Sam Gideon cannot jump. There is surely no graver flaw in the video game multiverse, where the ability to leap is as valuable as one of the five senses, where even the lowliest grunt can manage a hop in a pinch. Still, the loss of one sense usually heightens another and what Vanquish's protagonist lacks in hang-time he amply makes up for in his ground game. Gideon glides across concrete like Michael Phelps skimming an Olympic pool. Sparks fly from those zinging metal knees as he streaks forward to donut a bewildered mecha. In Gideon's world, the term 'bullet time' is no mere poetic flourish. Squeeze an eye down the a gun's sights while sliding and time drawls to the extent that you can swat a fat, dangling rocket clean out of the air. Sam Gideon cannot jump. But by god he can fly.
Of all the games in Platinum's back catalogue, there was perhaps no other title in need of a re-release more than Vanquish. Even now, Shinji Mikami's take on third-person shooting stands as one of the most nuanced shooters ever made but the basic hardware limits of PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 prevented it from reaching its full potential. Seven years on from its original release, the new PC version of Vanquish frees the title from its technical shackles - and the result is magnificent.
"To vanquish without peril is to triumph without glory." Had 17th-century French playwright Pierre Corneille not suffered the misfortune of being born 400 or so years before Vanquish was released, I'm fairly sure he would have admired Shinji Mikami's excellent third-person shooter. Indeed, there's an echo of Corneille's words in the Mikami-directed remake of Resident Evil on GameCube: the more challenging difficulty setting, Mountain Climbing, points out that "beyond the hardships lies accomplishment". It's a maxim that has served one of the medium's best game designers well over his storied career, and particularly so here.
Platinum doesn't do games by half. From Wii skewer-'em-up MadWorld to the handgun stilettos of Bayonetta, Hideki Kamiya and chums always aim to surprise. Vanquish, the studio's upcoming third-person shooter, is their latest attempt.
Vanquish, Shinji Mikami's latest blaster, is a textbook study in why videogame maths doesn't always add up. On paper, PlatinumGames' sci-fi epic combines the ring-world setting and gurning bombast of Halo with the cover system from Gears of War, the gruff-protagonist-who-likes-a-crafty-fag from Metal Gear Solid and the sterile plastic-fantastic armour stylings of the secretly brilliant Capcom money bomb PN.0.3.
SEGA hasn't done badly out of its four-game deal with Platinum Games, certainly not in terms of variety. We've had a score-chase playground for sadists in MadWorld; Infinite Space gave us a space-RPG for obsessive-compulsives; Bayonetta is an action heroine as gloriously over-the-top and under-dressed you could possibly hope for; and Vanquish, a third-person shooter set on a space station in the grip of a future Cold War, is nothing like any of them.
Hello, this is Shinji Mikami here.