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Platinum Games struck gold earlier this year when they released Bayonetta. It took what had become a stale genre of "hack, slash, repeat" and breathed new life into it with intense, over-the-top action. Now they’re looking to apply that same sort of innovation to the third-person shooter genre with their upcoming, heavily animé-influenced Vanquish. A sci-fi action-packed experience that’s set to once again bring innovatation to and reinvigorate a market weighed down in sequels and clones.
[image1]While most American games in the genre are filled with hyper-aggressive, sluggish jocks, like Marcus and Dom from Gears of War, this Japanese title has a scrawny, nerdy fella named Sam Gideon piloting his very own homemade super suit. So instead of a slow, lumbering, "blow everything to kingdom come" experience, you can expect a much faster pace here.
Sam is a fella who has somewhat reluctantly joined up with the military, after the Russians attempted to invade America. After all, he’s a man of science, not a soldier, but when terrorists attack the U.S. and blow up San Francisco using a floating satellite, he knows it’s time to take a side and lay down some justice, A/V Club style. So he puts on his cyber-pants and gets to unleashing the punishment.
Once again proving that robo-gear is freakin’ awesome, the suit grants you some cool combat abilities like built-in boosters for dashing around and melee moves that you can combo together with your “Augmented Reaction Mode”, which is their form of bullet time or witch time. Call it whatever you want, just rest assured that it makes for some of the most bad-ass real-time in-game sequences, like leaping out from behind cover, boosting into a pinko in a cyber-suit then doing a kick-flip off his chest and going directly into A.R. Mode while flying through the air and plugging him in the head with a couple slugs before landing. (Times five.)
[image2]You’ll also get a slew of super cool guns, like the sniper rifle and disc launcher that morphs out of this neat little ball in your right hand that can be augmented by upgrades as you progress. You will be able to switch between three weapons on the fly, while throwing EMPs and grenades. If you ever run out of ammo, you can pick up weapons from fallen mechs as well as upgrades in the form of giant green cubes.
Vanquish is shaping up to be another game changer, just like its big sister, by finding a way to seamlessly blend modern console gaming principles with classic fast-paced arcade action. We won’t know until October if Vanquish actually lives up to its hype, but from what we saw at E3, this one’s already looking damn impressive. [It’s actually my pick for Best for E3. ~Ed. Nick] And as a Bay Area native I’m always excited to see what creative new ways companies can come up with to blow up my backyard. Even if it is a bit more futuristic than the real thing. Look for it on 360 and PS3 later this year.