Enslaved: Odyssey to the West E3 Impressions

June 18, 2010 Written by Cameron Teague

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is the latest effort from developer Ninja Theory, the minds behind the PS3 exclusive Heavenly Sword. With the game sitting on the game room floor at E3, PlayStation LifeStyle got a chance for some hands-on time with one hell of a big Monkey.

Enslaved puts players behind the helm of Monkey and his partner in Trip, who has placed a special headband on Monkey’s head forcing him to help her to get home. It is this headband that is behind the main gameplay mechanic in the game. Along the way home you must battle the robots that have been left over all around the world and much more, while trying to keep not just yourself, but Trip alive because if she dies, you die.

Players take direct control over Monkey with only the ability to command Trip through basic commands such as decoy and follow. These commands are made in real time so you must find cover or be very quick about issuing the commands. You must use both characters to try and make your way through the world, using both of their skills to tackle enemies. Trip is not able to actually engage in combat so she is relegated to secondary abilities like hacking doors and creating a decoy to draw enemy fire. The combat in the game felt fluid with two basic attacks and a block, but didn’t feel too different from others on the market. You will also need both characters to overcome obstacles in the environment, such as throwing Trip up onto higher ledges or carrying her on your back.   ll of this feels great and adds a lot to the game.

Besides combat you will spend a lot of your time with platforming elements, swinging from lights posts and walls to make it to where you need to go. These aspects of the game feel very much like games such as inFamous and works very well, though you don’t have as much freedom as you might have had in those games. In fact the platforming in more along the lines of Uncharted 2, with a set destination and the platforming elements are very defined and set in stone. Taking place in Post-Apocalyptic New York, the game does a great job of distancing itself from the normal grey and barren world that accompanies many post-apocalyptic games, instead giving the world a very green and vibrant look. The art style of the characters is just as vibrant as the world with both characters looking very solid and full of color, another thing sometimes missing in these settings.

The game will feature basic skill trees to level up your character, which you will do through orbs that you find throughout the world and after defeating enemies. We were not able to check out the skill trees in the demo, so not sure just how deep this is just yet. You will also be able to upgrade your weapon with Monkey and Trip will gain new abilities as your progress through the game, though we were told in our booth tour they were not sure if Trip would gain these abilities automatically. We also got a look at the Dragonfly ability in the game which allows the player to send a dragonfly to scout the upcoming area for any dangers. Be careful too because Monkey will be the only one able to see these dangers, meaning you must carry Trip on your back.

Overall the bit that we played of the game was very promising.  Solid combat with platforming and a solid team mechanic with both characters. The game didn’t seem to have any major issues with it and every piece of the puzzle seemed to be working pretty good. Due out in Fall of this year, this is shaping up to be a pretty solid game and one you might want to put on your radar.