Old school gaming at its best

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By Garth Pullen / Staff Writer

By Garth Pullen / Staff Writer

If a character smokes, does that make him cool? Does the repeated use of the F-word up the awesome level? Do sexist and insensitive remarks increase the funny?

“Vanquish”–Capcoms’ new sci-fi third person shooter–answers these questions with a resounding, “Hell yes!”

This new explosive-ridden, super charged, “South Park” infused, metal fiasco has all the right parts and then some.

The playable character is Sam Gideon. A researcher enlisted with DARPA; one of those acronyms that makes about as much sense as the voice acting in the game.

Before I go any further, the review for this game must be prefaced with the knowledge that there is no multiplayer.

Nor is there a cooperative mode of any kind. In the end, I appreciated the time the developers devoted to the campaign.

The experience as a whole feels very fleshed out and realized; a quality that most games seem to lack in today’s market.

Now that that’s over with, let’s take a deep breath, jump on the fun-train and head out to space where anything is possible and cigarettes make any intense firefight that much more exciting.

The year: the future. The place: shiny metallic spaceships. The mission: Shoot until your little heart gives out.

I may not be placing much emphasis on setting or exposition, but even the game itself has many moments where the developers demonstrate how little the scenery or underlying mechanisms mean to what’s going on on-screen.

For review’s sake: Earth embarks on a journey to outer-space where countries split into colonies and expand into the ever-growing traverses of economic independence.

The moment the game starts, San Francisco is annihilated with the direct intent to start a war for economic superiority.

The genius behind all the destruction turns out to be the leader of a very powerful resistance effort; a resistance that had very recently led a coup upon their homeland of Russia.

Now the Reds (as the good guys call them) seek to engage New York unless certain terms are met.

All of this is just ground work for great combat and slick game-play.

“Vanquish” delivers a level of responsiveness that I haven’t seen in a title since “Batman: Arkham Asylum.”

With every click of the shoulder-pad and every squeeze of the trigger, I felt instant gratification.

The camera and targeting controls are very reminiscent of “Gears of War,” and the results are astoundingly solid.

“Vanquish” does a stellar job of changing up the environment and how it affects the game-play within that section.

For example, when Sam finds himself on a speeding monorail of sorts, the tram next to him begins to hover above his head on a track that mirrors his, while upside down enemies wildly open fire.

Another memorable sequence began in the middle of combat with a robot the size of an aircraft carrier.

An action-button-event triggered and Sam leaped into the air, grabbing hold of the colossus’ helmet.

The game then prompted me to twirl the analog stick while Sam furiously attempted to twist the enemies head off. After several seconds of pantomiming on my part, the robots’ head snapped right off; reminding me of the first time I uncorked a bottle of sparkling apple cider.

Fortunately, one of those scenarios ends well.

“Vanquish” has left no stone unturned: beautiful art design, great audio presentation, funny dialogue, engaging trials, and a very cool protagonist.

With so many freedoms being attacked and so much paranoia plaguing the media outlets as of late, it’s so nice to see a game being unabashedly insensitive.

From Sam’s blatant 2-pack-a-day habit, to the rush of pure masculinity that permeates from every inch of his battle suit; the developers wanted to make a game for the hardcore purist, not the stuck up optimist.

“Vanquish” absolutely blew me away in every sense of the word.

Capcom found a winning formula that pops with exuberance, evokes brilliant style across the board, and only left me thinking one thing: “Man, I could really use a cigarette.”

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