I had seen pictures and video of Vanquish before and after it released. It looked interesting at a glance, but not something I was going to plunk any money down on to play. Shooters are not exactly hard to come by.
Then Vanquish came out several months ago as a PlayStation Plus freebie - and boy am I glad it did. It is a short but fun ride that I would purchase a sequel to if it came out. You play the part of a soldier in a very enhanced cyber suit that gives you a variety of combat and movement options. The story is nothing special, but the combat is worth the price of admission.
Graphics - 8:
Action is a constant. With all of the moving parts, gunfire and overall detail in both character models and environment, I was amazed that the game did not suffer from slowdown. The framerate holds up beautifully though, and lets you focus on what Vanquish wants you to do - shoot things and make them blow up.
Sound & Music - 7:
The voice acting gets the job done, but neither the story or the characters are terribly interesting. As a result, I seldom cared what was being said. There is a short of thrumming techno background sound in most of the levels that fits nicely, and things blow up and zap convincingly and given some of the impressive set pieces where combat takes place, those explosions are a treat.
Gameplay - 9:
Vanquish is an entertaining shooter. On those merits alone, this game is better than a lot of others. There is an interesting if somewhat simple upgrade system that adds a sense of character progression while you play. On top of that, Vanquish throws a lot of weapons and powerups your way. Best of all, there is a 'boost' system where you can zoom around the field of combat, invoking a Matrix-like slow motion effect that simply put, is a lot of fun.
Intangibles - 6:
There is no New Game Plus, there is no online, and the ride is over in about eight hours. Vanquish is a lot of fun - but it is a short-lived affair. There is a challenge mode that you can try once the story is done, but it really does not add much life to the title. On top of that, the story is not terribly interesting, nor are the characters themselves.
Vanquish is what it is: a fun, fast shooter that I beat in a single day. I enjoyed it and would love to see a sequel come out, but I doubt I ever will. The audio and video is solid and the action is better-than-solid. I just wish it had a bit more meat on its bones because the experience is over far too quickly.