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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Namco Bandai Games
Developed By: Ninja Theory
Genre: Action
Players: 1
Rated: T for Teen (Blood, Language, Suggestive Themes, Violence)
Release Date: October 5, 2010
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Marcus Prunty

October 30, 2010 - A Post-Apocalyptic world that is very lush and beautiful at times has a hidden danger that threatens its survival. This beautiful yet dangerous world is what you must survive in Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. This game is brought to you by Namco Bandai, and developed by Ninja Theory (creators of Heavenly Sword). The game takes place in a post-apocalyptic New York, and is an interesting co-operative title that isn’t really co-operative.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West has two main characters --Trip and Monkey—who; at the beginning of the game, were trying to escape slavers that have captured them both. Upon beginning their epic journey just to escape the massive ship, the ship crash lands with barely any survivors. Upon waking up Trip who is a technical wunderkind has used a hi-tech headband to enslave Monkey’s help in getting her home. This headband binds their life forces together so if Trip dies Monkey dies with her and vice versa. Monkey’s massive size makes him an ideal candidate to help protect her on the journey home. She’s the brains and he’s the brawn. This is a deal out of necessity and not wants. Both characters despise each other and would prefer not to have to work together but they must.

As the player, you control Monkey who tends to run and climb and act like… a bit of a monkey. His massive strength is used to throw Trip up to ladders she can’t reach and also across ledges that she can’t jump. Both characters have their attributes that help aid the other character. Trip can do scouting via a dragonfly that she mounts a camera too that will show mines to Monkey that he wouldn’t normally see and also helps map out the area to show where the Mechs are and other hazards. Trip also has an EMP blast that stuns the enemy bots that are all over the world the game resides in. However once she uses it, you have to wait a while for it to recharge. So protecting her to where she doesn’t have to use it that often is a necessity.

The fighting strategy for the game is pretty varied as there are a heavy and light attacks, as well as special moves and ranged abilities. Defeating the enemy robots gives off orbs which you can collect to acquire new abilities. After a little while on your journey with Trip, she offers you the ability to upgrade your weapons, shield, health, and combat techniques with the orbs you gain from defeating Mechs and the ones you find. Monkey is equipped with a staff that he fights with and once you start upgrading your equipment your shield can become stronger as well as regenerate quicker. You can get pulse weapons that you shoot from the staff that can be strengthened and the ammo and shooting speed increased. Stronger combat attacks even a counter move. Upgrading the right things at the right time can be a great help, updating the wrong things can make Mech battles and boss fights really tough. The gameplay in Enslaved isn’t just button mashing attacks to defeat your enemies. Trip has the ability to project a hologram that will distract the Mechs thus letting Monkey get by them and in a better position. And at the same time Monkey can distract Mechs and other bosses by yelling and shouting drawing their attention and their firepower towards him which allows Trip to escape. This is a very good strategic weapon to use to save each other and using it at the right moment will save you from dying.

There are vast environments that are colorful and very reminiscent of Heavenly Sword that provide an amazing backdrop to all the Mech battles and boss battles you go through. The cutscenes during the game are done very well. At times when you’re fighting with Monkey and you perform a critical hit that destroys the Mechs you get a close-up of his face and the fury that he is unleashing as he strikes that blow it’s very visceral. Ninja Theory used the Unreal 3 Engine to develop this game, and when you’re playing Enslaved, the facial features of Trip and Monkey will make you do a double take. Trip's facial features are very reminiscent of Nariko whereas Monkey is Lazarevic from Uncharted 2 (by the face). Not sure if these 2 people were the basis of what they designed the characters around or if I’m totally seeing more than is really there but that’s what I thought when I saw them both up close. The music from the game is very subdued and changes up a little during the boss battles it’s not overwhelming and doesn’t distract from the gameplay.

With the good come the bad and the bad stems from the in-gamer camera mechanic. In this kind of action-adventure platforming game the camera is usually always a problem unless you’re playing God of War or something they have got it right as of late. But in Enslaved the camera gets in the way a lot. They went with the more zoomed in view which is great for seeing the combat and action up close. However it screws you over most of the time in that you won’t be able to see Mechs and bosses that are coming up from behind you. This isn’t a problem when there is 1 or 2 Mechs, but when 5 or so are rushing in from your backside while you’re fighting 2 or 3 in front of you it makes the battle more difficult. And you can’t adjust it to help you so you’re just going to have to roll away and dodge more and assume you’re going to get attacked from behind so constantly move. Another negative that I noticed was the controls are not as responsive as they can be at times. I noticed this especially when I’m surrounded by a lot of Mechs. Might have just been me being in panic mode or something but definitely something to look out for.

The story within Enslaved can be completed in around 8-10 hours. When I spoke to Namco Bandai at E3 2010 they told me that they had DLC planned for the future but didn’t provide me with any details on when and what the DLC will consist of. However, I recent announcement of ‘Pigsy’s Perfect 10’ DLC pack and the inclusion of 3D support for the title will help to flesh out the entire experience within the coming weeks. So that 8-10 hours of gameplay won’t be all there is for this game. There is also a hidden meaning behind the game that will play itself out as you go. There will be masks in the game that when you touch them play a flashback cutscene that makes you wonder what’s really going on. I won’t spoil that for you hear; play the game and you can find out. This game was a fun play and I think most of you will enjoy it as well so rent it or buy it, will make a good part of your game collection.


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