Preview: Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (Xbox 360/PS3)

Is this looking to be the sleeper hit of 2010?

Last week, I got my first hands-on with Enslaved: Odyssey to the West at Namco HQ in London. I can’t admit that I was expecting much, but Enslaved really surprised me with great production values, addictive gameplay and a gripping story that sadly, I’m not really allowed to talk about. Well, the basic summary is that it’s set 150 years in the future where humans are close to extinction thanks to machines. You play as Monkey, an escaped prisoner from a slaver ship who is bound to a woman called Trip. Essentially, if she dies…you die.

The gameplay feels like a mixture of Heavenly Sword and Uncharted 2. Now, I had mixed feelings about Heavenly Sword and as this game is done by the same team, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Luckily, they’ve balanced the combat and apparently the game is much longer. You have to keep Trip safe, giving her a boost onto ledges and all the usual things you would expect when you have to baby sit someone in a game. I personally don’t mind this, but have a feeling that some gamers will.

Monkey is strong and athletic; his weapons pack a serious punch against the mechs you come across. There are a number of boss battles that require a bit of extra strategy, but each battle is great fun. There are areas where you’ll have to work out how to travel across, but Trip has a gadget that scans the entire area and it can give you great hints, as well as highlighting enemies on your screen. You can also buy upgrades with the orbs you gather from areas and combat.

Visually, Enslaved looks pretty impressive. The character models are well detailed, there’s motion capture for every cutscene and superb voice-acting. The levels look nice also, with only a few dodgy textures holding it back. My time with Enslaved was great, but there’s a lot that I’m not allowed to mention. Having said that, what I have covered is a nice teaser into the world of Enslaved which you’ll be able to play from October 8th.

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