If I had to power to create laws, I would make it illegal for there to be no sequels to Vanquish in the republic of Wes. It would be a federal crime that there's no Vanquish 2: Slide Harder and no Vanquish 3: With a Vengeance. Gah. There's just no good reason the original game wasn't a smash hit. After making the best action game of all time, Shinji Mikami decided to wait a few years and then make the best action game of all time again. Seven years on, it's still a more relentless, exhilarating third-person shooter than anything else in the Gears of War lineage, and god damn does it play well on PC.
If you missed Vanquish back in 2010 and are wondering if it holds up, allow me to make the case for how thoroughly, dangerously hard it still rocks today.
Kicking a robot in the head so hard it explodes
Every weapon in Vanquish has a unique melee attack, and the one I end up using most often is the heavy machine gun's flip kick. Pulling off a slide move into a melee kill on a gigantic robot is maybe the coolest I have ever felt in my life.
The pacing is relentless
Most shooters give you missions set across a period of hours or days or weeks, with downtime for major story beats and some character building moments. Vanquish says HAHA F THAT and throws you into the action immediately, with every 'mission' essentially just a screen that pops up after a string of encounters to grade your performance, beat 'em up style. You do get a few seconds of downtime, but the entire game takes place in a hyper-compressed time period. It's basically Crank: The Videogame.
It controls and runs like a dream on PC
This game was born to run at 144 frames per second, and boy does it run. So fast, so smooth. Vanquish also looks shockingly good for a seven-year-old game thanks to great face work and the fantastic detail on Sam's exosuit and guns. But the best part is just playing this game with a mouse and keyboard. The default keybindings are smart and easy to get the hang of, with slide on Shift and the dodge roll on space. I've been playing on normal difficulty, which is honestly a little too easy when you have the perfect accuracy of a mouse. That. Hand. Cannon.
These gun transformations
There's some stuff in the story about nanomachines and scanning weapons to transform your gun into these different states and blah blah blah who cares just look at how sweet these animations are.
Quick time events that are actually awesome
It is a fact that Vanquish has the third best quick time events in videogames. The best quick time events are, obviously, in , and the second best are in Resident Evil 4, which pioneered the form and had some . But Vanquish's rocket knee-powered QTEs are rare treats that make you feel like the superpowered badass you are. Some of the best ones, like the takedowns of the gigantic Argus robots, only trigger if you destroy the right weak point. They are always awesome.
You get to punch evil Space Russians
Vanquish's baddies are rogue Russian military who kick things off by shooting San Francisco with a giant laser. Punching them in their evil faces feels a whole lot more satisfying in 2017 than it did a few years ago. Prescient, Vanquish.
Bullet Hell in 3D
I remember seeing one of Vanquish's giant robots unleash hundreds of missiles on the Xbox 360 years ago, and I was stunned that the framerate didn't completely tank. This touch of Japanese design in a western-style shooter is why I love Vanquish so much. It has a sense of style and the panache to mix influences like Casshern and shmups into the cover shooter formula and nail it. Gears of War looks like a fuddy-duddy by comparison.
There's a cigarette button
Smoking is bad. But having a quick drag behind cover as bullets fly and buildings fall is, if not cool, at the very least understandable.
The Sliding. Oh God, the sliding.
Has there ever been a cooler, more satisfying way to get from point A to point B in a videogame? NO THERE HAS NOT.