A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Vanquish is an intense, futuristic military shooter that depicts blood and gore, features instances of strong language, and stars a chain-smoking protagonist. The focus of the game is to glorify and make entertaining frenetic, over-the-top combat. It is clearly not intended for children.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's it about?
A rogue sect of the Russian military has taken over the country and launched war on the United States in VANQUISH, a Japanese-style third-person shooter with some decidedly Western elements. The game begins with the villain, Victor Zaitsev, obliterating San Francisco with a space-based microwave blast, then threatening to do the same to New York should the government decide not to surrender. The president, a strong, Hillary Clinton-esque personality, vows never to submit and immediately launches an attack on the orbiting platform Zaitsev’s forces occupy. Players jump into the shoes of Sam Gideon, a DARPA researcher who wears advanced armor that makes him an almost unstoppable military machine. Armed with a wide range of upgradeable weapons, players begin a break-neck-paced, action-packed, and thoroughly adult-oriented adventure to save America.
Is it any good?
Japanese shooters often don’t resonate well with Westerners, but Vanquish is different. It suffers the sort one-dimensional personalities and wooden dialogue found in its brethren, but still manages to be riveting thanks to some spectacular movie sequences, clever off-world settings, and extraordinarily quick pacing.
More importantly, the combat is highly gratifying. Players take on enemies ranging from small crawling robots to multi-storey behemoths using a healthy selection of satisfying weapons. The controls are tight, and the epic battles are rarely short of heart-pounding. Unfortunately, the frenetic action sometimes translates into bosses and missions that are more difficult than they should be. That quibble aside, this could be the most successful example yet of a game that marries Eastern and Western shooter philosophies. Good fun for grown-ups.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about smoking in games. What narrative purpose does making a leading character a heavy smoker serve? Does it glamorize the habit? Why would the game have him lighting up in the heat of battle? Does it make sense?
Families can also discuss why they play games. Is it to experience a thrill from doing things you can’t do in the real world? To settle down and relax? To have fun with friends? To enjoy some alone time? Which of these pursuits does this game satisfy?