After rocket-sliding toward an enemy, you kickflip off them to chain multiple mid-air headshots. Then, you toss a grenade at a sniper nest, vaulting over cover to detonate the explosive with a well-timed bullet. An answering rocket barrage sends you sliding along the ground as missiles fly overhead, swapping out to a sniper rifle to pull off a trickshot in transit. All of which takes place in slow-motion, of course.
It’s been almost 12 years, and you’d still be hard-pushed to find a third-person shooter that looks as good in motion as Vanquish. Released a year after Bayonetta, Vanquish has mostly served as an idiosyncratic footnote in the softography of action gaming masters PlatinumGames, albeit briefly sharing the spotlight with Hideki Kamiya’s gun-toting witch as part of a 10th Anniversary Bundle in 2020. And while Kamiya’s series has gone on to spawn a sequel – with Bayonetta 3 scheduled to come out sometime in the next decade-or-so – Vanquish has been mostly forgotten.
And, it must be said, not for entirely unfair reasons. While Platinum titles aren’t exactly known for their narrative weight, Shinji Mikami’s game is particularly woeful in this regard, with paper-thin characters spouting naff one liners (the highlight arguably being, after a tank has destroyed a pile of debris blocking a tunnel, “This colony won’t be walking straight for a while”).