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e3 2010

Hands-On With Platinum’s Vanquish

by Meagan Marie on Jun 16, 2010 at 02:16 PM

This afternoon Sega provided us with a first opportunity to play Platinum and Shinji Mikami’s sci-fi shooter Vanquish. If you’ve missed our past coverage, Vanquish unfolds in the far future with the United States and Russia fighting over depleting energy sources. When Russia attacks and decimates San Francisco from a space station orbiting high above, the United States sends protagonist Sam to eliminate the threat. Little else about the story has been revealed, other than that a female character named Elena acts as your dispatcher, and a male heavy gunner named Burns will aid you and other NPC soldiers throughout the bulk of the game.

If you’ve seen any screens or promotional materials for Vanquish you should be well aware that he wears a very futuristic suit. Called the ARS suit – short for Augmented Reaction System – the protective covering allows Sam to slow down time and escape sticky situations. The suit also has boost functionality that rockets Sam from point A to point B in seconds. This in particular facilitates one of the goals of the game, which is “fast, fluid, and frenetic action.” The boost mechanic is very organic, allowing you to change directions, dodge, and even fire at high speeds.

Vanquish employs a cover system that feels very similar to that established in Gears of War. Sam will hide behind objects, duck down, or lay prone contextual to the environment. He can then vault over obstacles chained with boost to jet to another piece of cover, avoiding even a momentary period of vulnerability.

We didn’t have a chance to check out the full arsenal of weapons, but they look fairly standard at this point. We spied a machine gun, shotgun, sniper rifle, and grenades, all of which were mapped and selected via the d-pad. We were told that weapons will be fully upgradable.

We had a brief hands-on session with the game, and slipped into the third-person shooter controls quite easily. After clearing out a long corridor, we entered a multi-tiered circular arena littered with objects with which to take cover. Enemy forces took us on from all angles, requiring us to boost from cover to cover to avoid being flanked. When overwhelmed, we triggered the augmented time meter to clear out some of the opposition and regain the advantage. Enemies approached us on foot, shot at us from mounted chain guns, and attacked with mech-like exoskeletons. The boost mechanic and augmented time mechanic saved our asses more than once. The NPCs were in the thick of the fight, too. When downed a medic symbol displays over their head and you have the option to revive them if you reach them in enough time.

The Vanquish demo did well to demonstrate the fast-paced combat Platinum is trying to achieve. We’ll update you with more story and gameplay details as they become available.