10 stars. The damage boosts are only for the max level, as far as I could tell. The trick is that when you die, whatever gun you were using is knocked down a bar. This doesn't seem to *always* be the case, and I never figured out exactly how it worked, but I played with this assumption. So if I'm using a maxed out assault rifle and I die, I respawn with full ammo, but it's no longer maxed out, so I lose my damage boost. I thought around the problem of losing damage boosts by always keeping at least two max-level guns on hand. If I died using the assault rifle, and thus lost my damage boost, I'd respawn and equip the other gun I had maxed out, usually the heavy machine gun. I maxed both these guns out ASAP and had them maxed for at least half the game. A 50% damage boost makes a huge difference!

    The style of the world and the character designs are awesome. The game takes place not too far in the future where a Russian extremist group led by the antagonist launches a nuke and destroys San Fransisco to spark nuclear war with the US. Your character is this elite DARPA operative, and you go to a Russian orbital space colony with a ton of US Marines and have to rescue this scientist who is the one that developed some particular technology that powers your battlesuit and powers various weapons the Russians are going to use. You've got to stop the Russians from forcing him to launch more nukes and avoid war. The colony itself looks amazing. I cannot stress how amazing the colony looks, like the distant cityscape of this orbital colony is one of the coolest things I've ever seen realized in a game, movie, or artwork. And the fighting going on inside the colony is dynamic. There's always a spaceship crashing or a building blowing up beside you, things happening in the distance. It's very cool, and the pace that the game moves you is so fast (it slows down a bit in the last third or so), that you're just playing it in this GO GO GO! mindset. The enemies are generally standard cannon fodder, as are your endless AI Marine allies, but the beefier enemies pack a punch and provide a challenge, at least before you get all leveled up. By the end I was mostly just unloading 1000 assault rifle rounds at +50% damage into their faces and winning. Some of the enemies were more challenging though, like the first couple times you face these giant Soviet transformer bot things, or the mobile fight against the Marine commander.

    When I beat the game, it gave me some stats. It took me 6 hours, 44 minutes. This "cover usage" stat I was never completely sure of. Does it mean I spent 19.12% of my time in cover or that I used 19.12% of the available cover throughout the game? I died 38 times. 595 friendly marines died in battle. I admit to letting many of them get wounded on purpose because when you revive them, they drop a gun for you. Many of those I let become wounded just went on to die. Sad! I assisted 33 friendlies. This is totally higher because it doesn't count all the times I assisted people and then died. So technically all these numbers are higher. I killed 942 enemies. I destroyed 8 secret statues. At the credits, there is a space shooting minigame where you shoot all the staffs' faces that are plastered on asteroids. I shot 76 developers.

    Highly highly recommend this one.
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    dkirschner's Vanquish (360)

    Current Status: Finished playing

    GameLog started on: Thursday 8 December, 2011

    GameLog closed on: Thursday 12 January, 2012

    dkirschner's opinion and rating for this game

    So far this game is incredible. It's really fast shooting and movement, kind of hard to keep up at first.........Yeah, beautiful, fast, fun shooter. Highly recommend.

    Rating (out of 5):starstarstarstarstar

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