Vector is an arcade style free running game with a simple story, loads of diverse level designs, intuitive gameplay mechanics and beautiful aesthetics. Vector tells the story of a man living in a world controlled by “the system” through a mind altering chip implanted in the brains of the people. When his implant is accidentally knocked out and the networks at work keeping him calm fail, he’s forced to use the parkour skills he somehow picked up sitting in an office to escape the city before he’s captured by “Big Brother.” Simple and sweet. Needless to say, you’re coming straight from the underground and the system has the authority to kill a minority.
The story, though inconsequential, does add an adequate backdrop and context for the game that effectively fuels a player’s motivation to continue. This is also the most beautiful arcade game I’ve played in quite some time. With a stunning and simple abstract silhouette aesthetic framing all of the action, it creates a unique perspective that pops off of your screen and puts you in the body of the runner despite being a 3rd person experience.
Speaking of which, the game isn’t just pretty to look at; much like the classic arcade games that precede it, Vector’s intuitive controls make the game both challenging and rewarding. After each swipe there is a minimal delay in movement that mimics how one might attempt the character’s acrobatics in real life. This delay adds a layer of difficulty that makes the game less about speed and more about timing and patience. This forces the player to become more proficient at the game while helping them memorize the layout of the levels, thus employing different strategies to achieve higher scores.
The game is huge, offering 60 + unique levels that escalate in difficulty, becoming increasingly puzzle-like as you approach the end. Every level has obstacles for your character to trick over using subtle swipes across the screen, collecting orbs and coins along the way for points to purchase more tricks as well as unlocking the next level. I know that sounds annoying, but like most things with this game it’s streamlined for efficiency and entertainment value. I found that as I continued, the option to blaze through levels diminished, making memorization a necessity rather than an option. That may put off some casual gamers, however, that was not a bad thing in my book. This game brought the goods, striking the tenuous balance between frustrating and fun as hell that so many games fumble.
But, is it Hardcore?
Was Equilibrium, the early 2000’s adaptation and re-interpretation of Fahrenheit 451 starring Christian Bale hardcore?…Yes, yes it was.
Is it Hardcore?
All in all, Vector is a highly polished, intuitive, ruthless but entertaining experience that anyone who enjoys or has enjoyed arcade games should pick up and play as soon as possible.