There are only a few words to describe Vanquish and it is better described as an Interactive Sci-Fi Movie. From beginning to end the game does not let you take a breather as you are constantly shooting robots to save the US from another attack which can kill millions of civilians. Vanquish has all the elements of a great sci-fi shooter which takes you to the edge of your seat.
As the game begins you are required to complete a series of training exercise which gets you going with the control scheme. You are only required to complete the first training and then you can choose to skip it to continue with the story. However for those of you that collect achievement you might want to stay behind and complete the training as there is a trophy for completing said training.
It doesn't take long for the game to catch your attention. As the game begins a space station which is used to harvest solar energy is used to destroy the city of San Francisco. As the beam of light hits it begins to destroy building and literally cooking people. People are squashed by the falling debris and blow up by the heat of the weapon. San Francisco practically gets destroyed and that's when the game begins.
You assume the role of Sam who is equipped with a new state of the art armor Augmented Reaction Suit. You are teamed up with Robert Burns, the one in charge of Bravo team. Their mission is to stop the Russian Federation from destroying cities and killing innocent people. However Sam's mission is to save a Hostage who was taken by the Russians while working on site when the space station was attacked.
Taking control of the suit is not difficult. Vanquish is probably one of the easiest games to just pick up and play without learning any sort of combination just to pull off one move. Sam can carry up to 3 weapons with the 4th carry on being grenades. The best weapons combination to carry is the Assault Rifle, Heavy Machine Gun and a Rocket Launcher as the Rocket Launcher helps with boss battles later on in the game. As you proceed through the game you can collect upgrades for the weapon that Sam is holding . Each Upgrade can either upgrade the Ammo capacity, reload speed or shooting. There are also Easter eggs located within the game in the form of an old man trophy which if you shoot they get mad, turn red and switch postures. I still have no idea what the meaning behind those statues are.
The suit of armor also gives Sam the ability to glide through an area and activate bullet time whenever you aim towards an enemy. Bullet time is also activated when you have taken a lot of damage and are in the brink of death or when you jump over your caver area. Bullet time is an awesome feature as time slows when it's activated you can see grenades and missiles coming at you which give you the time to blow them up.
The developers at Sega wanted to throw in some type of arcade system with Vanquish and this is done via a score that is calculated at the end of the level and added to your overall score. You are graded on how many fellow soldiers were killed in battle, how many times you died and how many enemies have you killed as well as your coverage percentage. You will always have control of who dies in the game as each fallen comrade will display a help icon when they are down. However they will die as soon as there is a big explosion around them. You will get rewarded bonus points for beating the Act within a certain time limit but you will also loose points if you lose a life or if many of the Bravo members die.
The FMV does a great job at introducing the events happening in the current Act. With so much action going on as well as the FMV you would think you are playing an interactive Sci-Fi movie which not many games can claim now a days. The action is non-stop which means you will always be at the edge of your seat when playing. The soundtrack to the game matches well with the events going on the screen and the sound effects are almost true to life. While the same can't be said about voice acting, you do have to keep in mind that this is in fact a Sci-Fi game and while most people won't admit it, it does match the mood of the game. My only complaint is that Sega didn't spend much time working on the voice over as you will notice in game characters lips moving even before or after their dialogue line has ended. However we are talking about a split second of difference and isn't normally noticeable unless you are looking for that imperfection.
There are a few noticeable bugs within Vanquish which are comical than anything. The voice over being one and a soldier stuck inside an open ship with an open gate is another. However no one can argue with the performance of the game. With all that action going on screen there are no slowdowns and the game will always perform well. That cannot be said about the AI though. While Bravo team is there mostly for show and support they will always die and it's rare that they kill any of the enemies. However they do understand basic commands like when aiming in front of them they duck because they don't want to get shot.
The lack of online play will keep some players from playing Vanquish, but if you want a non-stop action shooter that will keep your heart bumping from start to finish, Vanquish is your game. The normal campaign will only last 4 to 5 hours but if you're a trophy nut or if you wish to go back and try a harder difficulty you can always take that challenge.
If the developers would have added online play and made the campaign a little longer Vanquish would have been a perfect game. However what you get is enough to enjoy the game and keep coming back to it. While there are a few know issues with the game, there is nothing that will ruin your entertainment. Vanquish will most definitely keep you entertained for a while if you're willing to invest time in it. The cinematic experience is enough to keep users coming back and the action will make them stay.
Total Score: 87/100