Friday, 15 January 2010

Headbutt to victory

They say that fools rush in where angels fear to tred. Today, that means that I'll be looking at the very definition of a fool, the mighty Vanguard. Now I dont think I'm wrong when I say that rushing headlong into your enemy in a high intensity gun battle isnt a common tactic in shooters.  It certainly doesnt pay off in real life but in the strange and twisted world of the future it seems to. It worked in Halo, where the protgaonist could punch tanks to death with his bare hands, and it works here too.

The Vanguards main power allows him to charge down his enemies, smashing into them with lethal force, he focuses on up close and personal fighting, which is the polar opposite to my style. While I hide behind a barrel 10km away from the battle and snipe the vanguard is simultaneously caving in someones face with his fist and turning someone else into hamburgers with his shotgun.

Does this make me a coward? Maybe. So what else can the Vanguard do, lets find out:

First up lets looks at the Biotic Charge power. This is really hyped up in the video, and yet bizarrely, I couldnt find a single picture of it on the internet. But anyway. This power allows you to rush towards an enemy and smash into them with deadly force. You can pass through barriers and obstacles to get to your target, but I guess this doesnt apply to proper walls and corners. This power looks like a lot of fun and has the potential to be tactical, especially for a quick escape. It was cool when it was used to avoid missiles and other dangers as well and this could very easilly be useful. The problem with this is that its unclear whether you can just charge anywhere, or if you need an enemy to target to. I'm guessing you need an enemy, or else this would happen with annoying frequency (click to play).

This power seems a little bizarre for a space age shooter seeing as your character ignores all the deadly weapons hes carrying and decides to headbutt his enemies to death instead. Presumably the Vanguard loses so many brain cells during training that they dont have to worry about the severe, repeated head trauma they suffer every time they charge into an enemy. Prepare for low intelligence characters who can only articulate emotion through potentially fatal chestbumps at the end of combat.

The pull power definately looks to be a hell of a lot of fun. Any power that gives you an oppurtunity to say "Get over here" like Scorpion as many times as you like is destined for greatness. You also get to shoot the enemies faces in with a shotgun at close range, while they are powerless to resist. This power is just in there for kicks, allowing the player to toy with his enemies. It should be very useful in battle, allowing you to immobilise and eviserate a powerful enemy while his friends watch on with horror. Later on you get the ability to upgrade pull into the much cooler pull field. For those that have played Arkham Asylum, the joy of  simultaneously pulling 4 goons off of a ledge with the multi-grapple was something quite special indeed, I'm guessing pull field will be a little bit like that. It should also be extremely useful, allowing you to take out one of two in mid air and letting your team mates shoot the others down like ugly alien clay pigeons.

The Vanguards only other biotic power is a bit of an odd choice, doing the opposite thing to all the other powers he has. Shockwave allows you to force enemies away from you, sending multiple foes flying  in all directions. Considering that the Vanguard specialises in close combat shockwave seems to be suited to knocking enemies back when you get overwhelmed, allowing you to fall back and try again from a different position. This would be great to use in conjunction with another power. You could send the enemies flying only to pull one towards you for a personal finish.

The Vanguard also gets access to two of the special types of ammunition. Switching to the Incindiary ammo allows you to set enemies ablaze, dealing damage over time and generally sowing mayhem amongst your foes. The Cryo ammo has a chance of freezing your enemies solid, allowing you to shatter them into a million pieces by blasting them up close or sending them flying with a charge. Say what you will about Cryo ammo, it certainly saves on burial costs, and your enemies families will thank you for that.

Vanguards get access to heavy pistols, submachine guns and their trademark shotguns. I'm guessing that most players will barely touch the pistol and the submachine gun in lieu of the shotgun, which is deadly at close range. Due to the new reloading mechanic though it should be more tactical for shotgun users, with the gun only holding 6 or 8 shots in a clip. You dont want to have to reload while surrounded by enemies you foolishly charged into the middle of.

When it comes to getting close and personal the Vanguard is probably the best choice. I wouldnt usually play a class like this but maybe its time I experienced things from the front of the battlefield, rather than at its back. This looks to be fun and I know at least one Spectre who will be shaking things up as a Vanguard. With such power and ruthlessness in combat the Vanguard seems to be a good bet for saving the universe. Providing his brains dont leak out of his skull before hes finished.

Next its the Adepts turn, and time for a major gripe of mine

No comments: