Enslaved: Odyssey to the West from Ninja Theory is a game that I’m very much looking forward to. The title is released on October 8th, but it was available to play at the Eurogamer Expo.
Of course, the Eurogamer Expo was a busy event so I needed to wait until almost the end of the show on Sunday before getting to spend quality time with Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, but boy, was it worth it. It provided me with probably the best 30 minutes of my entire Eurogamer Experience.
Be warned, if you plan on purchasing Enslaved: Odyssey to the West in the near future, don’t want to know what happens in the first two chapters, you should read no further. Here be spoilers.
But why not enjoy this fascinating Enslaved: Odyssey to the West developer diary instead?
For those unfamiliar with Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, its an action adventure game developed by Cambridge based developers Ninja Theory. It’s loosely based upon the ancient Chinese novel, Journey to the West, but with a futuristic adaptation to the classic tale. The story focuses around two characters, a man named Monkey and a woman called Trip. Monkey provides the player controlled muscle of the partnership while Trip provides the brains. However, this is a forced partnership with Trip having placed a Slavers headband on Monkey in order for him to help her travel across a post-apocalyptic North America and get home. Monkey is therefore compelled to aid Trip, because so long as he wears the head band, if she dies, he dies.
But, this isn’t how the game starts and when Chapter 1 begins Monkey and Trip don’t know each other. However, they’re both trapped inside pods on a slave airship and through Monkey’s eyes we see Trip escaping thanks to her technological skills. Soon problems start within the airship and Monkey is able to escape from his broken pod, thus putting the player in control of the main character.
With explosions throughout the airship, and clever camera angles, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West immediately feels like a cinematic experience. The opening section is more or less a tutorial explaining how to run, climb and jump through a variety of increasingly dangerous sections of the ship. Monkey is following Trip at this point but unaware of who Monkey is, Trip is closing doors behind her, thus forcing Monkey to jump and climb around the ship.
Combat is also introduced in Chapter One of Enslaved: Odyssey to the West through a series of battles with Mechs. The controls are simple but combat is satisfying enough. Monkey can employ a mix of heavy, light, ranged and counter attacks. However, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West isn’t a mindless hack and slash affair, and you’ll need to be tactical in order to succeed. Beat a mech during battle and Monkey can finish them with one of many nice finishers that will be seen from a variety of different angles.
After fighting off some more Mechs, and some more fast paced climbing and jumping, Monkey escapes the airship…through clinging to the outside of Trips’s escape pod.
When Monkey comes round he discovers that Trip has placed the aforementioned Slavers headband on him, and as you’d imagine, he’s not best pleased. Its here we get our first taste of not only the relationship that’ll develop between Monkey and Trip, but also the quality of the acting in Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. As you’ll know if you’ve watched one of Ninja Theory’s Enslaved developer diaries actors including Andy Serkis used motion capture to film the scenes together and they really do stand up against anything you’ll see in a film.
Of course, it helps that Enslaved: Odyssey to the West looks fantastic. The game may take place in a the warn torn, post apocalyptic environment of North America, but this isn’t yet another game filled with brown pallet after brown pallet. The second Chapter of Enslaved is filled with an assortment of bright colours as you make your way through a New York city which may have been partially destroyed by war, but that doesn’t prevent nature reclaiming the city.
Unfortunately, my busy schedule meant that shortly after starting Chapter 2, I needed to stop playing Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. However, my taster was enough to convince me that it’s going to be a great game.
Later on in the week, I’ll give you an insight into the production of Enslaved: Odyssey to the West I gained by attending one of the Eurogamer Expo developer sessions.
In the meantime, you what are your thoughts about Enslaved: Odyssey to the West? Is it a game you will be buying? Or would you rather stick to franchises that you know? Maybe Enslaved is a game you’ll buy once the price drops?
As usual, you can leave your thoughts on Enslaved: Odyssey to the West here on the Train2Game blog, or on the Train2Game forum.