Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is one of those games that people will most likely tend to avoid. Why you ask this? Simple. It isn’t a sequel or part of a whole franchise. I am here to tell you that you are wrong, and you may regret. As one of those who got their hands on the demo back at E3, there was a lot of doubt in this game. As with everything else I do, I was usually wrong.
The timeframe between the E3 demo and the demo that was released yesterday, it looks like the developers put in a lot of work in this game. With @NinjaTheory, the same people behind Heavenly Sword, you can expect nothing pure excitement. If you need an idea of how this game is played, think of Uncharted environment, mixed God of War gameplay mechanics. Sure there isn’t any magic spells you can do, or no 500-story to defeat, but you will still have a blast.
Let’s start with the back history of Enslaved. First off, you are set 150 years into the future, set in New York, for now (there is a certain statue to let you know). You are imprisoned on ship heading to a destination, dubbed the Pyramid. As our character, Monkey, wakes up, he is trapped in a ball-like cell. Our other guest (who favors Nariko fro Heavenly Sword, go figure), Trip, is able to get out first. Obviously, she must know about the ship, because she sets up an explosion by going into the computers. Before you know it, your ball falls out of place, and you are able to escape. Ok, maybe I was using that word, a bit loosely, you get out of the ball, but you still have to get off the ship. Trip, who seems very terrified of you, starts to run away, and Monkey ends up chasing you. Now you really didn’t think it would be that easy to just chase.
As you are beginning to chase her, your “tutorial” begins to start. You have basic moves, but no weapons. So the only thing you can do right now is: move, evade, jump, and rotate the camera. The way that the current level is designed is quite amazing. There is a reason why the character’s name is Monkey. Earlier, I mentioned that you can relate the gameplay mechanics to God of War. When you are evading, climbing poles, or just hanging around (literally), you get a sense that you feel like Kratos. The difference is, you can control the camera. Now there may be times where the camera has to be fixed, but the team has done a good job making sure it works well.
You can tell that this is just a demo. The graphics aren’t the best thing yet, but there are details everywhere. For example, Monkey has marks on his face, toned muscles, and great movements. As the team decided to go with the Unreal engine, you can get a sense of how this game actually looks. Honestly, it’s not half bad. The explosions are believable. As with anything, there is a lot of repetition. Maybe this is used for memory purposes, or the developers just ran out of ideas. There are times, when collision detection isn’t what it should be. As I said, this is just a demo, so I am sure that the retail version will offer something better.
Controls are what really make this game playable. When you are jumping, you can see him jump as if it was a real person. Now here is where the Uncharted part kicks in. As you are moving through the ship, you will begin to familiarize yourself as if you are Nathan Drake himself. They that Monkey jumps is very easy to execute. Jumping from pole to pole is also easy; though at times there may be spots where the game doesn’t want to agree with you. No worries, you will catch the hang of it. When you are able to gain control of weapons, you will notice that the movements will be as fluid as possible. Moving though the ship as you are going through Uncharted-like level design is very exciting and keeps you propelling for more. As you get outside, you still have to get to the escape pod. Navigation is pretty laid out for you. There is timing avoid, so be careful about what, when, and how you jump to something.
Even though this is a demo, you can actually tell that the story will keep you on your feet for more. As you are chasing Trip, and able to catch up to her in an escape pod, it will kind of seem like a set up. She plants this headband on your head. Once this headband is on, you are enslaved by her. Now this is not just any old headband. It is activated by her voice, and you have no control over it. Here is the kicker: if her heart stops beating for any reason, you will also die. So now you don’t just have yourself to save, but also her too. So you have to protect her, until she can find her way home. Nice way to have a story, right? As I said all throughout this, it is only a demo. Never judge a game by just the demo. As far as I am concerned, this game should have people wanting to know what happens to Monkey and Trip. Not saying it is a must-have, but should at least get some play.