Ef You Treyarch...

PlatinumMadness – Vanquish – 2010

“Nothing like a smoke to remember you’re alive”.
- Sam Gideon DARPA

After dodging death for the trillionth time player character Sam Gideon states this gospel hanging by a thread one handed prior to lighting a cigarette. For potential players that quote sums everything thematically about Vanquish.

Battle.Defeat.Mastery

Vanquish technically has a plot but it’s entirely recommended to be ignored. The game plays as a love letter to Gears of War showing it’s possible to take that type of game and do something different. Everything about Vanquish is Seriously Absurd but also Seriously Fun.

In comparison to Bayonetta (PlatinumGames last title) don’t worry about playing this one with friends around. Vanquish is more popcorn movie then  PG-13 soft-core porn. Vanquish is full of parody, self-seriousness, and meta jokes making everything easy to digest but still keeping the Japanese Madness.

One area where Vanquish makes a clear improvement over Bayonetta is with statistic tracking. The Final Results screen is a work of art. These stats are from my first playthough completed on “Hard” difficulty.

Space Score: 8640
Total Score: 146590
Mission Time: 8:52:00
Cover Usage: 22.13%
Distance Traveled: 65303
Munitions Fired: 69428
Deaths: 143
Confirmed Friendlies KIA: 472
Wounded Friendlies Assisted:26
Confirmed Kills: 1081
Pangloss Statues Destroyed: 16
Developers Destroyed: 75

On the leaderboards as of Tuesday, June 28, 2011 on the Hard difficulty my total score ranked 12,068 out of 16,094 people. The highest score shown is 694230 and the lowest score was -112520. 84 people have finished the God Hard mode, the games highest difficulty.

As the player you fight enemies, kick their ass, all the while maximizing and honing your abilities. Never has a game better named itself based on its definition origin. With no multiplayer this would be a hard pickup to stomach for $60 but Toys R’ Us and Gamestop set MSRP at $20 so Vanquish is a great weekend pickup.

UPDATE: So after work today I ended up finishing Vanquish again. Was mostly planning on picking up a few simple achievements before dinner but decided to try and get the Living Legend Achievement. It’s a piece of cake to earn with a trick but still a blast to get playing on Casual. Ended up skipping all the cut scenes, put on some podcasts on my iPod and blew though the game real quick.

Space Score: 10240
Total Score: 428240
Mission Time: 3:27:03
Cover Usage: 9.86%
Distance Traveled: 31995
Munitions Fired: 26445
Deaths: 0
Confirmed Friendlies KIA: 403
Wounded Friendlies Assisted:20
Confirmed Kills: 1222
Pangloss Statues Destroyed: 27
Developers Destroyed: 78

On the leaderboards for Casual I rank as of Wednesday, June 29, 2011  50th  of 25,230. Highest score was 641590, lowest score was -231410. I love that you can finish this game with a negative score. Watching the credits a second time I caught that apparently Capt Aceveda was a voice actor in Vanquish.

Category: Video Games

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