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The far future. An era which mankind looks towards in equal measures of hope and trepidation. A future that could hold for him the potential to either rise to the stars or fall into the depths of hell. Had anyone thought the future would instead bring grown men in bio-suits attempting to kick seven shades of good stuff out of their enemies, sliding around on rocket-boosting knees and catching a cheeky smoke, well, it's either highly coincidental or they have been spending time with the latest 3rd-person shooter to come from developer Platinum Games, Vanquish.

The game's opening cinematic shows a world encountering infection, on the brink of destruction. Enter Sam Gideon, the main protagonist in Vanquish, donning a bio-suit (referred to as the Augmented Reactor Suit (ARS)) provided to him by the game's expert scientist, Francois Candide. And its not just any suit. It allows Sam to boost forward, speeding along courtesy of the suit's in-built jets, allowing the player to avoid enemy fire whilst shooting in style. Sam is a versatile sole, capable of highly accurate running and gunning, melee attacks, rolling out of harms way, and taking cover from enemy barrages. The player can also activate a timer on the suit, allowing them to bring the proceedings to a slow-mo pace and targetting enemy weak spots in order to inflict more damage.

Players have a standard assault rifle at their disposal or if they fancy, can switch to a machine gun, shotgun for heavier hitting power or grenades in regular and flash variants. They each have their own uses, be it for a steady barrage against the enemy waves or packing a greater punch against the game's heaving bosses. Store boxes can be kicked to reveal weapon power ups and refills, explosive barrels can be shot to create havoc to various degrees or gun turrets and walkers can be manned in order to apply some 28. calibre pressure on the player's nemesis.

It provides the player with an interesting array of options to use in battle, kicking arse and taking names. The game's main campaign, roughly a six-hour stretch (with the selectable difficulties of Casual, Normal, Hard and Casual Auto for beginners) will take the player through a riveting ride of action, gunfighting and machoism with the characters mostly gruff (in-game American war hero Robert Burns literally takes it home), manly and no doubt influenced by its Epic produced cousin, Gears of War. Leaderboards are also present, allowing players to update their stage clear times in aiming for the top spot. A tutorial mode is also on hand lest players forget the game's controls, needing assistance with targetting, slo-mo and so forth.

Vanquish's world is both detailed and varied. From Sam's bio suit and his comrades to the game's huge bosses, robots, technology, environments and battleships, they possess a polish and sheen that carries Platinum Games' stamp of quality established in their former titles (lollipop-sucking witch anyone?) Sam can even grab a smoke in the heat of battle, a pleasant reminder that there can be donwtime even in crisis.

Although not groundbreaking in its genre, Vanquish is a worthy entry in today's 3rd-person shooter market, presenting an interesting run and gun with Platinum Game's own spin and flavour plastered all over it.

The game's duration works for it rather than against, sits highly within its genre and will appeal to 3rd person shooter fans and those who want to forever improve their stage record (and look pretty stylish whilst doing so).

When Western-style Japanese games can be good

EXTRA EXTRA! Here's the game's intro, courtesy of Youtube. Check it out...

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