Vanquish is Visceral

The last few days have seen a bevy of new information released for Platinum Game’s upcoming third-person shooter Vanquish, and we’re here to tell you all about the new details.

“I wanted people to really feel the action going on during the game” said lead designer Shinji Mikami, in a recent fan-interview. This idea is key, as it sets precedent for all the mechanics we’re about to detail for you. Vanquish is meant to be, above all, a ‘crunchy’ game.

As such, it seems as no surprise that taking damage has been entwined into the core mechanics of the game. Vanquish may feature a cover-based system, but don’t let that fool you: you’re going to get shot often. That much may be apparent when you take a look at any random screenshot, and notice its overzealous visual flair. IGN describes this as “earth-shatteringly epic explosion and a glorious shower of sparks.”

The fact that you’re getting shot often heightens your adrenaline, and we’re not just speaking metaphorically here: when you’ve taken enough damage, Sam’s suit enters a slo-mo phase, a literal ‘fight or flight.’ This is your suit’s survival mode, conveniently packaged into a gameplay element which we’re no doubt familiar with. Additionally, players will be able to boost Sam along the ground. Opening fire with you loadout–which, at the moment, has been confirmed to include a assault rifle, heavy machine gun, sniper rifle, shotgun, two types of grenades–while in this mode will also cause a slo-mo effect.

Your suit may as well be considered your end-all-be all: you are nothing without it. This much is apparent when you start seeing how easily your suitless allies get taken out. Unsurprisingly, the responsibility for keeping them alive falls on you. Not only do they provide support while on the battlefield, the number of people you have lost is relayed back to you at the end of each level. Should you feel like playing as a good Samaritan, your Sam will be braving even more danger than usual to make sure everyone gets back home safely.

You are no god inside your suit, however. Should you choose to use its powers, you can bet that each one will be followed by a cooldown. Ignoring this will cause your suit to overheat, essentially meaning that playing Vanquish is an exercise in maintaining the energy levels of your suit intact. Overheating causes your suit to beep, a little reminder that tells you that you’re now officially vulnerable. Adding to the sense of vulnerability is the game’s old school approach on aiming: there’s no auto-assist here to make you feel better about yourself. I can’t even remember the last game I’ve played which didn’t have the auto-aim feature!

Those of us that have seen Vanquish in action, can tell that it errs on the more western approach of game design. When describing the difference between east and western games, Mikami notes that western games focus on  “realism. From the graphics, to the worlds, games created in the west tend to want to simulate reality at a very high level.” It seems as if he’s taken ‘realism’ to mean a visceral approach, but this doesn’t just explain the core gameplay of Vanquish. It also explains why Shinji choose to make the game a third-person shooter. Earlier, we quoted Shinji on his desire to make immerse players in the action. He goes on to say that the third-person view is meant to facilitate that feeling, that in order to pit players in the action, they “needed to show the player on the screen.”

One Comment

  1. Pistol Piet

    It’s also worth mentioning that originally Vanquish was going to be an open-world title. It’s evident why they changed this given the quote “I wanted people to really feel the action going on during the game”. Linearity allows more condensed action and dense amounts of enemies.