(Sega for Xbox 360)
By Mike Delano
Vanquish will eat you alive. Anyone who has built their third-person shooter chops on the Uncharted series or Gears of War 2 on any setting below Hardcore will likely quickly succumb to a hailstorm of bullets and lasers headed straight for their brain. As with any great game, though, the developers give you the tools to meet this overwhelming challenge and, when you make skillful use of these highly polished mechanics, you may even feel like you’re the one with the advantage in this futuristic fight against an America invaded by Russian robots. Everything here is as finely tuned as one would expect from the studio that created Bayonetta, which means it’s incredibly fun to play and hard to put down. But unlike that unqualified success from earlier in the year, Vanquish lacks some of the bells and whistles that gamers expect from a modern shooter in 2010 (multiplayer, co-op of any kind, customization features). This narrow focus no doubt allowed its creators to craft such a superlative experience, one that hopefully won’t go unnoticed in a crowded time of year when bloated feature lists and questionable extras are sometimes mistaken for value.