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Gaming: Enslaved – The Uncharted Odyssey

Click here for the previous post about Enslaved: Odyssey to the West.

That's right, I'm not going to muck around making new images every time.

I’m not necessarily going to make an entry for everything I play because sometimes there just won’t be anything to say (which became a problem with my older blog, where I ultimately just started resorting to recounting each mission I did in things like Valkyria Chronicles or Saints Row 2). I’ve played a bit more of Enslaved: Odyssey to the West though and wanted to mention something that a lot of people brought up last year after playing the full game or even just the demo.

It does seem like a key influence for Enslaved came from Naughty Dog’s two Uncharted games, particularly Uncharted 2: Among Thieves. In general the climbing sequences definitely resemble the relatively simple ones from that series a lot more than they do the often more elaborate ones of a Tomb Raider or Prince of Persia. Both games also place a lot of focus on two characters adventuring together (though Nathan Drake has several different companions throughout each game), keeping them talking to one another and including plenty of cutscenes, the writing clearly a big consideration of each developer.

It’s perhaps most noticeable in the presentation though. Uncharted 2 has a section where Drake almost falls to his death in a train hanging over a cliff, the camera swings wildly and Drake scales the thing just as sections of it collapse below him. In the opening escape sequence of Enslaved Monkey does something similar along the outside of the crashing ship, and when I played this time there was a collapsing crane that almost felt like a note-for-note recreation of that train sequence.

Ice level.

They're both very attractive games as well, which is actually rarer than it should be.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing because it’s not. For anybody who wants to make a cinematic, dialogue-heavy action game Uncharted is almost exactly what developers should be using as a guide, and so far Ninja Theory have done a fine job of it. The Uncharted games do also have plenty of third-person shooting (you might even spend more time in shootouts than climbing) where Enslaved only has the fights with mechs. As I said last time they haven’t been particularly challenging or deep so I’d say Enslaved has been somewhat of a less substantial experience than Uncharted in that respect, at least so far.

Ninja Theory aren’t the only ones who are influenced by Naughty Dog’s efforts. Back in the first Crash Bandicoot game they included a level where Crash had to ride a hog while dodging obstacles, and those rushing or chase levels became a regular part of the series. That first level had this music:

Now every time a game has a sequence that resembles one of those Crash levels I can’t help but get the Hog Wild music in my head. There was a point in Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune where Drake had to rush across a collapsing floor, the camera turned around to show how close he was coming to death, and my brother and I both started singing the tune. It happened to me again in Enslaved, where it rather undermined the tension of a sequence where Monkey was carrying Trip and fleeing a particularly vicious mech. I was particularly amused when I realised the mech could (coincidentally) be considered a naughty dog.

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