Vanquish Remastered Review

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Posted February 17, 2020 by Kyle Simcox in Video Games

As much as I hate to admit this, back in 2010 when it was originally released, I actually decided to pass on Platinum Games’ fast paced, third-person shooter, Vanquish. If I’m being completely honest, I wasn’t(and still not mostly) a fan of games that grade you on performance and that distaste actually caused me to skip out on Bayonetta too. However, I’m older now and I’m much more open to new things, even revisiting the games I once turned my back on to give them another chance. So in saying that, 2020 seems like as good a time as ever to once again try my hand at Bayonetta and Vanquish thanks to Platinum Games’ remastered bundle releasing on February 18th and I have the pleasure of reviewing Vanquish on the PS4.

In Vanquish, space Russian’s have hijacked a colony satellite capable of harnessing the suns energy and launched a devastating attack on the United States of America by using the satellite’s microwave transmitter against the city of San Francisco. Demanding the USA kneel before the might of the the Order of the Russian Star, the president basically throws down the gauntlet and that’s where you come in. Sam Gideon is a DARPA agent sent along with an old mentor and an entire army of space marines to reclaim the satellite and save the world from Russian rule.

The story is just as cheesy and generic as it sounds but it’s honestly what makes it so irresistibly entertaining. It’s a game that wants to be an 80’s action movie set in space with many of it’s story beats being quite predictable and you can’t help but fall in love them with them. For instance, at one point in the beginning of the game, your informed about a group of troop convoys coming your way to provide reinforcements. When the convoy shows up, the player learns one truck was destroyed and the other experienced mechanical failure so Sam’s mentor just casually confirms that all that just sounds right given the situation and proceeds along with the mission.

While it might seem like it at first, you’ll quickly learn that Vanquish isn’t your typical third-person shooter. Each level feels like a pretty basic shooter but in actuality, there’s a lot going on at any given moment and it’s all very chaotic. Armed with the experimental BLADE system and an Augmented Reaction Suit, Sam is a one man army and you have to rely on the suits abilities to keep kicking robotic ass. Gun fights are frantic and while you zip around the level slowing down time with Sam’s adrenaline boost, you need to keep a close eye on your suits power level. Exert too much power and you’ll overheat the suit and overheating the suit can have dire consequences. Not only are you locked out using your abilities but the suit will automatically trigger your adrenaline boost should you be on the brink of death as a get out of jail free card.

Robot’s can feel the power of Sam’s one-two punch at the cost of overheating your suit.

I played Vanquish on Normal mode and I found that the game is actually somewhat challenging. It’s easy for Sam to get flanked by the enemy and the enemy AI is always looking to outflank you. I often found myself in a bad position and even utilizing the games cover system didn’t help. Some enemies are also just big enough and tough enough to leisurely stroll up to Sam and straight up blast him out of cover too so you need to stay on your toes and on the move. I will say that I absolutely love the attention to detail in the games cover system. There’s a lot of environmental objects players can use to find cover from enemy fire, even to the point where Sam actually lays down on the ground and tries to make himself as small a target as possible. It’s a really cool detail that you don’t ever really see in other cover based shooters.

Moving on to where the remasters matter the most, the game looks great and runs smoothly in 4k at 60fps. During the tutorial, there was a problem with the shadows that were cast on Sam’s suit but I only ever noticed it in the tutorial area and never once during the campaign. Level design is also done well with a lot of cover, chests and hidden items to find. The load times are also basically non-existent on current gen consoles which was nice because I died quite a few times during each act. Acts are broken up by parts and each part is chained together seamlessly so you spend most of your time in between a level listening to dialogue or watching a cutscene instead of dealing with a load screen. Sound design is on point here as well with each gunfight being filled with guns, explosions, the screams of your comrades and who knows what else when it comes parading onto the battlefield. My biggest complaint is that Steve Blum isn’t the voice of Sam. Looking at Sam, it’s who I envision but he also does a good job at voicing Sam’s mentor, Lieutenant Colonel Burns.

I’m happy to have had the chance to go back and give Vanquish another shot. It’s an incredibly fun and fast paced shooter. Even though the gameplay feels slightly dated in some areas, the game runs extremely well for a 10 year old game. Let’s not forget that you can buy the Bayonetta and Vanquish remastered bundle for a pretty great price so if you’re a fan of Platinum or just want to get into either game, now has never been a better time.

WeTheNerdy gives Vanquish Remastered 9 Russian space robots out of 10.

Pros:
Runs perfectly
Loading is almost non-existent
Chaotics, fun action

Cons:
Corny narrative
Gameplay does feel slightly dated


About the Author

Kyle Simcox