I don't know who would be responsible for changing the name of Vanquish. The unbelievably chaotic (I dare even use the word zany) 3rd-person shooter, developed by Platinum Games and distributed by SEGA has finally been picked up by my gamer radar (Gamedar?), and now the end of October seems an agonisingly long way away. I would argue that a title like Vanquish fails to differentiate the game from its competition as much as the snippet of gameplay on offer in the Velocity Attack Demo, released last week on Xbox Live and the Playstation Network managed to do. Perhaps something like Rocketkneeslider Rallies Against Russian Robots or (wait for it) Super Fun Happy Slide would be more fitting.
Videos don't seem to capture the madcap brilliance of Vanquish, at least not when compared to the unbridled glory of your first rocket slide. My first slide ended in tragedy (read: death), but the euphoric movement immediately arrested my attention. Perhaps the greatest surprise was how much control I had over my own fate, holding L2 to move smoothly between sources of cover or around my enemies. Just because I had rockets strapped to and around my ass, did not mean that I was slamming into walls in a pinball-esque frenzy. After a few minutes, I had mastered the art of propulsion and fun ultimately ensued.
The visuals are technically impressive due to sheer amount of shrapnel, robots and rockets flying on screen at one time. There were so many moments which made me cackle in nerdy delight. Whether it was when I first commandeered the Star Wars-inspired walkers or the ridiculously entertaining quick time event during the two-phase boss battle at the close of the demo; Vanquish is full of moments that are bound to illicit many a giddy thrill. For the Street Fighter Alpha fans out there, try rocket sliding into a melee attack. It is slightly Adon flavoured.
I have only three gripes with my first taste of Vanquish. Firstly, it was too short. I want more rocket-fuelled madness, and I want it soon (if not now). Second, the voice acting. Imagine Gears of War style, ham-fisted bravado without swearing. Simply put, it is not working for me at all. Last of all is the weapon selection. All the firearms available in the demo seem to be your usual shooter fare: shotguns, sniper rifles and various machine guns. There is no monkey-navigated missile, or equally wacky contraption to match your knee and ass rockets. With that said, I should note that all the standard weapons handled as expected.
My only fear is that this demo may be similar to that of John Woo's Stranglehold, where the game's primary mechanic was displayed effectively, yet failed to carry the full retail release. I played through the Stranglehold demo about 15 times, laughing maniacally each time I dispatched an enemy in slow-motion or shot them in a tender area using Precision Aim. While I am yet to play the Velocity Attack Demo as many times, it is making a lot of promises that I hope it can deliver on.
What did you all play this weekend?