Remastering and genre bending

Screenshot from Tokyo 42

Screenshot from Tokyo 42   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

While Vanquish is a revamped blast from the past, Tokyo 42 fuses the best of many worlds for a whole new experience


Developer: Platinum Games

Publisher: Sega

Price: ₹665 on Steam

This has been a stand-out year for legendary publisher Platinum Games, helmed by Shinji Mikami of Resident Evil fame. Having launched the weird but fantastic action title Nier: Automata in February, Platinum Games re-released and remastered the 2010 action hit, Bayonetta for the PC recently. Now, their other cult action hit Vanquish is getting that same PC remaster treatment, and it is good.

What’s it about?

Cutting through Vanquish’s plot, which is thick with acronym and jargon, you play a soldier Sam Gideon, who’s geared up in something called the Augmented Reaction Suit. You become an Iron Man of sorts, only way cooler. In true action movie flair, Sam has to save the world from robotic doom in this wet-dream of a sci-fi shooter.

Vanquish launched in 2010, on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. It quickly gained cult status over the years, and another Vanquish game has been on top of everyone’s prayer lists. And Platinum Games has given us the next best thing in the form of a remaster — as Vanquish on PC plays in smooth 60fps scaling up to 4K resolutions, without your PC even breaking a sweat. Not to mention, this was how the game is supposed to be played, in its full glory.

How does it play?

You could bill Vanquish as a sci-fi shooter, but it’s also very close to a very small sub-genre of games termed as ‘bullet-hell’ shooters. It’s a lot like the classic Contra, which basically throws a barrage of bullets, missiles, lasers and all manner of projectiles at you. So you have to frantically dodge as well as dispatch off the enemies. Vanquish combines both of these genres into one helluva shooter.

The Augmented Reaction Suit takes front and centre here, as you use the jump jets to dodge overwhelming techno-enemies, most of which are armed to the teeth and larger than you. Get hit too many times and your suit goes into slow-motion, allowing you to dodge and fire effectively. Battles get intense, as you not only have to dodge and attack, but also switch weapons on the fly, and control the suit so it does not overheat. Once you master the system, battles are smooth, as you literally zoom around the battlefield on the signature quick burn, slide, dodging and firing at enemies.

Vanquish came out at the fag end of the PS3/Xbox 360 era, and it looked fantastic then. On PC, with the remastered graphics and boosted frame rate, the game looks like it was meant to look. There is a small bug encountered though, where at 60fps you take more damage, but that’s going to be patched up soon.

Should you get it?

That would be a resounding yes. It may be challenging for some, but that’s where games like Vanquish come in, bringing challenge and fun in the same smart package. Hopefully, Vanquish should make it to PS4 and Xbox One too.

Tokyo 42

Developer: SMAC Games

Publisher: Mode 7

Price: ₹564 on Steam

In a world of big-budget 3D-shooters and large open-world RPGs, there are a few independent developers making passion projects. They are blending different genres to give us games like Hyper Light Drifter and Hotline Miami. Being independent gives one the freedom to play around, and Tokyo 42 is the product of one such experiment.

What’s it about?

Tokyo 42 is an eclectic blend of classic isometric games like Syndicate Wars and Crusader: No Remorse with the graphics of the critically acclaimed Monument Valley. It’s neatly wrapped up in the assassin-style gameplay of Hitman and the situations and combat of Hotline Miami. Think, the opening sequence of the HBO show Silicon Valley. Except this is a cyberpunk version of Tokyo that’s equal parts neon and Zen garden green.

You play a randomly generated character, who is framed for murder. A scapegoat for an assassin, you set on a path to clear your name. It’s basically a wafer-thin excuse for you to play through multiple scenarios to take out several targets.

How does it play?

As an assassin in Tokyo 42, things are simple. You’re given a target, so you have to use stealth or all-out combat to assassinate them. If you’ve played several stealth games, you know the drill. Hide and make your way, do the deed, then escape. Tokyo 42 throws in several means of tackling your targets, either from a distance or up close and personal. Once you’re done with the single-player missions, you can take your game online in multi-player mode.

Where things go a bit awry is in the isometric design, which takes some getting used to. The stealth parts are great, the combat though suffers from a few problems. Sure you can turn the camera, but the aim is still a bit off. Couple that with the fact that you die with a hit, like Hotline Miami, and you have a recipe for frustration. Nevertheless, the design of the open-world and the brilliant writing and catchy Zen-like music saves the game.

Should you get it?

If you want something offbeat, with a beautiful art style and loads of stealth action, then the price of admission to the dangerous and beautiful world of Tokyo 42 is worth it.

Julian Almeida is a tech and gaming enthusiast who hopes to one day finish his sci-fi novel

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 12:24:41 AM |

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