E3 2010 Preview: VanquishBy Joe Rybicki - Posted Jun 18, 2010
What We Already Know:
The basic story: In the near future, the earth's resources have been almost completely depleted, and the world's superpowers are fighting over the scraps. The Russians have captured a huge U.S. space station and turned it into a weapon, vaporizing San Francisco as a show of their new power. Now, the U.S. Marines have been sent in to show those Russkies who's boss.
What We're Seeing Now:
A seriously bad-ass-looking third-person shooter. Players take the role of Sam Gideon, a scientist who's developed a superpowered exoskeleton called the AR Suit, for "augmented reaction." He's been sent up to the space station along with the Marines to help take charge of the situation.
And his powers -- or rather, the suit's powers -- are many. It can boost-slide along the ground, knocking down enemies in the process. It can scan enemy weapons and recreate them for its own use (the weapon morphing animations are particularly cool). It can even dramatically boost Gideon's reaction time, creating an effect like slowing down time -- not quite bullet time, because Gideon's actions slow down with everyone else's, but it can stretch out moments to allow for careful targeting of enemies. In fact, when the suit is badly damaged, it tries to protect itself by automatically flooding Gideon's system with the reaction time-boosters, allowing him to take out or run away from the current threat.
In practice, this seems to give the game a nice mix of frantic action and periodic pauses. And the suit's other abilities provide for interesting gameplay elements, too: The boost feature, for example, allows Gideon to dash from one cover point to another, quickly advancing on the enemy without putting himself in harm's way.
This is a Platinum Games production, so it should come as no surprise that it's loaded with over-the-top set pieces and effects. One level that was being shown only behind closed doors featured Gideon and the Marines attempting to storm their way up a steep hillside while a giant, spider-like mech tore off bits of buildings and threw them down the hill. Having to dodge a flying tower while blasting away at enemies made it clear that this game comes from the same source as Bayonetta.
Part of the unique style comes from the game's space-station setting. This is no cramped Mir, but rather a vast, rotating cylinder lined with houses, farms, and buildings. So the game is continually presenting interesting, unique vistas. But like Bayonetta, it looks like you'll be lucky if you get a free moment to appreciate the visuals, since you'll be awfully busy taking out enemies, dashing from cover to cover, tracking down useful new weapons, and performing various feats of cybernetic-enhanced acrobatics.
Luckily, it won't be too much longer before you'll be able to experience this yourself: The game is expected to hit in October.