Vanquish weapon analysis

I’ve been playing through vanquish (hahaha, I’ve beaten it long since this was written) and I really love the weapon design so far. it’s the only game with 3 weapons that has ever actually made me consider the weapons I choose for the situation instead of just an optimization function.

The LFE gun (which shoots a huge bubble of energy in case it isn’t obvious) is great for encounters against small enemies that clump together because it destroys them instantly and has a wide fire radius. it’s balanced by having a short range and only 10 shots max. It’s useless against larger units, barely doing damage, if any at all, but can be useful against romanovs because it knocks them down, opening them up for melee attacks. It totally ignores obstructions so it’s good for catching enemies behind cover too.

The shotgun is one of my least used guns, having a pretty miserable effective range. It has huge damage output up close though, so it’s really useful against larger units if I can get in close. It has only 20 ammo, so it has a reasonable amount of firepower.

The Disc launcher strikes me as one of the less useful guns, only being good against single enemy units. It has limited ammo, like 40 I think, and it homes slightly. It has decent damage and great range, so it’s better than a shotgun in most situations, but I think it’s a bit underpowered.

The armor piercing pistol is great against armored units and takes out regular units in a single shot, but that is a complete waste of ammo most of the time. It does damage like a shotgun does up close. They’re extremely rare drops however, but come with more ammo than a shotgun does, like 26 shots. Has more potential firepower than a rocket lawnchair, but takes more shots and is even more rare a drop.

The Rocket Launcher has a manual firing mode and a lock on that takes time to activate. It does tons of damage, and stuns romanovs. It has a very wide blast radius, like a grenade, making it useful for clearing tons of standard units in a close area. Better than a grenade on heavy units. Balanced by the fact that it has only 3 shots, less than anything else. Despite doing the best single hit damage, I tend not to choose it in situations with diverse enemies because it’s not flexible enough.

The laser cannon is a huge laser with great damage over time. It requires a few seconds to warm up though, and it drains energy directly from the suit, and can even overheat it. It’s really useful in situations where you won’t get fired on and need to do a lot of damage over time. It has no ammo limit, but I end up discarding it when I enter standard sections because it’s just not practical against regular enemies.

The sniper rifle is a sniper rifle. It’s useless against armored units, because a regular submachine gun gets better damage output. Its most useful in sections where the enemies are far away and you are free to line up headshots with the scope. It nearly kills an enemy on a body shot, and kills them instantly on a headshot. All the submachine guns kill instantly on headshots too, but the scope is the difference here. Also good for when an enemy is even slightly weakened.

The lock on laser locks onto a wide array of targets and fires at all of them with lasers kind of like a predator missile or something, but has shit for damage. I think it may be the most useless weapon. Takes a long time to kill even a large amount of standard units. I didn’t pick it up much at all.

There are 3 types of submachine guns and they’re all pretty similar, and good for long range engagement, and dealing damage to heavier units.

The boost machine gun is the best of the three I think, balanced by poor accuracy, small clip, and smaller ammo supply. Great damage output though, more than worth it. Drops rarely, so it’s a bit of a bonus weapon.

The heavy machine gun is my favored over the assault rifle, for better damage output despite smaller clips and less ammo. The boost and heavy machine guns both have around 260 ammo versus the assault rifle with 600.

The two grenades are also really cool and have nice application. The standard frag grenade has a great range and does great damage, which is useful against enemies big and small, especially if they’re clumped together. The EMP grenade has a wider radius and freezes the robotic enemies for a decent period of time, enabling moving forward, melee while they’re stunned, taking them out with an AOE, or just plain shooting at them.

Melee attacks are massively risky, because they instantly overheat the suit, and require moving forward into enemy lines. They leave you defenseless, so they’re a terrible idea except as a clutch defense or for attacking unassisted romanovs (large enemy units).

One thought on “Vanquish weapon analysis

  1. aaab September 30, 2019 / 5:35 pm

    “The LFE gun”

    It’s surprising how many enemies it can one-shot or completely disable. It’s not huge damage on beefier foes, especially on God Hard difficulty where the heavy variants of Gorgies have a huge amount of health and can’t even one-shot normal Gorgies (it does it in two), but even on the hardest difficulty it’s amazingly useful to have a weapon that instantly pushes back targets and can hit through walls.

    The only truly weird thing about the LFE Gun is how it first appears when you encounter the large Jellyfish, against whom it is a terrible weapon since it does not stagger them whatsoever. Beginners will grab it, wanting to try a new weapon that’s just appeared, and will get the impression it’s a frankly bad weapon. A lot of beginners comment on how they hate it sadly, and it seems to be based on initial impressions (other weapons such as the Disc Launcher and Lock On Laser first appear where they’re extremely useful).

    It’s worth noting that the Shotgun can fulfill a very similar role to the LFE Gun, but it has such wide spread that you really have to be near pointblank range to knockback enemies reliably, and it doesn’t hit through walls. The damage is outstanding though, and when maxed out it rapid fires. Anything at close range can be ripped apart, whereas the LFE Gun always acts as more a utility weapon rather than a boss killer.

    “I think [the Lock-On Laser] may be the most useless weapon.” “The Disc launcher strikes me as one of the less useful guns”

    The Lock-On Laser is the most situational weapon in the game for sure, but that doesn’t mean it’s useless per-se. Its role is similar to the Disc Launcher in that it’s meant to be a pick up and use immediately or save it for a specific situation, burn through it, and swap to a more general purpose primary weapon. The Lock-On Laser doesn’t do great damage, but there are some large targets that allow you to get multi-locks for decent damage. The main use of it is for rapidly sweeping basic Gorgies and Sniper-class Gorgies since it tears them apart, especially if you’re lucky enough to headshot (which it often will due to the trajectory). It can even be used in low ceiling areas by aiming at the ground after locking on to fire the lasers more horizontally. And it tears up basic Gorgies very, very quickly, so there are several fights where you can rapidly clear the field (the collapsing bridge battle for instance, the fight where you first obtain the Lock-On Laser). It’s not a weapon where you’re expected to carry one around all the time, but rather if it shows up as a random drop in a useful situation grab it, fire it off until it’s empty, then swap to something else sort of thing.

    The Disc Launcher is more versatile than the Lock-On Laser but still is tricky to use since the large projectiles cause it to often bounce off terrain. As you said, it has a homing property to it if you fire it over nearby enemies, or it can be fired long range at enemies since it does have perfect accuracy (with a slow projectile). Its main use is to keep as a secondary weapon for Romanovs or BIA fights. It decapitates and cuts limbs off Romanovs very easily, and the projectiles are a guaranteed stagger on a BIA much like the LFE Gun is (and can ricochet off to hit both in the double BIA fights). It can also be used for melee when overheating. It’s a situational weapon, but a very powerful weapon in those optimal situations, and one that’s still decently serviceable vs Gorgies and such.

    “The sniper rifle is a sniper rifle. It’s useless against armored units”

    It has bonus damage to weak points though, so if you can hit a glowing red area it will do decent damage. Generally though, it’s outclassed in every way by the Anti Armor Pistol which also has a zoom scope and nearly as much range with way more versatility. It’s helpful for decapitating Romanovs though it seems so you can use it for that.

    “[The Anti-Armor Pistol has] extremely rare drops however”

    The key to abusing the hell out of it is to dump upgrades into it to rapidly raise its capacity, then keep using Upgrades to refill its ammo. Even when at max level, you can use an Upgrade item to recharge weapons as a kind of universal ammo item. Note that the Anti-Armor Pistol also pierces most kinds of thin cover, so you can use it to shoot through cover to hit enemies behind. Coupled with the relatively large projectile size, and it is arguably the only truly gamebreaking weapon in the game, especially at max level where its damage doubles with triple the base ammo carrying capacity. It also has the best melee attack, the same flipkick as the Heavy Machine Gun, which can be used at long range to fire jumping shots at enemies (hold aim after using). The actual flipkick itself is the weakest so if you’re actually attacking with melee, use the boost melee jumpkick (which also allows you to hold aim to do followup shots).

    It’s less crazy in God Hard where Upgrades never drop (the game was originally designed and balanced without an upgrade system, upgrades were added later in development afaik) since there the weapon truly is more limited. It’s still generally better than the Sniper Rifle is, and the Pistol is genuinely good against all enemies in the game. I honestly can’t think of any enemies where it’s not effective.

    “I tend not to choose [the Rocket Launcher] in situations with diverse enemies because it’s not flexible enough.”

    Like the Anti-Armor Pistol it’s good against just about anything, but also really needs the use of Upgrades as ammo recharges if you want to use it frequently. The Rocket Launcher is extremely flexible though – unlike your own regular grenades (or those your allies throw), the Rocket Launcher blast does NOT damage you whatsoever. It can be fired at the ground as a kind of point blank melee blast when rushing enemies aggressively. The only real limitation it has is it’s always limited to 3 shots at full ammo, and in God Hard most Rocket Launchers are replaced with weaker weapons. As well, in God Hard some bosses gain a bonus damage resistance to it to prevent you from being able to speedkill them with rockets, but it’s still a terrific weapon whenever you come across one.

    “[The Laser Cannon] has no ammo limit, but I end up discarding it when I enter standard sections because it’s just not practical against regular enemies.”

    Its use of your overheat meter to fuel it is unorthodox, but it’s actually really great against just about anything. I’ve gone Vanquish on Normal using only the Laser Cannon as a gun (along with grenades) and it works on nearly anything. It doesn’t affect Crystal Viper but you can bait its quicktime event and punish it with melee for damage if you have to so Laser Cannon only is truly doable. Also worth noting is it has the special property of the Rocket Launcher of being able to destroy enemy turrets. Fire on a turret for a few seconds and it will explode, meaning it’s really helpful any time there’s Gorgies with gun turrets as you can take out all of them with little effort. It’s also good for taking out Romanov limbs, causes the Unknown to break apart hilariously fast, and is generally great as a sniping tool due to its accuracy.

    It’s a far less useful weapon in God Hard though where popping out of cover can instantly get you shot at and overheated, and where using the Laser Cannon during reaction time drains the meter way too fast to be practical. It’s usable in God Hard but a lot harder to be effective with it.

    “There are 3 types of submachine guns and they’re all pretty similar”

    It’s worth noting though that the Heavy Machine Gun has the best melee in the game, the flipkick that lets you make long range jumping shots (you can even switch weapons after the jump to do jumping sniper shots). It’s very useful, and the gun itself is often preferable to the Assault Rifle except in extremely long range fights where more accuracy is necessary. When fully upgraded it’s a solid primary gun.

    The Assault Rifle gets a few damage boosts as it gets upgraded and gains a ridiculously high ammo capacity, but its damage never really gets insanely high. It’s a good, solid long range weapon for accurate headshots and deals decent damage when doing body shots. It’s good for taking out Romanov heads thanks to its accuracy but it’s a good idea to have a stronger machine gun as backup for big enemies.

    The Boost Machine Gun trades the HMG’s flip kick for higher damage. The low clip size is an issue, but at level 6 onwards it gains piercing, same as with the Anti-Armor Pistol. If you’re using it in Normal and Hard, I strongly recommend upgrading it rapidly to really see its true potential. With piercing, it gives you way more options than the other two machine guns, allowing you to easily fire at armored enemies or through cover, making it devastatingly safe and powerful to use. It’s still useful in God Hard for raw damage output but since you can never get the piercing shots, it’s strictly just a stronger HMG there with a low clip size.


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