Enslaved: Odyssey to the West PlayStation 3
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Released on 08/10/2010
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West on PS3
ENSLAVED™: Odyssey to the West™ is a post-apocalyptic retelling of the classic 400-year old novel Journey to the West. Set 150 years from now, the world has been ruined by war and ecological disaster with only a handful of survivors remaining.
In ENSLAVED™: Odyssey to the West™, players take on the role of Monkey, a strong and athletic, yet solitary figure, who been captured by one of the mysterious slave ships, which harvest the remaining population and take them out west never to return. Trip, a technologically savvy young woman who has also been imprisoned by the same ship, manages to escape. She quickly realizes that Monkey, with his raw strength and power, is her only hope to survive the perilous journey back to her home. She hacks into a slave headband and fits it on Monkey, linking them together – if she dies, he dies… Her journey has now become his and Monkey must now travel west alongside Trip as they traverse a demolished world, under constant threat of capture and mortal peril.
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West on PS3 Features:
- A Cinematic Masterpiece – Featuring dramatic cutscenes co-directed by Andy Serkis, (Lord of the Rings, King Kong) who also plays the lead role of Monkey, portraying critical events that drive the story of Monkey and Trip
- Stunning Environments– Explore a beautiful, eerie world of war-ravaged cityscapes that have been reclaimed by nature and are fraught with danger at every turn
- Tactical Gameplay- Think on your feet! Survey the environment, work together with Trip and choose your path to battle through the perilous environmental and deadly enemy obstacles that await
- Engaging Storyline - Play through an original story co-written by famed novelist and screenwriter, Alex Garland, (The Beach, 28 Days Later); Loosely inspired by the classic Chinese novel “Journey to the West,” experience the evolving relationship between Monkey and Trip through their plight for survival
- Dynamic Combat System - Attack and defend with agile prowess using a combination of melee attacks, blocks and intense takedowns which allow Monkey to overtake an enemy to steal its weapon for his own use, rip the enemy apart piece by piece or destroy it in one satisfying final blow
Enslaved will be released in October
Namco Bandai's just dropped its E3 trailer for Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, and while there's plenty of surprises in there for anyone looking forward to the tactical action game, the big news comes at the end: the game will be hitting shelves this October, when it will be available for the PS3 and Xbox 360.
Enslaved is the latest game from the UK-based development studio Ninja Theory, best known to date for the PS3-exclusive Heavenly Sword.
The team's latest game is a retelling of the classic Chinese myth Monkey: Journey to the West, and dumps players into a very pretty post-apocalyptic New York where humans have been all but killed off and nature has taken over again.
If you're expecting a game about flower-picking, however, prepare for a shock: the city is still riddled with deadly robots set on exterminating all life, and as Monkey, it's your job to guide your companion Trip to safety across the vast ruined metropolis, in a mix of platforming and fast-paced action that should leave players breathless.
With stunning visuals and Andy Serkis of Lord of the Rings fame in the role of Monkey, Enslaved is definitely one to keep an eye on.
Co-written by Alex Garland, the novelist and scriptwriter behind The Beach and 28 Weeks Later, the latest title from Heavenly Sword developer Ninja Theory is set 150 years in the future, where a small human population battles to survive in a post-apocalyptic world patrolled by robots from wars long past.
Trip meets Monkey
Enslaved sees you take on the role of Monkey, a strong and brutish loner who forms an uneasy alliance with Trip, a technologically savvy but sheltered young woman he encounters on a slave ship headed to the west and an uncertain future. Realising she needs his help to avoid death and make the perilous journey back to her home, Trip fits Monkey with a hacked slave headband that binds them together – if she dies, he dies, and so their epic journey begins.
If Monkey dies, Trip dies, and so their epic journey begins.
Unlike the grey and brown, often barren wastelands traditionally associated with post-apocalyptic games, Enslaved's is bursting with colour and fine detail. It's beautifully realised environments depict a world in which nature is beginning to take command again, new plant life and vegetation sprouting from beneath the crumbled remains of urban cities and transforming them into vibrant playgrounds.
The visual flair extends to the game's characters and animation, which have understandably been compared to the excellent Uncharted 2's. The facial animation work is of the highest quality and Andy Serkis, perhaps best known for his role as Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, does an excellent job of portraying Monkey.
While it's certainly beautiful, Enslaved's world is also a dangerous one, featuring plenty of environmental hazards that need to be traversed and enemies that must be overcome using a combination of the leading characters' individual skills.
Climbing, swinging and jumping from one piece of scenery to the next looks great and feels fluid in motion.
The game's platforming sections again bring to mind Uncharted's as you manoeuvre the agile Monkey through tree-tops and clamber across structures, the clever environmental design doing a good job of highlighting the route you need to take to reach your goals in a subtle manner that doesn't take you out of the moment. Climbing, swinging and jumping from one piece of scenery to the next looks great and feels fluid in motion.
Monkey's also not one to shy away from a fight, which is a good thing considering the large amount of killing machines roaming Enslaved's lands. You'll use your agility to evade enemies before countering with Monkey's staff, the camerawork stylishly framing a mixture of light, heavy, stun and wide attacks. The game also boasts a combat upgrade system, which should mean there's plenty depth yet to be revealed.
Trip also plays a role in action proceedings. As well as the ability to distract enemies in order to help Monkey sneak around or flank them, she possesses computer hacking skills and has access to a range of gadgets like a camera-mounted dragonfly. It's clear this is a game about teamwork and not just a one man show, then.
The combination of Ninja Theory's game design talent and the ability of the writing and movie stars employed from outside of the industry to work on Enslaved always meant that the title was going to be one to keep an eye on. Thankfully, its well-paced mixture of puzzling, platforming, combat and exploration, alongside its stunning visuals, mean it could yet live up to its great promise.
If you're a fan of action adventures, you'll find plenty that's familiar in Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. This game takes its cue from some real classics of the genre - ICO, Jak and Daxter, Prince of Persia, Assassin's Creed... There's even a chase scene which will induce flashbacks in anyone who remembers ye olde Crash Bandicoot games of yesteryear.
However, there's also plenty that's fresh, new and unusual about Enslaved. This is largely down to the game's fantastic production values. The animations, both facial and full-body, are amazing, brilliantly conveying characters' emotions as well as their physical abilities. This might have something to do with the fact that Andy Serkis, who played Gollum in Lord of the Rings, performed the motion capture.
The soundtrack is also superb. It's by award-winning composer Nitin Sawhney and it's perfectly tuned to accompany the in-game action, whatever's going on. The sweeping orchestral sounds create real atmosphere and a compelling sense of tension as and when required.
Then there's the storyline. It's been written by Alex Garland, best known for penning The Beach and the screenplay for 28 Days Later. Based on classic Chinese legend Journey to the West (which you may be familiar with from cult TV series Monkey), it's set in the USA 150 years from now. Society has collapsed following an epic war and now gun-toting mechs roam the ruined streets.
Their mission is to capture any human survivors and put them on slave ships - which is what's happened to our hero, Monkey, at the start of the game. He escapes along with a beautiful and very smart girl named Trip. She puts a headband on Monkey which forces him to protect her at all costs - if Trip's heart stops beating, the band will kill Monkey.
What follows is an enjoyable romp in the classic action adventure style. Monkey can run and leap around like, well, a monkey, climbing up pipes and jumping across platforms with ease. He comes equipped with some sort of giant laser staff which is excellent for smashing mechs into bits. It can also fire plasma bolts, which immobilises enemies, and laser blasts, which finishes them off.
Some of the most enjoyable sections of the game see Monkey riding around on his Cloud, a kind of portable hoverboard which lets him zoom across land, over water and up ramps. It's great fun to use and adds an extra level of depth to one or two of the highly enjoyable boss battles.
Not all of Enslaved is as entertaining, however. There are some dull on-rails shooting sections to plough through, the game really starts to lose pace towards the middle and it can all just feel a bit too easy at times. Monkey's amazing agility means he never mistimes a jump or misses a handhold, and levels are entirely linear, so the platforming sections offer little in the way of challenge and nothing in terms of freedom of exploration.
Keep on playing
The combat system also lacks depth. Monkey is supposed to have a range of different moves at his disposal but it's often easiest just to bash away at the buttons any old how. You can buy upgrades with any collectables you've found, but these don't seem to have a significant effect on Monkey's abilities and therefore don't really add much to the experience.
However, you'll still want to keep playing. This is partly down to the fact that although the gameplay may feel a bit simplistic, it's solid. There are no frustrating issues or annoying niggles. You can bound through the levels with ease, knowing the camera will keep up with you and Monkey will react intuitively.
But what will really keep you going is Enslaved's excellent storyline. Those brilliant animations and great lines of dialogue help to build a believable, engaging relationship between Trip and Monkey. You want to find out what happens to them, and what's really going on in the world they inhabit. There's a great twist we won't spoil here, but let's just say it's worth playing right through to the end.
True, there are flaws here. Enslaved doesn't bring anything new to the action adventure genre and the middle of the game feels like something of a trudge. However, the gameplay is solid and there are some fantastic set pieces, and they're wrapped up in a beautiful, polished, compelling package.
A must-buy for fans of the genre, and a must-try for everyone else.
+ Superb storyline and script.
+ Lush, detailed visuals.
+ Solid, enjoyable gameplay.
- Lacks depth and pace in places.
- Dull on-rails sections.
- Nothing new here.
Enslaved 2 is a possibility, says Ninja Theory
With the studio's futuristic action-adventure game Enslaved: Odyssey to the West hitting shelves this coming Friday, Ninja Theory's boss Tameem Antoniades has been talking to Eurogamer about the chance of a sequel, and has said that his developers could cope with it, even though they're already hard at work on the Devil May Cry reboot, DmC.
"We've been growing into two teams for the last year," said Antoniades. "We've got capacity to do two games."
Enslaved follows the adventures of two strangers thrown together in a deadly post-apocalyptic wasteland, and features all the clambering about and fighting robots that you could ever wish for. It's brilliant stuff, and although Antoniades said the studio hadn't planned for a sequel, he'd "like to see something happen."
"The thinking from the beginning was not to assume there would be a sequel, just to put everything into this game. It's a new IP so let's not plan for a sequel because the chances are we'll only disappoint ourselves," he said. "So we mentally prepared for that - we've not planned for a sequel. But if it gains some traction, I'd like to see something happen."
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is released on 8th October for the Xbox 360 and PS3.
Enslaved developer hiring for a brand new game
Ninja Theory must be a busy place to work at the moment. The Cambridge-based videogame developer has only just got Enslaved: Odyssey to the West out of the door and announced it's handling the Devil May Cry reboot DmC, when - what's this? - the team is hiring for a new, as yet unannounced project.
Juicy gossip. According to the developer's website - thanks, Eurogamer - the UK studio is looking for a lead designer with "AAA title experience," and "extensive knowledge of major console systems."
There's nothing else to go on at the moment, but Ninja Theory is comfortably amongst the best developers in the UK - and probably the world - so this is cause for celebration. Likely candidates for games would be a follow-up to the studio's beautiful PS3 exclusive Heavenly Sword, which took players on a dazzlingly balletic hack and slash tour of mystical China, or a sequel to Enslaved itself. The developers mentioned recently that they'd like to do another game, and their violent retelling of an ancient myth which sees Monkey helping his captor Trip across a post-apocalyptic New York stalked by deadly robots, would certainly be ripe for a follow-up.
Whatever's coming next, there's still plenty of time to get stuck into Enslaved, then. If you like your action adventure with plenty of combat and death-defying platforming, you can pick it up today for the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360.
Coded by UK studio Ninja Theory, which wowed us with Heavenly Sword and Enslaved, the all-new Dante will steam into battle against the forces of darkness while wrestling with two warring sides of his own nature.
Now reimagined as a half-demon half-angel hybrid, Dante's history translates into gameplay in the form of a magical weapon which changes form depending on which side of Dante's personality is dominant. Go demonic and you're wielding a gigantic axe, but if you're all angelic then you'll be twirling a scythe of righteousness.
The decision to start over on the series, following mixed reception for 2008's Devil May Cry 4, has angered some fans but judging from the gameplay trailer screening at Gamescom, Ninja Theory has brought their talent for intuitive melee combat and acrobatic flow to a series that was in danger of becoming irrelevant.
"We are not working on an Onimusha game," the tweet said, leaving little room for doubt. "Any rumours surrounding this are untrue."
It's perhaps not surprising that the studio was linked with the persistent gossip that Capcom is planning to revive the series. Ninja Theory is currently putting the finishing touches to the relaunch of another Capcom saga, Devil May Cry. Although the drastic redesign for lead character Dante earned the ire of some die hard fans, the word from all who've experienced its silky smooth combat is overwhelmingly positive.
Onimusha was last seen on the PlayStation 2, and featured different samurai protagonists battling against invading demons in the 16th century. Originally released in 2001, the game was followed by three sequels, a tactical strategy spin-off, a pachinko game and a CG animated movie.
It's certainly a series that deserves a new entry, but at least we've got the Devil May Cry reboot, due for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on January 15th.
Enslaved will be released in October…
Enslaved: Preview (11/08/2010)
Co-written by Alex Garland, the novelist and scriptwriter behind The Beach and 28 Weeks …
If you're a fan of action adventures, you'll find plenty that's familiar in Enslaved: Odyssey to the West.…
Enslaved 2 is a possibility, says Ninja Theory…
Ninja Theory must be a busy place to work at the moment.…
Capcom has also used Gamescom to explain a little more about the changes they've made to their popular Devil May Cry series for its upcoming reboot, rather stylishly titled DmC.…Ninja Theory squashes Onimusha reboot… (04/12/2012)
Ninja Theory, the UK developer famous for Heavenly Sword and Enslaved, has taken to Twitter to quell rumours that it's working on a new version of Capcom's supernatural samurai series, Onimusha.…
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