GAMETECH: Vanquish is sealed with a loving kitsch

The gameplay and graphics on the new Vanquish feel very fresh.

“You’re last year’s model,” Sam Gideon quips, as he throws a high-tech enemy from an airship. 

Now, Sam has become the outdated model, the star of a seven-year-old game, ancient history in this industry.

SEGA took a chance last week, releasing their super-suit, ’80s-inspired Japanese shooter Vanquish on PC, years after it had first been released on consoles. 

Back then, Vanquish was lost on a battlefield of grey and brown shooters, with Gears of War reloading in one corner and Call of Duty flanking in the other. But Vanquish didn’t belong on that battlefield — it belonged on the dance floor.

You see, Sam Gideon may look and sound like Solid Snake or a modern warfare soldier, but he moves like Mick Jagger in the Matrix, like a footballer celebrating a goal in zero gravity. While his arsenal is impressive, it’s his arse that really does all the work — it’s got a rocket built into it.

And using that rocket-powered rear-end, Sam Gideon slides from cover to cover at top speed, like a tank on an ice rink, surrounding enemies at will before launching out from behind cover and taking them out in slow motion. He’s a ballerina in ballistics, agymnast in grenade blasts.

Vanquish can be played like a normal third-person shooter, but it wasn’t intended as such. This is a Platinum Games creation and Platinum don’t do minimalistic. 

They do high-speed action with oodles of style. For some gamers, that’s where Vanquish may prove inaccessible. The premise is silly Japanese kitsch and you’ll either love it or hate it.

Russians have taken over a space station in the future and are threatening to use it to destroy the earth. 

Gideon puts on an ‘augmented reality suit’ and proceeds to punch giant robots in the face, literally bore them to death (he turns into a drill) and in one case, he catches an enemy rocket in mid-air and returns it right down the barrel from which it was fired.

“There are enemies in the adjacent building,” a remote team member warns Sam.

“There are enemies in EVERY building,” Sam quips back.

Vanquish gained cult status when it was first released and finally gets a second chance this week with its release on Steam. 

It’s still likely to divide people now which, for a seven-year-old game, is the best compliment it could receive. 

In fact, Vanquish might actually be modern gaming’s first truly worthy remaster — both the gameplay and graphics seem as contemporary and fresh now as they did then. 

Last year’s model? Tell that to Sam Gideon — if you see him coming.

FANTASY FINISHED

Vanquish still seems fresh today because nobody copied Sam Gideon’s rocket-powered arse and the dance of death it delivered. Final Fantasy XII, on the other hand, will have no such luck. 

Even when it was first released in 2006, the ‘unique’ battle system in Final Fantasy XII was really just a console take on massively multi-player online rpgs, whereby you programmed characters to take certain actions when certain conditions were met. 

At least, that’s how we remember it. Not many people liked the system then, partly because the accompanying story and characters were dry as a desert martini, and partly because the gambit system automated much of the combat. 

Since then, we’ve seen similar, less complicated systems be more entertaining in games like Xenoblade and even Final Fantasy XV. Final Fantasy XII gets a second chance to impress on July 11th, when it gets re-released on Ps4 and PC.

SWITCH HITTERS

Finally, Tiger Woods will be looking for (another) second chance after hitting the news for the wrong reasons this week. 

If you feel like creating a golfer more appealing to your sensibilities, then Golf Story might do the trick.

It’s a golf rpg in which all of life’s problems ‘can be solved by hitting a golf ball at them’. It looks a little bit like Stardew Valley but with clubs instead of spades. 

The trailer shows multiple towns and environments to explore and plenty of pixelated greens to target. 

The developers claim you can upgrade your skills and take on non-golfing challenges too. It’s only for ‘switch hitters’ though — Golf Story has only been announced for Nintendo Switch.


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