While most gamers are focusing their anticipation on the heavy hitters of the holiday season, like CoD: Black Ops and Fallout: New Vegas, there is one game that people may have forgotten about: Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. In an attempt to get some attention for the game, Namco has released a demo on the PlayStation Network.
The demo appears to take place at the very beginning of the game. Players assume the role of Monkey, who has been captured by machines, on an airship en route to a slave camp. Monkey observes a girl escape from her pod, and a few seconds later, all hell breaks loose on the ship. Monkey's pod gets knocked down, allowing him to escape. At this point, players assume control of Monkey, and the demo begins. The controls feel really tight, and jumping has a welcome and subtle auto-aim, similar to the Uncharted and Sly Cooper games. After a few platforming sections, Monkey gets his hands on his staff weapon, and runs into some combat situations.
While the demo is not too combat heavy, there is enough included to get an idea of what to expect in the full game. The closest example would probably be the combat in the God of War series. Players have light and heavy attacks, plus block and evade maneuvers. Combat in the demo is simple, but watching the trailer that plays after the demo ends reveals an abilities tree that can be used to upgrade Monkey. This will hopefully flesh out the combat as the game progresses.
The most noticeable aspect of the demo is the setting and how it is handled. The airship Monkey is on is about to crash, which creates a sense of urgency and makes for some interesting set pieces. If climbing up the wing of a sideways airship moments before the wing gets clipped by a New York skyscraper sounds interesting to you, then you should give the demo a shot. The game has some great looking environments and set pieces, and Ninja Theory seems to be really focused on making the look of the game a major selling point.
As a fan of Heavenly Sword, I have had my eye on this title for a while now. While the demo has definitely raised my interest in the game, I still have a few concerns. This demo level, while containing some impressive moments, is extremely linear. I wonder if the rest of the game will have this same issue, or if more paths will become available to the player.
Also, as was the case with Heavenly Sword, game length could be an issue if Enslaved turns out to be only a few hours long. For some of us it is hard to justify $60 for only a few hours of gameplay. Finally, I just wonder if the rest of the game can continue to offer set pieces as impressive as the one in this opening level.
So Ranters, did anyone else play the demo? Did it make you excited for the game, or fail to impress? Please let us know in the comments.
The Enslaved demo is currently available only on PSN.
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West releases on October 5th for the Xbox 360 and PS3.