It's All in the Threads


I think I can speak for everyone who attended E3 when I say that Vanquish rocked the Sega booth. This third-person shooter from Platinum Games looks promising from nearly every angle. The E3 demo shows just how far a single innovative combat mechanic can go; if Shinji Mikami's team can keep the combat fresh and the missions varied, Vanquish could be an earthshaking success.

Vanquish is set in the future, as indicated by the screenshots. Russia and the United States are now at war. The Russians are in possession of an American space station that is capable of harvesting the sun's energy. Using that energy, the Russians are able to transform San Francisco into a smoldering hole in the ground.

You play as Sam Gideon, a member of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and a full-time chain smoker. Sam and a team of Marines have been tasked with the recovery of the space station. The stakes are very high: New York is next on the Russians' collective hit list. So, Sam is fitted with the Augmented Reaction Suit, DARPA's latest prototype in battlesuit technology. This suit kicks so much ass that it may very well be the only thing Sam needs to get the job done. Well, that and an absurd amount of firepower that is actually integrated into the suit.

At first, combat feels similar to that in other third-person shooters, but that's only until the player learns how to use the suit. By holding a button, Sam can activate the jet propulsion modules, allowing him to enter Augmented Reaction (AR) Mode. In this mode, he can skid across the battlefield on his knees at an extremely high speed, perform melee attacks that send him into swan backflips, and perform graceful vaults over cover. This technique is awesome, not simply because it looks insane or because it helps Sam get from cover to cover. You see, if Sam readies his weapon while he's in AR Mode, he enters bullet time. This gives him the edge, even if the battle is hot and deadly. AR Mode cannot be abused, however; like all pieces of machinery, the Augmented Reaction Suit can overheat. If Sam pushes the suit too hard, he will be forced to put up with a cooldown period before he can zip around again.

At E3, Platinum Games proved that they at least have a strong foundation for Vanquish. The game already plays like a dream and is gorgeous to look at. We're hoping the rest of the game turns out the same way, and with Platinum at the helm, we know it is in good hands. Vanquish will be coming to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, and it should be on store shelves this holiday season.