Apologies for my extended absence. I'm back in school and I don't have as much time nowadays to write. Not that I was writing all that much beforehand. Vanquish is the latest third-person action game from Platinum Games, the studio that has brought you both MadWorld for the Wii, and Bayonetta for the 360 and PS3. As with their other offerings, Vanquish is action-packed, with a crazy, over-the-top premise that takes place on Earth in the near future. Players assume the role of Sam Gideon, armored agent of DARPA, on a mission to take back Providence, an orbital space station above Earth that is equipped with a very effective doomsday device that has been taken over by a group calling itself the Order of the Russian Star. The weapon is used on the unsuspecting population of San Francisco to devastating effect. Sam and a group of Marines are called in by the President to deal with the situation. As mentioned above, Sam is armored. This isn't medieval armor, either, but a state of the art ARS battle suit. This suit enhances Sam's reflexes and aim, as well as his speed and strength. This comes in handy as throughout the game, Sam and the Marines take on robots of all shapes and sizes. The story itself is a bit run-of-the-mill, and perhaps a bit cliche. Twists and sudden developments can be predicted well in advance of them actually occurring, and the characters themselves are standard fare for video games. But story and character development can and do take a backseat to gameplay, especially with a game like this. The gameplay and graphics are where this game truly shines. Controls are intuitive and responsive. There is a cover aspect to this game, and that can be a problem with some of those types. If you're sprinting along a hallway or battleground, there is a tendency sometimes for the character to automatically take cover if you get too close to some. This isn't an issue at all in Vanquish, owing to the smart design choice of having the sprint and cover abilities mapped to entirely different buttons. Advertisement Along with all of this, a bare bones upgrade system is used for the standard array of guns Sam can collect. The system is a bit different from others of its kind, in that the more of a certain type of weapon you collect, the more it gets upgraded, assuming you have full ammo for that weapon at the time and that weapon is currently part of your three slot weapon inventory. It can be annoying, but so can having to wrack up points or money to unlock upgrades, as well. There isn't even a separate screen. It all happen in game while you're playing, which for Vanquish is a good thing as this doesn't break up the nearly non-stop action. There is also a ratings system that judges your performance for each section of the game. As Vanquish is a single player game, the ratings system and different difficulties help to increase the overall replay value of the game. Overall, Vanquish is a fun game. Much like other offerings by Platinum Games, it's mainly non-stop action that keeps players entertained. All that said, this isn't a game for everyone, and the cover-based third person shooter market has become a bit saturated as of late. You may want to give this a rental before you consider purchasing it, but if this type of game is your thing, a purchase would be money well spent.