Easter Eggs: Vanquish

By Andrew Ogley, 3 years ago
Welcome to Easter Eggs, where the TA Team shines the spotlight on games that many gamers might have missed, perhaps hidden away behind the millionth copy of Call of Duty or FIFA. Much like a gamer who finds an Easter Egg hidden away in a game and proceeds to trumpet it from the highest hills and forums, the TA Team is going to be featuring these Easter Egg games on the front page for all to see.
It can be hard to find the ideal launch window for any title and when SEGA released Vanquish back in October 2010, they found themselves releasing between Halo: Reach in September and Call of Duty: Black Ops in November. With such triple-A titles garnering all of the publicity and attention, a new and under-publicised IP in the shooter genre was bound to be overlooked and, sadly, Vanquish fell victim to this.

Looking back, the irony is that Vanquish would have tested the mettle of fans of either of these games, and shooters in general. Vanquish is a shooter like no other.

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The Basics

Vanquish is a third-person, cover-based shooter. The story is set in a dystopian future in which man has been forced to colonise space to escape the overpopulation of the earth. However, one of the orbiting space colonies has been taken over by a faction of the Russian military named "Russian Star" who have proceeded to weaponise the space station and have subsequently used the microwave weapon to obliterate San Francisco and wipe it from the face of the earth.

The United States sends a task force to retake its space colony, including the player assuming the role of Sam Gideon, a DARPA researcher who is wearing his own newly created Augmented Reaction Suit (ARS) which is to be put through extensive field testing during the station's recapture. Additionally, Sam also has a secondary, secret mission to fulfil using his new high-powered battle armour.

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The Hook

Vanquish takes all of the elements of futuristic, Japanese sci-fi/manga and animation and fuses it all together, bringing it to life in a stylish, virtual battleground. The player is dropped squarely in the middle of it all and is thrown repeatedly into gloriously-explosive, over-the-top battles and action sequences. During the most intensive fights, there doesn't seem to be any screen area that isn't occupied by flames, deadly projectiles, lasers, rockets, grenades, giant robots, or explosions.

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There is only one strategy that applies to Vanquish, and that is to keep on the move and move fast. For a game that touts cover-based gameplay, it paradoxically and aggressively forces the player to keep moving, scrambling for cover wherever it still remains. Grenades bounce around covering walls and death rays threaten to scorch their way through any minimal cover. The game demands that the player run for cover at one moment, and subsequently abandon it in the next. On that front, it's how the player is able to move that really steals the show. Within movement, the ARS becomes a star in its own right, levelling the playing field when the player is facing overwhelming odds, and becoming the game changer on the battlefield.

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Outwardly, the suit resembles a hybrid cross between the Crysis nanosuit, Robocop, and a silver clad metallic knight from Arthurian legends, albeit with some strategically placed thrusters, and fluorescent lighting to finish the effect. It's the rocket thrusters that enable to the player to powerslide across the battle areas, propelled at speed between cover. Traversal of the battle arena is rocket powered with the environment becoming motion blurred as you race past it at high speed. The suit also comes equipped with the Augmented Reaction feature, a sort of bullet time, that can be activated either manually, or automatically in extreme circumstances. The ability to combine the two extremes of motion and time during any battle is what sets the game apart. It's those moments when the player can scream across the combat arena one second and yet trigger slow motion in another that enables the player to take control during the most intense battles, even when facing foes the size of apartment blocks on legs.

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Of course, all of this power comes at a price. Use the powerslide or the augmented reaction mode too much and the suit will drain of power and eventually overheat, requiring a cooldown period before it recharges. During this period the player is left vulnerable with little armour protection, so the careful and measured usage of the suit power is required, leaving the player to balance the suit's resources whilst keeping on the move.

The Achievements

As expected there is a good spread of achievements covering the usual story progression and completion at various levels of difficulty, weapon usage, and melee attacks. There are also a number of achievements linked to performing special actions during specific chapters within the game. A compulsory collectible achievement is included for shooting all of the Pangloss statues during the campaign, which could take some time. However, the killer achievement is the completion of all of the special challenges that can be unlocked. Typical of Platinum, the last challenge is damn near impossible to complete and can thwart even the most determined of gamers, with only 2% of our community having unlocked it.

The Stats

22,155 tracked gamers have this game and 512 have completed it (2.31%) with most gamers peaking at 48 out of the 50 achievements.

Currently our community rating is 4.0 out of 5 (2479 votes) and Metacritic score of 84.

The Price

Currently the game is available for $24 from Amazon (US) and £15 from Amazon (UK); $19.99/£14.99 digital download from the marketplace.

The Verdict

Vanquish remains a title that leaves the player breathless after every battle due to its ferocity and intensity. Not being restrained by modern day realism, the game excels in its over-the-top futuristic firefights. Considering the speed at which the battles are fought and the sense of urgency they create, there is simply no title in this current generation of consoles that comes close to matching the mayhem. Clever use of the ARS armor becomes a joy, empowering the player and becoming the key art of war within the game. Every player that has ever survived the campaign on the harder settings will remember the challenge and the sense of achievement that completion eventually brings. A truly memorable title for all of the right reasons.

If there's a game you'd like to see featured in Easter Eggs, be sure to let us know in the comments!
Andrew Ogley
Written by Andrew Ogley
Andrew has been writing for TA since 2011 covering news, reviews and the occasional editorials and features. One of the grumpy old men of the team, his mid-life crisis has currently manifested itself in the form of an addiction to sim-racing - not being able to afford the real life car of his dreams. When not spending hours burning simulated rubber, he still likes to run around, shoot stuff and blow things up - in the virtual world only of course.