Of course I would like it, since I agree with it. However I think he really goes in depth, first with the little shooter history at the beginning. Then, really getting what the game is about, something I think people overlook because they're not looking for it. See, there is this development in video games today that they have to be user friendly and you're supposed to feel like a bad ass from starting up the game. You can even do that in Vanquish, it's calld Casual-Auto. If all you want is an action movie with buttons, to see the story to the end with some broken robots in between. That is all you should ever play.
I don't want to label people "casuals" I don't think it's that simple. It's part of how the video game market has developed. When I was growing up, games had to have really good gameplay to be called good games because the graphics and sound sucked. Story ? Well, what if I would tell you I was happy with some flashing images at the start with some text and some flashing images at the end (it's humorous to think back and compare, but those that can, know I speak truth). The rest is the game. Today, many of the games feel like interactive movies to me. I can press the badass button and be a badass. In Vanquish, every single button on the controller perform a crucial action. I have to combine them with timing and precision to be a bad ass. I have to earn it, I'm not given it. It's probably no coincidence either that the majority of the console games I grew up with came from Japan.
I don't want to call myself "hardcore" for enjoying that. I think I'm just old. I get immersed in video games through meaningful action, not through storytelling or graphics or what have you. Those things are nice, but they are not required, by my standards, they are wrapping paper. I think many older gamers watch where the industry is heading and don't like it. I'm glad some people still know what makes a video game, and make games for people that enjoy well made action and gameplay. I'm even optimistic enough to say that this approach to game making is not going away anytime soon. I now just have to be more discerning when buying video games, I have wasted to much money on games I don't enjoy.
Maybe this is part of the downfall of Vanquish, they tried hard for presentation, cut-scenes, multiple languages (?still don't get this one) to make it "story driven" (oh how I hate thee). If that wouldn't have been there maybe people wouldn't have been distracted from the excellent gameplay. Conversely I think Bayonetta succeeded in that way because the story in it made absolutely no sense at all, so people went: "well... then what is there to this game... holy **** !" Maybe it tried too hard to fit in when it really should have tried harder to stand out. To bring attention to what makes it unique. I don't want to speculate on this, it's not important, what's important in the end is that I have it, play it and love it.
Excellent post, I think coming from an older generation of gaming has made me appreciate gameplay over story. This is probably why I've never been crazy about JPRGs. The character's actions and my level of immersion in those actions is what keeps me playing. So "hard" games like the Ninja Gaidens, DMC's, God of War, etc. are a test of how well you can immerse yourself in the gameplay mechanics. To me, there's no point of playing an interactive move, there's no challenge since they do everything for you. I can say that as a Metal Gear Solid fan, an overly cinematic experience can be boring.
Long reaching plots aren't necessary for me to enjoy a game. You mentioned a flash of text? I enjoyed the Arcade storylines of old: an "excuse plot"(the president's been kidnapped...go kick terrorist @$$) is all I need to get involved. I'll save the detailed narrative for movie and T.V. If I had to label myself, I'd say "semi-hardcore." No patience for NUR/PAIN+ runs, but I'll challenge and beat the hardest difficulty setting just because of the challenge/unlockables. I'd rather earn the unlockables through skill, as was the case if you wanted something rare.
"I'll make you MEOW, b####!!"
I think we have the same idea. I'm really into challenge games and speedruns. Like you said about game mechanics, but even more insane stuff is possible with a time limit or handicap. Gives a game a new dimension. What I want to say is I love to burn my games to the absolute limit.
This most likely stems from being quite poor all my life, so I didn't own a lot of games. Chaos Legion was the only game I owned for around 3 years and I played it non-stop. After finishing it there were ranks to achieve and stuff to unlock, discovering tricks. Really made me appreciate what I had.
Then I had to create my own challenges or speedruns which is the most fun I get from games. Kind of do it all the time now even though I have more games now.
So it saddens me to see most games these days are so 'casual'. No one cares to look deeper rather just see the end credits and it goes back to the shelf. I could play God Hand and Bayonetta for the rest of my life.
A very strong review.
"You could criticize Vanquish for not building a strong narrative, but here the goal is not to beat the game or see its “story” to its conclusion. The goal is to be amazing at it."
Pretty much what comes to mind when I see Vanquish players.
We're in the same boat man, I didn't have a lot of money as a kid so I too had to sometimes live with one game for 2+ years. Created speedruns, handicap runs. I try to do the same today, but I find myself only doing it with the great games. While back in the day every game had to be 100% and mastered to the insane.
I strangely miss those times.
Too many words spent singing praises for me. I'd rather be reading about tactics, exploits, etc. Reviews really aren't my thing to begin with.
When you start looking at other games, there are so many exceptions to the rule that it's much easier to understand that each individual game is designed in its own way. Whether the design works or not will depend on the talent of the developers.
I don't have to be uber skilled to feel like a badass in God of War. It's not a flaw of the game design, it's just that manual dexterity is simply not the focus of the experience. God of War is a game where you're supposed to feel like you're a crucial part of this huge adventure. And IMO it works very well. Silent Hill 2 provides almost no challenge, and it's widely regarded as one of the most immersive and satisfying games in history.
I don't feel that I need to compare Silent Hill 2 with Vanquish, because they are two different experiences. It's like comparing a great comedy with a great drama. How do you even quantify emotions for a comparison? In the end they are both excellent ways to have fun, and that's what matters.
The way I see it, it's not fair to boil things down to games today being interactive movies. That is just as simplistic as non-gamers asking what's so much fun about pressing some buttons.
Hideki Kamiya, director of the notoriously tough Devil May Cry, was asked in an interview why did he make Okami so easy to complete. And his answer was simple: because it's a freaking enormous game. Do you really want a painful roadblock every two steps you take in a 70-hour adventure? It would completely ruin the flow. Your mind is more than active while playing that game with the millions of quests and places and people to focus on. It's simply a different experience.
Wasn't Vanquish criticized for being short? Well, whoever criticized Vanquish's length missed the point of the game, and I think the hardcores sometimes miss the point of other games too.
I also disagree about sound and graphics not being impressive back then. I still remember the first time I saw Super Mario World at a random Sears store. It looked absolutely incredible.
Awesome topic, anyway. =)
And this time!