E3 Impressions – Vanquish

Vanquish
Vanquish is the new title from Platinum Games that SEGA is publishing on Xbox 360 and PS3 in October 2010. Producer Atsushi Inaba, who used to head Clover Studio (Viewtiful Joe, Okami, God Hand, etc.), co-founded Platinum Games where he has since worked on Bayonetta, Infinite Space, and MadWorld with Resident Evil creator Shinji Mikami.

At the show I was lucky enough to be in a closed-door setting where Inaba demoed his new 3rd-person shooter for Gamesugar.


Vanquish
In the game, Sam Gideon is a research scientist who develops a battle suit that gives him faster reflexes and superhuman strength to help fight for the planet’s depleting energy resources. I asked Inaba what his influences were for the art direction and he said that he and his development team grew up watching a lot of Japanese anime, whose influences reflect in the game in a hyper-realistic way.

He wanted to show a sci-fi vision of the future by juxtaposing robots and robot-types in a realistic-type setting, rather than in an anime world. So, imagine it like this: rip a picture of a Gundam robot from a magazine and glue it to one of your family pictures. That’s Vanquish. Then, take that same robot and glue it to one of your anime books. That’s not Vanquish. Get it?

The speed and tempo of the game creates a heightening tension when mixed with action and shooting. Watching the demo made it hard not to cringe from moments of intensity and shout out at the television like a backseat gamer. The game even presents a vertical battlefield, where danger comes from above, adding an upper dimension to 3rd-person shooters.

Vanquish
Inaba explained three systems unique to Vanquish as a shooter:

The boost system takes the dash idea from action games – your character slides around the ground to dodge gunfire and to quickly advance through the stage.

The suit Sam wears has a blade system, which is a battlefield adaptable weapons pod that replicates weapons after they are scanned. The animation of the weapon replication is very cool. While flipping through your weapons, they disappear like holograms, quickly materializing into the next weapon in your arsenal.

And then there’s the Augmented Reaction (AR) system, which slows down time, giving you more opportunity to react and analyze the frenetic battlefield. Damage can still be taken while engaging the AR system, but enemies’ attacks and weapons slow down, giving the player time to strategize the plan of attack and regenerate health. There is no health gauge in the game. Like other shooters, you’re in an ambiguous health state as long, so as you’re not taking too much damage, you’re fine. If you take too much damage at once, the screen turns red and the AR system activates, slowing down time as a last chance to replenish.

With an October release, the title’s most direct 3rd-person shooter competition is Mindjack (Square Enix/feelplus – October 2010) and Quantum Theory (Tecmo Koei Games/Tecmo – Fall 2010) at the moment.

Aside from the pace of action, Vanquish’s added edge seems to be how the game retains a very anime essence to it on that battlefield, rather than trying to be overly realistic like most Western shooters.

The game already looks and feels much better than the competition, but I’d look forward to getting more hands-on time with Vanquish before release to get a real sense on how the controls feel, and to try out the cover mechanic and melee combat.

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  • http://www.reverbnation.com/ujnhunter Ujn Hunter

    Thanks for this write-up! I can’t wait to get my paws on this game… ::drool::