PlatinumGames are coming into 2020 with a one two knock out punch. The team known for their adrenaline pumped mechanics and Michael Bay inspired theatrics are well aware of their lineage. You see, it was during a previous generation when the Japanese giant SEGA partnered with PlatinumGames and birthed a catalogue worth their weight in gold.
Two of those games in particular are remembered fondly and are considered modern day action classics: Bayonetta and Vanquish. In fact- whenever someone asks me what’s the first Platinum game I should play – I smirk and without hesitation suggest– Vanquish.
But history is a funny thing. Nostalgia tinted glasses don’t work as well as they should when you boot your PS3 up. You see the original Vanquish and by extension Bayonetta were barely hitting 720p and were a technical nightmare in terms of framerate. Even on the 360 – the resolution cap is an unflattering experience. Essentially if you game on console – the options for a high fidelity experience are limited.
But that changes today- the classics just got a shiny new coat of paint! Platinum has decided to dig deep into the history books and look to bring back these treasures into the new decade. Do they succeed?
Vanquish is a third person shooter with stylish combat and epic set pieces. The game is set in the future where a Terrorist group known as The Order of the Russian Star declare war on the United States. The planet is suffering from a shortage of food and other natural resources. The Order take control of the American space station and use their microwave energy weapon to wipeout San Francisco. Once they succeed, The Order then plan to wipeout New York City. This is where you come in. You play as Sam Gideon, a government agent who’s gifted with many skill sets. Sam is powered with a futuristic combat suit that’s designed to help him flank and overcome many obstacles.
The gameplay is where Vanquish shines the most. The cover system and shooting mechanics elevates the game to a whole new level. When you roll over during a fight, you can trigger a bullet time feature that allows you to get a few kills in. Bullet time can be real handy during a boss fight. Your combat suit can also trigger the bullet time effect if you’re sliding with your jets and start shooting. The game has many different weapons from a standard assault rifle to a laser canon. EMP and frags can be real handy if things get overwhelming. The most important thing to note is that there’s a cool down system. If you’re using melee attacks or sliding with your jets, it’s wise that you keep a close eye on the meter to make sure that your suit doesn’t overheat.
The campaign will take you between 7-10 hours to complete. To add replay value, the game has a challenge mode that requires you to complete certain objectives.
The graphics in Vanquish still hold up, and can pass as a current gen title. With the limitations of last gen consoles, we couldn’t see the game’s true potential until now. At 60fps, the gameplay feels refreshing and far more enjoyable. As far as the resolution goes, Vanquish runs at 1440p 60fps on the PS4 pro. Cut scenes run at 30fps with the occasional screen tearing.
The soundtrack goes hand in hand with the action and it’s futuristic setting. You’ll be treated with some up tempo techno beats along with some metal and jungle.
Vanquish felt refreshing with it’s current gen upgrades. Storytelling wasn’t it’s strong suit but the gameplay does more than make up for it. If you missed out on this cult classic during the eighth gen, then now is the perfect time to jump in.
Bayonetta is the modern day action game queen. A Witch by definition, she’s captivated many a console – and her history with platforms is something very few IP’s ever achieve.
Originally released on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 – Bayonetta instantly became a cult classic. Dazzling action, frenetic gameplay, and old school action gameplay that tested the best of fingers.
Eventually the sequel, Bayonetta 2 would find its way as a Nintendo Wii U exclusive, and in the future – Bayonetta 3 is a Switch exclusive with an awesome appearance on Smash Brothers. The Original Bayonetta was Hideki Kamiya’s modern day statement piece, a franchise that retains the guts and glory of his Capcom legacy whilst catapulting the gameplay mechanics into the stratosphere.
With the 2020 release, Bayonetta finds herself back on Playstation and Xbox – this time in stunning high fidelity, high framerate, and remastered glory. So let’s take a closer look shall we?..
Bayonetta’s plot is absolute madness. The type of B grade nonsensical anime story that only exists to serve as the back drop of the action. Without being bogged down into a convoluted mess – in the universe of Bayonetta there are two groups Umbra witches who wield the power of the Dark arts and Lumen sages who control the power of Light. Bayonetta is a child of both heritages. A great war happens and Bayonetta is sealed. Hundreds of years later she is open by a unsuspecting researcher – and the game begins.
The gameplay of Bayonetta is not something easy to describe. At it’s core – this is a third person action game with extremely deep mechanics. On the front end Bayonetta has melee attacks and a double jump that allows her to cover space vertically with ease. Next is long range attacks with her hair. These are further amplified with transformations that see her enter into an animal form for massive damage. Lastly, an upgrade system using Halos is also here to make sure there is always a reward for your carnage. All in all–this is typical Platinum. Nearly every button has an effect and combinations are key to success.
The in-game rings allow you to unlock abilities. As you play through the chapters, you’ll find a gold vinyl record piece scattered in hidden locations. Once you find all the pieces of each LP, you can unlock new weapons.
The soundtrack has a stylish presentation with some light jazz, R&B and pop. The tracks blend well with the action. It’s probably one of my favourite soundtracks in gaming.
Bayonetta looks and plays better than before. PlayStation players can finally enjoy a great version of the game. The overall package provides great value with two amazing titles and hours of fun. It’s a must have for any collection.
Developer: PlatinumGames/ Armature / Publisher: SEGA
Release date: 18/02/2020
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Version Reviewed: PlayStation 4 Pro