I kind of feel like this game would be more fun on normal difficulty since it punishes you for sliding around and being in the open for too long. It forces you to play it like a typical cover based shooter. Maybe I just suck and need to work on my movement.
The pistol is OP though. It's almost like a sniper without having to reload every shot. Headshots feel so satisfying.
Welp, this game was the worst way to find out my mouse is acting up again and sporadically registering multiple right clicks when holding it down. It makes it annoying to manually trigger AR and stay in it with any consistency.
Boosting on its own is really no different than running openly through enemy fire; the action by itself doesn't confer any damage mitigation, it's basically the equivalent of sprinting in a traditional third person shooter. For combat, you want to be using boost + dodge and activating AR mode as often as possible (as you said, "rely a lot on Bullet Time"), and you want to be switching between weapons constantly and/or using melee depending on the range of the nearest enemies. You can activate AR after a boost melee (kick) also, and that becomes a really important part of your toolbox for getting up close against multiple enemies without dying immediately.
(From another Vanquish thread on neogaf, not my gif)
Edit: The boost kick + AR + shotgun is your friend for clearing out groups on open ground.
Edit2: You can also activate AR while jumping over cover
I don't know exactly what it is, but something about the "Darkness" mission environment felt like a massive drop in image quality for me. It actually progressed to the point where my eyes started bugging me; the best way I can describe it is to compare it to the sensation where you're sitting too close to a pixellated, blurry image and trying to focus and resolve it. Is that just my imagination? It has been a long week, maybe my eyes are just tired.
If you got a setup that works for you that's great, so I don't mean to press the issue too much or try to get you to change your setup but there's 3 different in-game sensitivity sliders, combined with the SC's "vertical movement" and "gyro ratio to joystick movement" settings (paraphrasing) I was able to dial things in to how I wanted. Granted it involved a lot of back and forth between in-game and SC settings when I normally prefer to do all the sensitivity adjustments through the SC config, so I definitely understand what you're getting at, but it is possible to get a gamepad layout to a good spot.
There's a thread on the Steam forum with people complaining about the lack of drops, so I guess they're broken. I was trying to window shop some hot, overpriced Steam backgrounds a few hours ago, but I guess it'll have to wait.