Vanquish (Zero Punctuation)
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Vanquish (Zero Punctuation)

August 15, 2019


It’s been a long, confusing journey, hasn’t
it, Platinum Games, which funnily enough also describes most of your fucking releases. There’ve been some strange turns, Bayonetta
2 exclusive to Wii U springs to mind, that was like a fucking modern art installation
being exclusive to the Etch-A-Sketch, but Platinum Games has finally joined us in the
sun. First Bayonetta 1 gets a Steam release, and
everyone went “Aaoookay! Bit weird! We didn’t particularly mind that being a console
game because it made it slightly easier to furtively hide when our mum bursts into the
room. Why don’t you bring out a Steam version of
that shooter you made? The one that became a bit of a cult hit and
that’s now sort of hard to find?” “What, you mean Anarchy Reigns?” “HA HA HA HA HA HA. NO.” Obviously we’re talking about Vanquish, which
is highly suitable for release on PCs partly because it’s a high-octane cover shooter and
partly because the main character spends the entire game wearing one. Obviously no-one told the Vanquish dude not
to wear a pure white suit of armour to a grimy battlefield. By rights he should have ended up looking
like the floor of a sharehouse bathroom. The plot of Vanquish concerns Russia being
evil. It was a little bit quaint at the time the
game first came out but has since somehow come back around to being relevant again. They take over an orbital death ray station
with an army of death robots and blow up San Francisco in a humanitarian effort to combat
rising housing costs in California. But America take it the wrong way as always
and refuse to surrender, despatching a bunch of marines to the death ray station to take
it back. The main character is not a marine but an
employee of DARPA wearing a very expensive DARPA-developed suit of armour. Because it’s not like DARPA develops tech
to be used by the military, no, that’s why every tank and fighter plane has to be piloted
by the nerd who developed it. Shush now, everybody, the thing is, we’re
not actually supposed to be taking this plot seriously, so it is a shame that the Russia
aspect has gotten itself all inconveniently relevant. There’s always an undercurrent of irony in
Platinum Games’ stuff, although it’s admittedly slightly subtler here than it is in, say,
Bayonetta, the woman who routinely has to clean small children out of her armpits after
they mistake her for a roller coaster. The main character smokes constantly to maintain
the stereotypical grizzled badass image, but I think he only does so so he can dramatically
flick cigarettes away when he’s about to do things, ‘cos I don’t think he ever got through
more than a quarter inch of one. He’s partnered for most of the game with Robert
Burns, famous Scottish poet and author of Auld Lang Syne, here reimagined as a nine
foot shaved bear of a man who’s so grizzled he can peel potatoes by rubbing them on his
chin and as for badass, his ass is so bad it denies the holocaust and fraudulently uses
disabled parking spaces. So the two of them spend the entire game having
an incredibly insecure grizzle-off, the flash young newcomer in his go faster stripes versus
the cynical old timer wearing an entire double decker bus, down on their knees competing
to see who can suck the most gravel into their throats. There’s also an attractive female support
character and whenever she’s on screen the camera always seems to be one flicked cigarette
away from pointing right up her skirt. It’s all immensely silly stuff and par for
the Platinum Games course. What makes Vanquish interesting is the combat
mechanics. So obviously Vanquish set out to make a cover
shooter, but after looking up what those were, it asked “Do we really have to plop ourselves
down behind little walls so much? We exclusively make fast-paced games because
we have the attention span of a moth at a fireworks display.” Then, after they were firmly told that yes,
plopping down behind cover is a pretty essential part of a cover shooter, Vanquish went “Could
we maybe have the character break dance behind cover rather than plop? Oh, and weird idea: rocket skates.” Yes, apparently DARPA’s jetpack research went
nowhere so they’ve repurposed the tech to let you scoot along the ground like a fast
forward video of a dog with an itchy bum, and most of the combat takes place in big,
wide-open arenas so the emphasis is less on plopping down and more on dodging, changing
position and managing your suit energy. Here’s a little tip I discovered – if you
switch weapons midway through a reload animation, the first weapon will be reloaded when you
switch back to it. In accordance with the principles of homeopathy. I think. Whatever, it keeps the pace up. But speaking of pace, one thing I could do
without is the way you automatically go into slow motion when you’re near death. Yeah, I know, it’s to get yourself out of
danger, but once you are there’s no way to turn it off again, so all you can do is let
your suit energy run out and then pop a plop while you wait for it to come back. It’s a bit of a pace killer. I thought we were avoiding plop. The last thing you want is for your game to
become ploppy. I very much enjoy saying the word plop. Plop aside, though, Vanquish’s combat is generally
a speedy and interesting take on the genre. What else has it got? “What else? Damn it, we weren’t prepared for this part
of the interview. Quick, spawn five hundred million identical
robots.” Yes, sadly like a severely poorly maintained
harp, the game’s kinda one note. The entire thing takes place in the same environment,
improbably oversized space station city that can’t be bothered to so much as throw a carpet
down now and then, and you fight ten million copies of the same robot that looks like a
Transformer that turns into a pink dildo. Everything that passes for a boss fight happens
again at least twice. The story somehow gets from A to B while standing
completely still. I sort of grasp that Burns doesn’t care about
individual soldiers dying and the main bloke does, but demonstrate it another six or seven
times just to be sure. At least he cares in cutscenes. Not in gameplay because he’s busy plopping. But hey, don’t worry that the game doesn’t
evolve much, ‘cos it’s also really short, so it won’t bother you for long. All in all, if you’re planning to buy Vanquish
then make doubly sure you don’t need the money for anything really important, like medicine,
or a donation to the Republican party. ‘Cos it kinda feels more like a proof of concept
than a complete game. A concept proved, certainly, you can have
a fun cover shooter where you glide around on your back the whole time like a prostitute
on a highly polished dance floor, but the time to develop the concept into something
a bit meatier has long since passed. And now the game only exists as a sort of
glimpse into a parallel universe where triple-A shooters remembered that video games are supposed
to be fun. That aside, Vanquish is also a PC port of
a last generation game, so let’s take a moment now to share our favourite bugs. That one where you took double damage if the
game was running 60FPS must’ve been a nightmare for hardcore PC gamers, for whom playing at
30FPS is apparently like trying to breathe with a plastic bag on your head. The measure I was given to correct the bug
added a whole bunch of exciting new ones, like on one level I kept falling through the
floor and dying before the screen had faded in. Loading screen, pause, hideous dying scream,
reload, repeat. It was like playing a blunt dramatization
of stillbirth.

Only registered users can comment.

  1. if you like the combat in Vanquish, you should look at Warframe. It's a fast-paced free-to-play shooter about 1-4 magic parkour space ninja robots fighting against armies of green Stormtroopers, Weyland Yutani Corp. employees, and mutant space zombies.

  2. Yahtzee makes jokes about the left, no one bats an eye. Yahtzee makes jokes about republicans, the comments go full "stick to talking about video games and leave the politics out of it!"

  3. You do know that you could manually light and throw the cigarettes to distract enemies right? Those were actually a gameplay mechanic.

  4. Ah yes, nothing like an Australian devoid of shitposting powers thinking people find his milktoast commentary on American politics witty and edgy.

  5. Seriously, who's dumb enough to actually think Russia hacked the U.S election……..libtards you lost just except it and move on. 0:59

  6. yatzee seems really enthusiastic about this game review than he is for MANY of the games that touch his list.

  7. Russia, evil, eh what?

    Have they decided to stop our Vodka and natural gas supplies?

    No, then I begin to wonder why a guy living in America and paid in dollars would have something against Europe getting drunk on good spirits and not freezing to death.

    Maybe all the years of living away from our harsh environments has robbed him of his concern for others, maybe he's never given a shit about anyone but himself.

  8. I'm going to post this here just for posterity, but I know what Yahtzee will do next video, especially if it is Arms.

    He will claim some magical force of sudden Nintentards are all but spam him with death threats to review the game, he will then complain how his poor hands can't hold the super sharp corners of the controllers, even though the rest of the world has no issue with the curved edges. And of course he will act like the motion controls are somehow enforced and that only retards play it like that and he's too good for it. Don't forget the part where he probably won't even talk about the game to blindly insult Nintendo because he think's that's funny.

    I'm sure there are other things he does every time that I can't remember at the moment, but I'm sure we will see it all regurgitated back to us in the near future anyways.

  9. Yahtzee, why haven't you reviewed Darkest Dungeon yet? It's gritty, difficult as fuck and makes your life feel worthless so it checks all the boxes for the kinds of games you love.

  10. I love how short Zero Punctuation videos are. Makes it easier to cram a bunch in before I go to bed. Like a large mouthed fat girl with a box of twinkies.

  11. Vanquish did something that no other FPS or TPS game has ever done, and I don't know why.
    The enemy AI can realize it's body, when hidden behind cover, is exposed if you target it. It works well, it's a easy and simple solution to the age old problem (I'm looking at YOU call of duty) of enemies hiding behind cover but leaving their bodies to be exposed and shot. Basicly running up to the player, couching submissively and asking to be shot in the face.
    How nobody ever noticed how simply and effectively Vanquish has solved this problem of the AI leaving itself exposed while behind cover, and copied it, shows how disconnected the game designers are from the actual hardcore players of these games.

  12. Its funny that they guy who invented the PC master race regularly makes fun of the PC gaming master race

  13. Playing at 30 fps is like playing half asleep, you miss half the visuals and get disoriented becuase the game feels like a slideshow.

  14. I honestly didn't care (or noticed) the double damage bug while running 60FPS I was just enjoying the hell out of the game.

    Fun, action packed, semi-interesting story, smooth combat, and an actual challenge (when it first came out on console then the harder difficulties)

  15. the most painful games are always the ones that had potential and a decent concept and then wasted it with bugs or repetitive gameplay or clunky controls or some other silly reason for a game not to be fun. Like the Dark Souls PC port.

  16. "It was like playing a blunt dramatisation of stillbirth."

    Aw, no animation? You've made nastier things, Yahtz. Disappointment.

  17. Alright Yahtzee, what do you got for what is probably my most favorite game ever? I can handle whatever you throw at me!

  18. Yahtzee, don't buy the latest "Russia Putin is teh EVUL EMPIRE!" crap the establishment fuckheads are pushing. They're trying to drum up a new (or returning in the case of Russia) bogeyman to take attention away from how they are fucking everything up while enriching themselves.

  19. i laughed harder than i should have at the robert burns bit but thats cause there's a statue of him in my city

  20. Double damage because of double for? Kinda reminds me of the wet tissue the weapons of dark souls 2 scholar of the first sin may as well have been made out of because of the doubling of frame rate.

  21. Are we sure Bethesda didn't develop the port for that game? Dying while the game is still loading is usually one of their hallmark bugs.

  22. Garbo. Controls. Handles like a PS1 game back when strafing was done with the bumpers on the remote.

  23. Platinum has defended their Bayonetta sequel exclusivity choice again and again. They have clearly explained that neither PlayStation nor XBox showed any interested in a Bayonetta sequel, but Nintendo did, hence giving them exclusivity

  24. I enjoyed vanquish gameplay was a bit like playing as a discount iron man who can't fly and is on meth which is surprisingly more fun then it sounds

  25. I recently got the game free on my Xbox One with the whole Games with Gold thing.

    Lots of fun to play for free. Wouldn't have shelled out $20 for it. Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, it ain't.

  26. Honestly, I'd appreciate slightly less bells on my whistles in the graphics department if it means games don't hitch and stutter like a nerd trying to talk to a cheerleader.

  27. I’d like to see them make another transformers game that has the same graphics but plays more like war for cybertron, those games were so much fun, and the graphics were awesome, but it would be better if it looks like the cartoon IMO

  28. The game is awesome. Throws you into the deep end right at the start and almost never slows down after that. It needs a sequel with refined and optimized mechanics to avoid unnecessary plopping.

  29. While I love Platinum Games and Shinji Mikami, one problem they and he seems to have is while they always develop a game around a brilliant core idea and never pander to their audience, they often run into problems with applying that principle enough to ensure a satisfying experience. Their games always felt a little short, many times when you feel like things are ramming up, it ends. I like the fact that they are only putting in what they feel are essential to the experience instead of wasting our time like triple A devs, however I feel as if their restraint have hamper their imagination. There's many parts of Vanquish, God Hand and RE4 that if given to a Western devs could be expanded and reuse, which some of them did. I wish more devs would come up with strange ideas and instead of thinking it won't work, focus on making it work like Clover Studio did.

  30. I could have sworn the Bayonetta 2 being exclusive to Wii-U thing wasn't a choice made by Platinum games. It was more of being forced on them because without Nintendo backing it Bayonetta would never have gotten a sequel.

  31. I remember making a big deal about getting this game when it came out. This was well before I was aware of Platinum Games, so you may ask why? It came out on my birthday, and when I was a dumb teen I thought that was pretty cool.

  32. I remember watching a video that explained the certain depth to vanquish involving proper use of movement, and being able to shoot even your own grenades out of the air all in an effort to be able to optimally play and get higher ranks….. Plop

  33. Do people not get that Nintendo singlehandedly funded Bayonetta 2 and that's why it's Wii U exclusive. I mean if you weren't being a cadual twat and bought a Wii U after oversaving for a PC, instead of buying a PS4 and waiting for greatness that didn't co.e until the PS4 Pro released or buying an XB1 for Microsoft to turn it into a streaming box for Microsoft Store content 4 years later, there'd be literally no reason to complain about Bayonetta 2 being Wii U exclusive and maybe the twat of a new CEO at Nintendo wouldn't have abandoned the Wii U for the Switch.

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