Gamescom 2010: Enslaved: Odyssey to the West PreviewBy Jake Gaskill - Posted Aug 30, 2010
What We Know:
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, Ninja Theory’s action-adventure follow up to their PlayStation 3 exclusive Heavenly Sword, follows the adventures of an unlikely pair of convicts—the brutish Animal and the brainy Trip—as they journey through a gorgeously abandoned world on their way to freedom. I spent some hands-on time with the game back during E3 2010, but for Gamescom, Ninja Theory was, sadly, all about the hands-off walkthrough.
What We’re Seeing Now:
The Gamescom demo of Enslaved showed off a level that occurs about two-thirds of the way into the game, and finds Monkey and Trip teamed up with the frumpy and lovelorn Pigsy to navigate their way through a massive mech-strewn junkyard known as the Titan Graveyard. Team Ninja has a great affinity for characterization and compelling and believable relationships between characters.
While the partnership of Monkey and Trip is the primary focus of the game, the walkthrough showed off the wonderful dynamic between Pigsy, Monkey and Trip, which all stems from PIgsy having known, and been in love with, Trip her whole life, and now feeling threatened by Monkey and Trip’s new companionship. This tension plays out beautifully in the interactions between the characters, made all the more so by the stunning facial animations and voice work.
Gameplay wise, Pigsy also brings a unique element to the table thanks to his grappling hook, which lets him navigate around the environment with ease, and gives him perfect vantage points from which to provide cover for Monkey and Trip. Moving through the graveyard, Monkey dispatched a series of mechs through a combination of hand-to-hand combat and ranged attacks thanks to his trusty, electrified staff.
Eventually, we faced off with a giant mech boss called the Rhino. This rusty chrome-domed beast battle really showed off the game’s spectacular sense of scope, and demonstrated how the game’s various gameplay mechanics work in concert with one another. When you aren’t shooting Pigsy’s strategically placed mines tossed into the mech debris-lined arena, you’ll be using your hover board made of light to navigate around the Rhino’s charge, or climbing up a hundred foot tower to release the final explosive fingertip needed to bring down the metal bastard.
Of course, just when we thought we had the Rhino where we wanted, he absconded with Trip, and the scene transitioned from boss battle to high-speed, hover board chase through a lush jungle in pursuit of the kidnapping bot. Maneuvering through, over, under, and around trees, trunks, and vines was fast and fluid, and continued the demo theme of gameplay variety. In the end, Monkey catches up with the Rhino and rescues Trip, much to the chagrin of Pigsy.
Each time I see a little bit more of Enslaved, I say exactly the same thing, “I can’t wait to see more.” There’s just so much character and craft put into the world and its inhabitants that you can’t help but be completely drawn in by them, and the dichotomy of Monkey and Trip is just fantastic. I know I say it every time, but I can’t wait to see more of this supremely promising title. Luckily, we won't have to wait too much longer as the game hits PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on October 5.