Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is an upcoming tactical action-adventure being developed by Ninja Theory, whom you may remember were behind the highly regarded Heavenly Sword. The game’s story is being written by Alex Garland who was behind the movies 28 Days Later and Sunshine. There is no set release date as of yet, but Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 owners can tentatively expect it sometime this year.
It’s 150 years into the future and the human race is on the brink of extinction thanks to those untrustworthy robots we once built. Earth has been purged, with nearly all human life eradicated by the robo-baddies, who are still on the lookout for the 50 000 survivors. The planet seems better off for the lack of humans though, having returned to a lush vegetative state, with plant life slowly reclaiming the human cities.
The survivors themselves have either settled in small communities or chosen to lead the solitary life in the wilds. The protagonist is one of the latter, an acrobatic chap named Monkey who honed his skills through a lifetime of dodging robo-death squads. Unfortunately his luck runs out and a group of human slavers capture him. Placed on a slave-airship and bound for an ugly demise, Monkey meets his soon to be sidekick, a technologically gifted woman named Trip.
The slavers use headbands to control their captives, but Trip manages to reprogram one and fits it to Monkey, allowing her complete control of his actions .The duo escape through teamwork, and begin the arduous journey back to Trip’s windfarm commune. From here, the story revolves around the developing relationship between these two characters as they fight to overcome the odds. Visually the game moves away from the typical dingy post-apocalyptic future we’ve grown accustomed to. Thanks to the plant life thriving in the absence of humans, the environments are colourful and lush. Being an action adventure, one can expect lots of platforming challenges. Trip isn’t as agile as Monkey, so he often lends her a hand.
The game is billed as a tactical action adventure, meaning that the usual gung-ho Kratos style mentality of running in and bludgeoning everything to a pulp isn’t going to work too well here. Robotic sentries populate the cityscapes, waiting for signs of human life. Monkey and Trip can choose to avoid the robot’s or launch a surprise attack.
Trip has a handy robotic dragonfly which can be used to scout areas for enemies. It’s not all stealth and sneakiness however – as Monkey and Trip progress, they learn how to use the robot’s weapons against them, and Monkey slowly upgrades his personal arsenal. Monkey has at his disposal a retractable metal staff and electronic shielding gloves, whilst Trip has an EMP device that stuns enemies.
Players can expect numerous cinematic quick-time events which have become rather mandatory in this age of action-adventure titles. The animations are fluid and believable thanks to the licensing of NaturalMotion’s Morpheme animation middleware, which also works with their Euphoria physics animation – so we can expect lots of cool combat sequences.
Be sure to take a look at the debut trailer to catch a glimpse of the game in action.
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