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Toggled Review

Vanquish Demo review
By Cozmic

Sometimes all you have to go on for a game are trailers, and then you end up spending $60 (or, god forbid, euros, making everything even more expensive) on something that looked really cool and turned out to be full of infuriating little things. This is why demos are great! They let you try out a game for your own and decide if all those things a critic says bothers him or likes are as annoying as they say. Or they will carefully hide all of that stuff by only showing you a very select part of a game, but that is what marketing is all about.
Vanquish, for those who do not know, is a third person cover-based shooter starring an American space marine in heavy armor fighting Russians and it also has slow-motion effects. Sounds incredibly original, right? Actually, Vanquish stops feeling like generic cover-based shooter #3586 (or might it be 87?) right off the bat. The team behind Vanquish is Platinum Games, the studio that brought you Bayonetta earlier this year. To top it off, the main man behind Vanquish is Shinji Mikami, whose main claim to fame is being the man behind the Resident Evil series. So when a Japanese team known for insane action take on something like a third-person shooter, crazy things happen. Like the fact that Sam Gideon, Vanquish's main character, has rockets on his armor. No, this is not Tribes, and there is in fact no way to actually leave the ground or navigate things heightwise except to clamber over them like in most other cover-shooters. However, sprinting is for wussies when you can rocketboost around (and actually turn, might I add!) only to give someone a swift kick to the face. Vanquish is not slow and methodical like Gears of War, Vanquish is completely nuts, and I say that in a good way. The animation is fluid and the design is “Japan does robots” in the really good way. Instead of carrying several weapons, Sam's weapon simply morphs to replicate other weapons, and the effect is pretty cool.
The Vanquish demo lets you play one of the missions on “casual auto” or normal difficulty, and there is also a tutorial to make you acquainted with the various controls and Vanquish's boost meter. The boost meter allows you to either boost around the level for a bit or evade attacks and activate slow-motion, allowing you to see enemy weakspots and take your time in aiming. The slow-mo also activates when you are low on health, giving you time to react and run away, find cover or just shoot whoever is killing you in the face. This is all well and good, and during my playthrough of the level on normal I noticed that simply because Vanquish gives you all these new fun ways to shoot stuff (boost and shoot stuff, it's awesome!) it doesn't necessarily mean that using cover is completely unnecessary. Combat was quick and fast-paced, and the weapons are quite fun.
There was a giant robot I could steal and shoot missiles with after killing the previous driver, something I was not expecting from the tutorials. There were some really hard-killed enormous dudes who required me to shoot them in the head, something that proved difficult because Vanquish moves much quicker than, say, Gears of War and aiming is still quite tricky with an analog stick. The “casual auto” difficulty somewhat remedies this by locking on to specific targets in a way that does not take away the need to aim entirely but also makes for an easier experience when it comes to shooting moving targets. This is also where the slo-mo shows some problems. To activate slow-motion you have to evade and then aim, but I always did the mistake of taking aim and then trying to activate it, resulting in my standing outside cover and moving far too slowly while trying to get in a few well-placed hits.
Things got worse when I faced the giant boss, which had the habit of destroying most of the cover and during my first attempt to beat it I also ran out of ammo. Then the fact that the game activated slo-mo when the enemy damaged me enough meant that I had to wait for the boost-meter to fill up to full until I could boost away from instant kill attacks, something that did not sit quite right with me. Summary: that boss is surprisingly hard for a demo. It should be noted that your boost meter also drains fully whenever you perform a melee attack, which means you can't melee through a horde of enemies either. All in all, Vanquish feels like a solid, fun and original game, but there are these tiny peeves that I felt in the demo (like the fact that your ammo counter is simply a small bar under your gun, which takes some getting used to) or the boost meter draing to epmty whenever you get damaged enough, that did not entirely sell me on the game as much as Vanquish should have. But as a 700 MB download for the PS3 and Xbox, it is definitely worth checking out to decide whether you should start anticipating Vanquish's October 19th release(Octiber 22nd in Europe).

Past Society: Grey Xphile Tape- Lindsay Lohan.

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