I am currently on reading break from school. Since I haven't played a new game in a couple of weeks, I hop on over to the local blockbuster and rent Killzone 2. The reason I went with this game is because I usually play RPG's and I like to own those types of games. No, a one week break calls for something that is simply fun to play without getting too emotionally invested. Killzone 2 seems to be a pretty good choice.
Wow, I really hate Killzone 2. I suck at FPS games. That doesn't mean that the partner AI needs to exasperate my lack of skill by dieing all the freakin' time. There's this one part where me and my "buddy" are being chased by an enemy tank and around a dozen dudes. Ahead of us are our own troops with a tank of their own and a rocket launcher ready for use. Logically, the appropriate thing to do would be to haul ass over to our side. I hit sprint and do that. I look around and see my buddy trying to take out a dozen guys and a tank by himself. He falls down and a symbol denoting that I should go save him appears. No. No I won't. I ready the rocket launcher and leave my "buddy" to die. For some reason, when he dies, my guy suffers from a literal broken heart as he undergoes cardiac arrest and falls to the ground. God dammit. I hate it in games where if your partner dies, you die to. Plus 50% more hate if said partner is of no use to the story and you have no emotional connection to him/her. I decided that I wasn't going to use valuable break time playing a game I don't like so I go back to blockbuster and return it for Vanquish with my stealthy skills of lying. I think I made the right decision.
Unlike in Killzone 2, the default control scheme and stick sensitivity in Vanquish feels absolutely refined. There was no reason for me to fiddle with the controls at all. Graphics were beautiful but, more importantly, they were varied. Unlike the brown upon brown of Killzone 2, Vanquish has stunning and brightly lit open spaces that allow for intense fire fights. The main thing that sets Vanquish and Killzone 2 apart, though, is that Vanquish innovates while Killzone 2 decides to pretty up it's graphics.
In shooters, mobility is often overlooked. Yes, we get a sprint option but usually that's it. Uncharted 2 did something new by introducing climbing elements to the mix. Vanquish goes the route of extreme speed. The power armor that you find yourself using in Vanquish is pretty much a self contained rocket. Pulling the L2 button on the ps3 controller, you can rocket forward or backward or in any direction you want. The inclusion of speed and most of all controllable speed (no roadie running like in Gears) innovates the third person shooter genre by giving you the tools needed for you to not be stuck behind cover for 90% of the game.
What do you usually think when you see ammo for a weapon that you are already topped off with? I have this feeling of waste when that happens. Whenever I see ammo that I don't or can't pick up in shooters, I feel like that ammo could be put to something useful. Vanquish answers this trope of shooters by giving superfluous ammo stores a point. If you pick up a gun which you are already holding in Vanquish, it will upgrade that weapon after a certain number of pick ups. This simple change in gameplay suddenly makes all those useless doubles of triples of guns that you are already holding have a point. Instead of seeing the same assault rifle I am holding and leaving it (so wasteful!), I can now pick it up and know that after a couple more, my rifle will get powered up. Platinum games is so good at these beautiful and simple changes in gameplay which change entire genre tropes. With Vanquish and Bayonetta both being made by Platinum games and both games being clever tongue in cheek commentary about the genre's that they are in, it puts Platinum Games in a special place in my heart for their innovation and commitment to quality.
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