Home > Gaming, Opinions (Gaming) > Gaming: Enslaved – That’ll do, Pig

Gaming: Enslaved – That’ll do, Pig

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

It's impressive how neutered the above enemy has become, starting off as an instant-kill terror you have to flee from but by this point being something you can kill with the press of one button. As I've mentioned before, it means replaying earlier chapters will make the danger feel false.

I’ve had plenty of negative things to say about Ninja Theory’s to approach to freedom and storytelling, and I maybe haven’t said enough about what I’m enjoying about the game. Today I was struck again by how colourful the game is. Some of the chapters take place in industrial locations that in other games are used as opportunities for the developers to really embrace grey and brown, but in Enslaved there’s colour everywhere. If there’s one thing other developers should copy from Enslaved, it’s how to inject colour into a setting without making it look like a cartoon.

I’ve not mentioned the upgrade system in the game yet, outside of saying I wasn’t sure what it was I was collecting or why nobody seems to be interested in them. The upgrades are split into four categories: staff, combat, health and shield. The combat isn’t exactly difficult and I didn’t feel I was in urgent need of the extra abilities, so the first thing I did was pour all my points into health to get a decent health level and regeneration rate. There’s now no need to worry about finding health packs and sections with enemy turrets (which do lots of damage) are minor annoyances rather than health-draining deathbringers. After that I fully upgraded shields, in part for the same reasons as the health (capacity and regeneration rate), but also because there are achievements for fully upgrading a category and there weren’t many shield upgrades, and I moved onto combat next as that was the next smallest. Yes, yes, I know.

Anyway, today’s session opened with a cloud chase that reminded me of Jak and Daxter, which is a little amusing because those games were made by Naughty Dog, developers of the Uncharted games that Enslaved is often compared with (including by me). It had the instant-kill mines dotted around and sections that suddenly collapsed as you approached them to block off what seemed like a viable route, the kind of cheap scripted trick that I loathe in the Grand Theft Auto games. However, it’s a very short sequence and didn’t have a chance to become irritating.

I’ve now reached the point where you meet Pigsy, about whom I knew little beyond him being in the game and having a bit of DLC focus on him. When the duo meet him Pigsy asks Trip a question and she answers without words, just a frown, and Pigsy responds just as silently, confusion and then sadness crossing his face. It’s a good moment that shows off Ninja Theory’s skill with the facial animations, half a year before L.A. Noire started making a big fuss about it.

For some reason I was expecting Pigsy to have a fairly nasal voice, that he would be a slimy, cowardly sort of character, acting smarter than he was and insulting the others. His voice is actually very deep, deeper than Monkey’s, and he doesn’t shy away from a fight. He definitely taking the comic relief role, which doesn’t always work in games (not least because games writing isn’t great at that kind of natural humour), but so far I like Pigsy. Much like in the latter parts of Alan Wake, when the more comedic characters get bigger roles and help offset Wake’s moodiness, Pigsy’s easygoing humour works well.

There are points where they stray too far into stupid humour, going back a couple of times to having the overweight Pigsy get stuck trying to squeeze into a small space, and there’s a penis joke that wasn’t really necessary, but by and large the writing walks the thin line between amusing and irritating without many stumbles. At one point he asks Monkey whether he uses a lot of hair product, drawing attention to that fact that Monkey’s rigid, pointy hairstyle works for the character design but isn’t necessarily practical to maintain in a post-apocalyptic environment. Monkey doesn’t give an answer so it doesn’t quite ‘lampshade‘ it, but I do like that the writers weren’t afraid to point it out.

Pretty much the first thing you have to do upon meeting Pigsy is race him to the top of a tall structure. Refreshingly, it’s a race you can win or lose and it doesn’t matter (though there’s an achievement for winning). Moments of even that small amount of freedom aren’t that common in Enslaved, so it was nice to see. Of course, Ninja Theory couldn’t let the whole race go by without stopping you for at least one cutscene – in this case showing Pigsy ‘cheat’ his way ahead while Monkey stands still and watches, when Pigy’s actions should have meant Monkey was even more eager to keep moving – but I’ll let that slide.

As it stands now I’m right near the end of the game, but unfortunately time got away from me and I couldn’t quite finish off the final chapter and a bit. Tomorrow then should see me finally completing the game, so stay tuned.

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  1. May 20, 2011 at 15:15
  2. July 10, 2011 at 15:04

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