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War has accelerated.
Vanquish is a Third-Person Shooter from Platinum Games, and is the brain child of the man responsible for Resident Evil, P.N.03, God Hand, and many other famous Capcom games, Shinji Mikami. Said by many to be what it would be like for Master Chief and Bayonetta to have a child and get him raised by the folks of Gears of War, living next door to an arcade mecca.
The plot revolves around a massive space colony named Providence, established by the United States and outfitted with a massive solar-powered microwave energy array designed to collect energy and transmit it to Earth. However, the Order of the Russian Star, a militant regime that has recently seized control over Russia in an armed coup, invaded the colony. They have turned the colony's microwave transmitter into a weapon of mass destruction, which is unleashed upon San Fransisco. Following the attack is a prompt ultimatum: the United States will surrender to Russia, or they'll turn their new superweapon on New York City.
The United States' response is to deploy a massive counterattack on Providence, spearheaded by the U.S. Marines led by Lieutenant Colonel Robert Burns. Accompanying Burns is Sam Gideon, a researcher from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) who is testing out a prototype suit of powered armor. It falls to Burns, Sam, and the Marines to secure the colony before the Russians can fire the weapon again.
Vanquish was delivered to the world on October 19, 2010.
- Artificial Limbs: Lieutenant Colonel Robert Burns with his mechanical right arm.
- Not just his arm, over half his body is cybernetic as a result of the many tours of duty he's seen in his Marine career.
- Awesome but Practical: Damn near everything you can do. Zip around the battlefield on your knees to get into position faster than some puny human or robot could, stylishly evade gunfire and snap the action into a target-identifying slo-mo, a firearm system that is lightweight and Badass in the fact that it switches configurations for different ammo types...man, you could fill a page.
- Beyond the Impossible: You can grab the artillery of a Giant Enemy Crab transformer and slam dunk it back in its gun barrel. It only gets better from there.
- And how many video game protagonists are there who can rocket slide into a wall, kick off it, perform a backflip in the air, pull out a sniper rifle and snipe two guys in the head while still descending from the backflip?
- BFG: Lieutenant Colonel Burns' giant Vulcan cannon even has a pop-out shield on it to provide him with cover as he destroys everything.
- Big Bad: Victor
Zakharov ZakhaevZaitsev, agent of the UltranationalistsOrder of the Russian Star.
- The Big Guy: Lieutenant Colonel Burns, whose forearms are bigger than his head.
- Bullet Time: Called "Augmented Reality", it's triggered when you're near death in order to give you time to find a safe zone. You can trigger it manually in several ways.
- Cool but Inefficient: Going into cover and smoking. It's cool and can distract certain enemies, but is otherwise just for show.
- Crowning Moment of Funny: One of the soldiers who can get downed during gameplay, will spank their butt for another dosis after reviving them. You can give them another for an extra ammo/weapon-drop.
- Creator Cameo: One of the soldiers in Act 3 is named S. Mikami.
- Death Equals Redemption: Burns betrays you when he kills the scientist you're supposed to be rescuing in order to prevent him from deactivating the station, and then tries to kill you when it's revealed that the President of the United States plans to use the super weapon to toast Moscow in retaliation. Once you bring Burns down, your character instantly tries to help him, despite him betraying and trying to kill you literally just 10 seconds ago. Burns, also seemingly for no reason, activates the self destruct mechanism built into his suit to buy you some time from the pursuing soldiers.
- Dodge the Bullet: Because every enemy bullet is rendered and has a trail, and because of the prominence of Bullet Time, there's plenty of opportunity for this.
- Driven to Suicide: President Winters.
- Eagle Land: Who You Gonna Call? when rascally Russians hijack your space station? A football player turned super soldier and his grizzled old Sarge (OK, Lieutenant Colonel, but he's got all the trappings of a Sergeant Rock).
- Initially presented as Type 1, shows shades of Type 2 as the plot progresses...
- Easier Than Easy: "Casual Auto" mode.
- Eleventh-Hour Superpower: Sam yells at Elena to disable the limiters on his suit so he can fight Zaitsev more effectively in the final boss battle. This greatly boosts your sliding speed and doubles your boost meter, allowing you to spend twice as long in AR Mode and/or powersliding.
- Elite Mook: Gorgie-USG and USR variants, which are more heavily armored and equipped with shotguns and jetpacks, as opposed to the USN model which only has a machine gun. The USS variant doesn't really count, since it's just as fragile as the USN and the only difference is that it uses a sniper rifle.
- The traitorous U.S. Marine squad in Act 5.
- Exploding Barrels: Every now and then, but they're surprisingly uncommon for such an action-packed shooting game.
- Gatling Good: Burns's Weapon of Choice is a massive gatling gun that comes with a deployable blast shield.
- Giant Enemy Crab: And you Attack Its Weak Point so you can Attack Its OTHER Weak Point For Massive Damage. Is this supposed to be a Lampshade Hanging or something? Oh, and it's a Massive Morphing Mecha.
- Giant Mook: The Romanov. This big guy is fond of blowing people apart with his missiles, frying them with his eye laser thing, and simply tearing people in half. And oh yeah, did I mention he can kill you in one hit with his Chest Blaster?
- Guttural Growler: Sam Gideon's voice is something like the animated Wolverine filtered through Dirty Harry. Col. Burns takes this even further, sounding like all that stuff meets a rock-tumbler with the bass turned up (of course it's Steve Blum, so they got the right man for the job).
- Harder Than Hard: God Hard.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Sam manages to get Zaitsev's rail gun away and finishes him off with it. Well, his empty remote-controlled armor suit, at least.
- Hyperspace Arsenal: Your weapon is called BLADE and basically it can hold up to three different scans of weapons and then transform into them. Yeah, your main weapon is a shapeshifting gun. How does it work? Who cares?
- Inferred Holocaust: There are no civilians to be seen anywhere in Providence. And if there were any survivors of the Russian assault, there likely aren't any left after the breach in the hull. And if anyone survived that, the nuclear destruction of the entire colony made sure no one made it out.
- Justified Tutorial: The game begins with Sam testing the ARS. Thankfully, you can cut the session short, but you have to do a few of the exercises before you get the option to do so.
- Kill Sat: The "peaceful" space colony Providence can use its solar energy to destroy entire cities, as the Russians demonstrated by wiping San Francisco off the face of the map.
- Not wiped off so much as cooked.
- Large Ham: Pretty much every single thing Burns says.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: "This sounds like a bad video game!"
- Leap and Fire: Holding the aim button while vaulting over a chest-high wall triggers a brief spurt of Bullet Time, allowing you to pick off enemies or get height on others.
- Macross Missile Massacre: Argus bots and Buzzards like doing this.
- Make the Bear Angry Again: The Russian Star regime.
- The Man Behind the Man:
Hillary ClintonPresident Winters was the one who supported Zaitsev's coup in Russia, so that the United States would have a legitimate reason to go to war against a "bad guy" and stimulate the weak American economy.
- Zaitsev's boss, who is apparently a high-ranking member in the Order of the Russian Star.
- Male Gaze: When a scene focuses on Elena there are times when the camera shifts it's focus towards her legs.
- Mecha-Mooks: 99% of the enemies in this game are robots.
- Mission Control: Elena Ivanova
- Mini Game Credits: Shooting asteroids with the development team on them.
- Mood Dissonance: For a good 95%+ of the game, you're blowing up somewhat cheesy-looking robots with goofy names like "Romanov," "Gorgie," and "Bia" and are probably pretty used to the bright blue explosions and flying scrap metal that are the result of defeating your enemies. Then Act 5, Mission 2 comes along, and there are no more robots: from then on you're fighting flesh and blood human beings. It can be very jarring to suddenly begin seeing blood bursting out of the targets you're shooting instead of sparks and metal parts. What's even more unsettling is that your human enemies (except for Burns) never speak a word, making them Not So Different from the robots you've been blowing up. It doesn't help that they're also Faceless Goons.
- Mood Whiplash: A long, lingering shot of the president after she shoots herself in the head...followed by cheery space adventure music as you shoot asteroids with the development team's faces on them.
- Nintendo Hard: Hoo boy. The campaign is manageable, but the Tactical Challenges... Challenge 4 is essentially self-punishment, and the secret Challenge 6 is even harder.
- Not the Fall That Kills You: Averted. While Sam is falling from a long distance in a cutscene near the end of the game, he uses his boosters to slow himself down enough so that he won't rip his arm off when he grabs a ledge. And while hanging, the first thing he does is light up a cigarette and then pull himself up.
- Played straight, though, in Act 3's ending. As Sam leaps off of the exploding Kreon, he falls for a while until Burns catches him and swings him into the dropship. Justified for Burns since he caught Sam with his mechanical arm; not so much for Sam since he didn't even activate his boosters when falling.
- One-Hit Kill: Quite a few things can push you right past forced AR activation and into death, regardless of how much damage you've soaked up to that point.
- Palette Swap: It's not obvious at first, but the Marines and the basic mooks. It also doubles as a bit of Foreshadowing
- Powered Armor: Sam Gideon's shtick. He's testing it for DARPA.
- Zaitsev's also got one. Sam mutters that it's "patented."
- Pummel Duel: Sam Gideon's Fight against the Leader of the Order of the Russian Star.
- Actually, Zaitsev's only one of the members.
- Rated "M" for Manly
- Rated "M" for Money: Considering that almost all the enemies in the game are robots, would really be no reason for it to be rated M, so they threw in lots of cursing and bloody deaths for NPCs.
- Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Returns once again as a Platinum Games Tradition, between Sam and Victor Zaitsev in the final boss fight.
- Recursive Ammo: The Buzzard mini-boss's cluster missiles.
- Redshirt Army: The Marines have pathetic lifespan expectancies. Everyone, including them, seem to be aware of this.
Sam: That transport might as well crash itself right now.
- Reds with Rockets: Enemy war droids are even painted red.
- Those silly Americans went and made the Bear angry again. Sucks to be them.
- Roboteching: The Lock-On Laser. Lasers go up, then down, kind of like a high-tech version of the Javelin Missile Launcher. It's nowhere near as powerful as that, though.
- Robot War: The only non-robot Russian enemy is Big Bad Victor Zaitsev. The exception occurs in Act 5-2 when Sam gets into a lethal conflict of interest with genocidally patriotic American Lt. Col. Burns and the covert-ops U.S. Marines in Act 5.
- And as it turns out, even the two battles against Zaitsev play this trope straight: yeah, they're suits, but they're empty, and are being remote-controlled. Simultaneously. Zaitsev is also a cyborg and this is his ability.
- Reverse the Polarity: Invoked word for word by Elena when instructing Sam how to destroy the Kreon's energy source. Of course you're trying to cause a malfunction rather than a miracle in this case.
- Rule of Cool: Is the US government designing a Powered Armorsuit that lets the user slide around at 50 mph on their knees? Doubtful. Would they ever consider such a venture to be a practical evolution of warfare? Probably not. Does it still make a good gameplay feature in spite of that? You better believe it.
- Scenery Porn: Readily available at nearly any point in the game. Just look up.
- Schrodinger's Gun: Played straight at the final battle when you battle two Russian ARS knock-offs like the one fought at the end of Act 1: one red, one blue. Whichever one you destroy first, Zaitsev will contact you and say: "The wrong one, I'm afraid". Subverted when both are revealed to be empty remote-controlled drones.
- Sequel Hook: Zaitsev gets away, and is revealed to be merely an agent for his organization, the Order of the Russian Star.
- Shout-Out: If you mash the melee button with the assault rifle equipped, you'll pull off a barrage of punches akin to Gene.
Elena: IT'S A TRAP!
Sam: Thanks for the update, Admiral!
- Smoking Is Cool: Oh so much with Sam.
- Space Marine: Your allies are the U.S. Marine Corps, IN SPACE! Averted with Sam and Elena, who work for DARPA. This causes some Jurisdiction Friction between Sam and Burns over whose orders take precedence during the operation.
- Spiritual Successor: To P.N.03, according to Mikami.
- Stealth Parody: The writer of the review of Vanquish on Gamespot seems to think it is this.
- Stock Scream: There's a Wilhelm Scream towards the end of Act 1.
- Superweapon Surprise: The microwave emitter on Providence was not intended as a weapons system, but the Russians got creative.
- Take That: One ad pokes fun at Halo stating, "If it takes a decade to finish the fight, you should probably switch tactics."
- Take Cover: But you probably won't; you'll be too busy powersliding around the battlefield. Plus, you're more robust than most protagonists who take cover. The protagonist has a number of high-speed moves that allow you to easily dodge enemy fire while retaliating. When you're dangerously low on health, Bullet Time kicks in, allowing you find the necessary chest-high walls easily.
- Unlike other cover shooters which allow the player to pace themselves, Vanquish drops the player into a multi-directional Bullet Hell of rockets and lasers, minimizing the player's reliance on cover. The game actually penalizes you for using cover too much. The scoreboard even includes the percentage of time you spent in cover as a stat.
- The game's developers had already experimented with cover mechanics years before they became popular, such as Shinji Mikami's Resident Evil 4 and Sega's Bonanza Bros, and are now doing the same with Vanquish.
- Technology Porn: Sam's ARS suit constantly shifts and reconfigures, as does the BLADE weapon. The tutorial zone also qualifies, featuring huge weapon benches that fold out of tiny tiles on the floor.
- Elena's holographic support console qualifies, with all kinds of free-floating, touch-sensitive displays that can be pulled and slid around in a Minority Report-esque fashion.
- Tele Frag: The robots can teleport in reinforcements. The Marines... not so much. Sam states that living things won't survive the process, and that a rat that got caught in a teleportation experiment ended up with its head "literally shoved up its ass" and "it'll be another three years before (they) can get a human to the same state."
- Trapped in Containment: The majority of the Marines on the Providence asphyxiate to death when they are unable to get past a blast shield that was closed to contain a breach in the colony's outer hull.
- Transforming Mecha: The Argus bot is a four-legged robot that can turn into a Humongous Mecha.
- The Bia bot is a robot scorpion that can transform into a mech wielding a massive axe.
- The Buzzard has flight and land modes encountered at different points in the game.
- The Battle Didn't Count: Played straight after you fight the first Bogey. Played with during the finale, when you defeat both Bogeys, but find out that Zaitsev was only remotely controlling them.
- The Gunslinger: Sam Gideon is a Type B - The Vaporizer and Type C - The Woo.
- The Unfought: Zaitsev. Those suits he was supposedly in were actually empty, and he escapes the space station anyway.
- Unnecessarily Large Interior: A space station has a massive middle section.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Sam and Burns, Type II. Probably the best explanation for Sam trying to help Burns in Act 5 even after Burns betrays him and Sam is forced to gun him down, and Burns doing the same in buying Sam time with his explosive death.
- Voice with an Internet Connection: Elena Ivanova.
- We Have Reserves:
Burns: Screw it! Leave 'em! Elena, close this door!
Sam: So this is how the Marines do business?
Burns: Marines complete the mission. We don't get the luxury of choosing how.
- X Meets Y: Wanted wearing Powered Armor as a Third-Person Shooter.