The fourth game to come out of Platinum Games’ four-title deal with Sega has, once again, got us all hot under the collar. Not in the same way Bayonetta did, with its ridiculous, over-the-top action and naked witches. Nor in the same way as Infinite Space on DS or MadWorld on Wii, with their insane difficulty spikes and lashings of chainsaw-induced claret, respectively. No, Vanquish has us uncomfortably excited as it is being helmed by one Shinji Mikami: father of the Resident Evil series; the man who made Resident Evil 4 go off in such an incredible new direction; executive producer on the likes of Viewtiful Joe and Killer7; and – probably most importantly – the director of God Hand, one of our favourite PlayStation 2 games ever made. That’s a good enough reason to be excited, right?
We hope it will be, as we have to admit that on paper Vanquish doesn’t sound very interesting. The Russians are once again the enemy in a futuristic setting, capturing a US-built space station and unleashing a solar-powered attack on San Francisco, before threatening to take out New York unless the Americans surrender. The Americans aren’t very happy with this, unsurprisingly, and counter the Ruskie offensive with… well, a bloke in a white power suit (along with some other special forces types). The action takes place in the 51st US state – named Providence – which is actually the solar power-producing station the Russians hijacked to launch the attack on terrestrial US soil.
Players take control of Sam Burns as he dons the experimental suit, codenamed ‘ARS’ and fights back against the Red Menace. What this translates to in game form is a third-person shooter where you play as a man in a power suit that enables him to run faster, boost, shields him and other such things as that. As we said, on paper it doesn’t sound particularly thrilling.
But then, if you were to judge God Hand on paper it wouldn’t sound like the most inspiring of things. Simply reading about Bayonetta never really got our juices flowing that much – we had to wait until we saw the game running, or until we got to play it before the excitement really kicked in. With the combined pedigree of Shinji Mikami and Platinum behind Vanquish we can’t help but have faith this will be an interesting, exciting game when it finally releases at the end of the year. Those expecting a spiritual (gun-based, futuristic) sequel to God Hand are likely to be let down, though, and Mikami himself admitted he enjoyed ‘too much’ freedom with the cult classic. Vanquish will be reined in to give it far more mass-market appeal – we do hope this doesn’t mean it will be dumbed or dulled down in any way. If only because we’re rather excited by it right now.
The game will be a purely single-player affair, with the developer deciding against including a multiplayer mode. While this may seem like an odd thing to leave out of a third-person shooter – we pretty much expect an online mode as standard these days – it does at least mean the entire focus in creating the game will be on making the campaign as good as it can possibly be. We have nothing to go on but past success and hope for the future right now and even though a dispassionate list of the game’s setting may have left us cold on reading, we can’t shake the feeling that Vanquish has a great deal of potential.