The Unappreciated Brilliance of Vanquish: A Cult Classic in the Making

When PlatinumGames released their powerslide shooter Vanquish in 2010, it failed to garner the recognition it deserved. This was primarily due to the overwhelming presence of some of the best first-person shooter games in history dominating the gaming industry that year. Jean Pierre Kellams, former narrative producer at PlatinumGames, recently shared on Twitter how Vanquish was positioned as the fourth “best” shooter game, overshadowed by the likes of Call of Duty: Black Ops, Battlefield: Bad Company 2, and Halo: Reach. This combined with inadequate marketing resulted in Vanquish being overlooked and cast aside.

A Unique and Underrated Gem

Unlike its FPS counterparts, Vanquish offered a refreshing experience through its fast-paced cover shooting mechanics and third-person perspective. It emphasized fluid movement and efficient combat strategies, distinguishing itself from the more conventional shooters of the time. Drawing inspiration from PlatinumGames’ renowned Bayonetta, Vanquish provided players with a dynamic and exhilarating gameplay experience that was not just about popping headshots but also about mastering the art of precision and agility.

During its release year, Vanquish faced tough competition from some of the industry’s most iconic titles, including Mass Effect 2, Fallout: New Vegas, and Red Dead Redemption. Moreover, Japanese-developed games were struggling to gain recognition and appeal in a market dominated by Western titles. The Resident Evil series was receiving criticism for its recent entries, Nintendo had shifted its focus towards casual gaming, and FromSoftware had just released Demon’s Souls, an obscure action-RPG that puzzled many players. Against this backdrop, Vanquish unfortunately appeared to be just another bizarre and inconsequential Japanese game.

In hindsight, it becomes evident that Vanquish was simply ahead of its time, forecasting the rise of unconventional and beloved classics in the gaming industry. One need only look at the success of Dragon’s Dogma, once considered a niche title, now hailed as a beloved classic with a highly anticipated sequel in development. Additionally, the transformation of FromSoftware, a once niche studio known for titles like King’s Field and Echo Night, into an industry powerhouse highlights the evolving tastes of gamers. Vanquish shares a similar destiny, poised to be recognized as an underappreciated gem that defied the norms and pushed boundaries.

A Second Chance

Thankfully, Vanquish received a second chance with re-releases on modern platforms. These new versions addressed the frame rate issues that plagued the original release, allowing players to fully immerse themselves in the game’s unique gameplay and stunning visuals. Now, gamers can experience the brilliance of Vanquish without technical hindrances, appreciating its innovative mechanics and the impact it has made on the shooter genre.

Vanquish stands as a shining example of a game that was ultimately overlooked during its initial release but has since gained a loyal and devoted following. Its distinctive gameplay, blending elements of fast-paced shooting and stylish action, sets it apart from its competitors in the shooter genre. Vanquish’s unfortunate timing and the challenges faced by Japanese-developed games at the time prevented it from receiving the recognition it deserved. However, in the ever-evolving landscape of the gaming industry, Vanquish’s unique and groundbreaking mechanics make it a true cult classic in the making, deserving of a place among gaming’s most revered titles.


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