Vanquish Updated Hands-On Impressions

We get inverted and let the blood rush to our heads with our latest look at this speedy, shooting third-person action game.

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Though PlatinumGames-developed space-opera-turned-acrobatic shooter Vanquish is shipping midway through next month, we've only had limited opportunities to wrap our hands around the controller and take it for a spin. However, tucked away at Sega's Tokyo Game Show booth was some new playable code for the game so we took the opportunity to strap on the kneepads and bust some caps.

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Our demo began with main character Sam standing on a moving platform. Not quite a train, this open-air and heavily armed barge was hurtling along, just minding its own business when it was beset by swarms of attackers and robotic insects from all sides. Focusing on protecting our six, we jumped on one of two handily located minigun turrets mounted on the rear of the transport. Initially, our attackers came in twos and threes, inching their way closer as we zigzagged through tunnels and twisting paths. The waves increased in size, and it wasn't long before we were up to our eyeballs in shiny metal butterflies licking their chops at the chance to feed on our brain nectar.

Luckily for us, our mounted guns made short work of the lightly armoured targets. Unfortunately for us, they must have passed on the party invite to some friends because it wasn't long before they were joined by flying armoured personnel carriers brimming with trigger-happy humanoids. While we didn't need to manage gun overheating as we sprayed shells into the air, we did have finite resources at our disposal. After chewing through the first belt of bullets, we switched weapons, and it was during this instant that one of the ships managed to breach our gunfire perimeter. As it hit the deck, we were forced to scramble to take cover behind some crates, knee-sliding into the safety of the barricade to avoid its gunfire. We dispatched it with little effort, but moments later, a second train laden with troops pulled alongside on another line and matched our speed, opening fire on us as we looked for a way to take it down.

Ah red barrels, where would we be without you? A few well-placed shots caused a cacophonous din as they ignited under a hail of bullets, taking with them all those seeking refuge nearby. Not all of our targets were so closely located to the impromptu fireworks, and as we commandeered control of yet another mounted gun, their craft careened sideways, rotating 45 degrees and leaving us exposed under their elevated position but providing us with prime shots at the stragglers.

With no more threat on our right-hand side, a second group pulled up to the left to keep us on our toes. Again, we used the destructive power of barrels (what's inside those things anyway?) to wrest back control of the situation, only to come face-to-face with two final challenges: We were quickly running out of track and a heavily armoured, tin-can-wearing rocket wielder was taking pot shots at us as we ducked to avoid having our heads blown off. The use of our heavy machine gun, some bullet time, and a hefty dose of precision aiming ensured that we were the victors, and with less than 15 seconds to collision, we sailed to safety.

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The fast pace and ridiculous over-the-top nature of Vanquish make it a tad quirky and a shade insane. With its release date approaching as quickly as our out-of-control train, we're eager to strap ourselves in and see where the ride takes us. Vanquish will be released on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in October this year. Stay tuned for our full review soon.

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