Saturday, 9 October 2010

Why I haven't written anything for ages

I keep trying to think of something ponderous and analytical to say about Enslaved but I can't because I am boggly-eyed with excitement.

Awesome things about Enslaved:
  • It's set in post-apocalyptic America but rather than being drawn with a palette of dystopian browns and greys, Enslaved is bright and richly coloured. Nature has reclaimed the land.
  • It's written by Alex Garland, who wrote The Beach and the script for the Danny Boyle film 28 Days Later
  • The main characters have motion-capture (body and face, I think) that was taken from the actors who provided the voices. It's strange that video games don't do this more often, considering how much more effectively it renders the characters than having these features taken from different people. A case in point is Tomb Raider Underworld's Lara Croft, whose gymnastic moves were performed by the wonderfully-named Heidi Moneymaker and whose voice was provided by Keely "Oh, Kitty" Hawes. Each element individually is effective, but the two don't quite gel in the same way that they do in Enslaved's characters. 
  • Trip is voiced/mo-capped by Lindsay Shaw, whose future activities I will be monitoring closesly. Monkey is voiced/mo-capped by Andy Serkis, who was Gollum in Lord of the Rings, as well as being King Kong and the robot in I, Robot.
  • It is fun. Occasionally games with excellent storlines sacrifice gameplay for plot, but Enslaved doesn't. It's based on fairly simple foundations (a climbing/jumping system and a fighting system), but upgrades from fallen enemies mean you can build on these in any way you wish. You can change the properties of your different attacks or the number of projectiles you carry based on your fighting style, and the climbing slowly begins to incorporate lever-pulling and spatial puzzles. Nothing too difficult that would either detract from the flow of the story or require assistance from a game guide, but these things steadily add depth to the gameplay
  • Developers Ninja Theory are all really nice people and they put my name on the credits as a tester.

I'd reccommend this game if you like any the following:

  • Prince of Persia, especially The Sands of Time
  • Uncharted
  • Tomb Raider
  • Beyond Good and Evil
  • The Beach
  • 28 Days Later
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Bright colours
  • Incredible scenery
  • Being entertained
  • Stuff that is awesome


  1. Thanks for the recommendation. I've just bought the game but haven't started playing yet. (Still up to my eyeballs in Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light.) My son is having a great time with it, though, and I like what I've seen so far. We'll be sure and look for you in the credits. :D

  2. Good stuff!

    Guardian of Light looking good! Think I'll take the co-pilot through two-player for some upgrades when you're finished.

    (I'm under "Special Thanks")

  3. Wow, quite the lineup of actors / writers. Might need to check this out.


  4. I really enjoyed it.

    It's not perfect (I felt there could have been one more chapter, for example), but if you are interested in the narrative potential of video games, you should definitely check it out.

    The Edge interview with Alex Garland is very enlightening as regards storytelling devices, if you're interested.