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Me and my mates had been following Vanquish for a while - it's the first game from a favourite developer of ours. Shinji Mikami made the first Resident Evil games as well as Viewtiful Joe and is something of a hero for us.
What's more, with his last couple of games coming in a bit too old for use - both Bayonetta and Madworld were 18's - Vanquish was a chance to experience his talents for ourselves first hand.
Vanquish looks a bit like Gears of War, it's a third-person shooter too and you can do the same trick of dropping down to first person when you are taking cover. But happily much of the bravado and gore have been replaced by robot suits and electronically colled rocket powers.
It has a really impressive futuristic look that reminded me of games I used to watch my older brother play in the arcades of the 90's. This ers is also mirrored in the story. Your character, Sam Gideon wears a super-soldier battlesuit to help you take up the role of turning the tide in a war against a totalitarian Russia state that has wiped out San Francisco.
In one final nod to the 90's Gideon smoke incessantly. Every two minutes he seems to stop for a fag. I guess it was supposed to give him more character, but as my friends and I don't intend to smoke it seems a little lame I think - or out of date at best.
His suit is more exciting though and grant him some amazing moves. I love the way the knee-slide looks as you are propelled along by rockets on your shoes with spraks flying off in all directions. Then there's the slow-motion function that gives you more time to target your enemies accuratley - and once you see the speed of the action you soon realise this is crucial.
You can carry three different weapon classes and two grenades. These match the suit for sci-fi finesse and can be upgradeed as you go. Although each different gun is powerful enough to be useful in most sections, using the right armousment is key to progressing through the harder later stages.
These battles get really intesnse as both speed and volume of the gunplay and enemies constantly increases. Like an old fashioned shooter, the enemies seem to come in waves, and in many ways it feels a bit like a 3D shoot 'em up. I often found myself simply overwhled and disorientating with so much happening on the screen.
Given some more time with Vanquish and not a few retries and you start to get into a rhythm. This is where the real genious of Shinji Mikami shiens through. Like his other games, what appears to be a brash out of date experience actually has a lot more going on just beneath the surface. It takes considerable commitment to realise this though. It's almost as if he is trying to put off casual players by hiding all the best bits of the game so deep in the gameplay.
Me and my friends missed not having a mutliplayer mode, although taking turns on the Horde challneges prooved a good way to pass half term together. The single-player itself is pretty long and with all the collectible hidden statues and points to collect I can see us going back to play through it all a few times.
I'm still excited about being able to play a Shinji Mikami game. And really pleased that this 15 certificate experience is one of his has done for quite a while.
The social edge to it, from charming or frightening people into giving you gifts to just making friends, falling in love or getting married, makes the game so much more enjoyable.
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: