Vanquish is the new third-person shooter from SEGA, and the speed of play and anime sensibilities have a lot of people interested in what it could offer gamers. In it, you play Sam Gideon, a nerdy research scientist a la Gordon Freeman that nonetheless used his huge science-y brain to develop an awesome suit to kill bad guys. It gives him faster reflexes, superhuman strength... and a futuristic transformer gun.
Instead of using a backpack to carry around all the guns Gideon will pick up, Vanquish utilizes something SEGA is calling the "Blade System." When you down an enemy, you merely stand over their corpse's weapon and scan it into yours with a barcode reader-esque scanner. Your gun can then morph into the new weapon, instead of holstering one to pull out a different gun. It's a pretty neat effect, and you can find new weapons/more ammunition in standard weapon lockers as well.
So, you have a newfangled space gun; how does it play? A lot like a fast-paced Gears of War, in fact, but with bullet time powers and a boost move. You'll be using that boost a lot. Boost from cover, boost to cover, shoot over cover, boost to more cover, boost into an enemy and kick 'em in the head (that last part's pretty cool). But will it wear thin? I don't know... has it worn thin after two (soon to be three) Gears games? That seems like it'd be up to the individual gamer's opinion. Would the ability to boost into a baddie's face from a football field away make Gears more exciting? Probably!
Like I mentioned, Vanquish also has a bullet time aspect. SEGA calls it the "AR System," and they want to make sure you use it very, very often. You have a meter on the bottom of the screen that refills rather quickly, and is the "slow down everything so you can aim for its face" meter, activated by one little button on your controller. You'll be using this a lot. When you're about to die, it'll even activate automatically to give you a chance of survival. It's very stylized and anime-esque when AR is activated. Gideon will do some Bayonetta-like acrobatics while raining lead death on his enemies. The effect ensures that you feel pretty tough and awesome. Almost makes up for all the time you'll be hiding behind cover like a little girl research scientist.
There will be upgrades for your guns and armor throughout the game, but it seems that the basic "boost into cover, take out some dudes, then boost to the next cover spot" gameplay will be pretty consistent. Luckily there's a variety of environments to keep things interesting, from trains to crumbling skyscrapers to space colonies, and the actual cover mechanic is incredibly intuitive and easy to use. There are also hidden discoverables like the mysterious Pangloss Statues to force you to keep your eyes peeled while you boost around levels at top speed. And don't worry too much about getting shot; you have Master Chief's auto-refilling life to save you if you can just find a spot to hunker down for a second.
So: Vanquish. Third-person shooter, cover mechanic, bullet time, anime stylings, boostin'. Any questions? It'll hit PS3 and Xbox 360 this winter.