Let’s Playing: Enslaved (Demo)

By Ishaan . September 26, 2010 . 6:21pm


At Siliconera, we’ve been working our way through Etrian Odyssey III, the Black Panther demo, Twinkle Queen (sigh), Birth by Sleep, Halo: Reach, and a bunch of other stuff that just came out.


This means none of us have had the time to check out Ninja Theory’s Enslaved demo yet, which is now up on both Xbox Live and PlayStation Network. For everyone that’s already played it (or is playing it), what are your impressions?


We’re curious. Bend each other’s ears. Let your thoughts be heard by all!

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  • YoctoYotta

    I think the acting and motion capture looks great. The environments are artistically very nice but technically a little dated; poor textures and sharp edges. The character movement feels more loose (less momentum) than genre-defining titles like Uncharted or GTA, but it’s not bad by any means. The combat featured in the demo only features defense, melee and the stick weapon thing, there’s none of the shooting, diversion, or any other mechanics seen in some of the preview videos. Aside from a minor puzzle-esque nature, terrain traversal (a la Uncharted) seems to be more in service of a cinematic presentation than game-play; there’s not much skill involved, it’s all pretty automatic. Maybe that changes in later levels, though to its credit, it’s frustration-free.

    I haven’t played much of Heavenly Sword, but I get the feeling this will be a similar sort of game that people will tolerate any shortcomings for the things it appears will do great, mostly telling a good ol’ story.

  • Andy Serkis has once again done amazing work with the mo-cap, and the voice acting matches the quality perfectly (equally amazing). The lush environments look gorgeous and are interesting because even though it’s a post-apocalyptic world, nature has moved on, which makes for interesting level design. The actual platforming is similar to Uncharted, linear but not boring, not difficult but not too easy. The combat system is also fantastic. You don’t get to see all of Monkey’s moves in the demo, which is good because it leaves something for the actual game. The combo system isn’t as in-depth as Bayonetta, but it’s not just button-mashing either. You got your combos like 1,1,1,2 ; 1,1,1,1 ; 1,1, 1(hold), 1; etc. Pretty much the standard combo system. It’s just so fluid you’ll enjoy every minute of it.

    All in all, I plan on getting this game Day One. It’s a new IP, but it definitely deserves the attention of any first-party title. It also strengthens my opinions in thinking that Ninja Theory truly can make a great DmC game. But that’s neither here nor there, so please don’t argue about Dante’s lack of white hair in further comments :)

    • MrRobbyM

      Agreed with every word…though still not sure about the DmC thing though. But that aside, I just hope the minor framerate and screen tearing issues are fixed for the game. PS3 demo that is.

    • Aoshi00

      This is a day 1 buy for me too. Having enjoyed Heavenly Sword, Enslaved was everything I expected, the demo didn’t even scratch the surface, the video at the end show there’s a branching system to upgrade Monkey’s moves, he could pick up enemy’s cannons and ride on a flying disc and such. And we didn’t even see him and Trip working together on puzzles yet, like Ico. I don’t know why people say the automatic jumping is so bad, that’s pretty much in Assassin’s Creed, Prince of Persia, or Uncharted, w/ 3D platforming you pretty much need it to save unnecessary deaths by bottomless pitI also agree w/ you there, if I liked Ninja Theory’s Heavenly Sword and now Enslaved, I think I’m pretty confident in them making a decent DmC (I’m not a huge fan of the series btw so I’m welcome to changes). Let’s just say I’m very happy w/ the Vanquish and Enslaved demos, my third game is Castlevania.BTW, I played thru this demo twice, the first time slowly on PS3, and the 2nd time on 360 since I arldy knew what I was doing. I think the framerate looks slightly better and not as much screen tearing on 360? I’m not sure, maybe it’s just my 2nd playthru was so quick I didnt pay attention, well for me my controller of choice is 360’s. No Jpn dub though unlike Heavnly Sword, I got the PS3 demo on Jpn PSN, if I change the system’s language setting to Jpn only the subtitle’s in Jpn. Of course Andy Serkis is more than enough, and Trip is so beautiful (NOT a Nariko clone..). Alrdy had this pre-ordered from Amazon months ago, has a $10 credit and soundtrack download and I’m reassured by the demo, I think it’s very worth it. Kmart is going to have a $25 credit for this for those who are interested. So I might just want to pick it up from kmart, not sure. The music seems nice though, too bad the soundtrack is just a digital d/l instead of a CD.

      • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

        The jumping in those games you named are automatic, but not quite to the extent Enslaved does it. For example, in Uncharted, you can fall off if you leaped from the near the edge of a cliff. Also, as you’re climbing and reaching for the next ledge, there’s usually a dynamic camera cue, and Drake will reach out his hand where your analog points. You can miscalculate and *die*. Feels like you have actually have control.
        Prince of Persia’s platforming also has the satisfaction of being very fluid, even if it is very automated.

        Enslaved’s platforming lacks of the finesse of Uncharted’s, the fluidity of PoP’s, and the responsiveness of both.

        • Aoshi00

          I think Monkey could’ve died if he didn’t reach the life pod in the 20 sec countdown right, I haven’t tried it. There was a point you have to time your jump otherwise you’d get burned by the jet engine’s fire, I got hit once but survived, maybe one would die on hard in one hit? Also there’s a cue for the next stepping stone, how about it one plays it on hard, would the cue not be as obvious? The part before Monkey got his gears back, it actually took me a while before i notice I needed to go around the robot by grabbing the pipe, I was trying to approach it by ducking behind the crates for cover at first lolAnyway, the demo just gave us a little bit taste of the beginning. Later on before you encounter enemies, Trip has this dragonfly scanner to scout the areas and you could decide to use shortcuts to avoid them or get the upperhand on enemies w/ a preempt attack, etc. Plus there’s going to be some puzzles like Ico. The fighting felt satisfying to me, I played on normal, it wasn’t hard but wasn’t easy either, maybe playing on hard the fights would be more challenging for those who need it, but it was fun for me. There’s going to be upgrades and monkey could take up enemy weapons. The presentation of the cutscenes and voice acting are just top notch as I expected from the people who made Heavenly Sword. Prince of Persia might have better platforming but that’s because that’s the main thing for that game, but it got repetitive fast, and I didn’t feel the fighting was as fun as Enslaved. I have a feeling Enslaved mix things up just a bit it wouldn’t feel as repetitive so soon. I don’t know why people compare this to Uncharted either, for me I compare this more to God of War or Ico, plus some nice Heavenly Sword level motion capture. Uncharted was fun but I preferred Gears of War’s more solid cover gunfights, Prince of Persia got boring fast.Too bad there’s no Jpn dub though unlike Heavenly Sword (was wondering which Jpn VA was going to voice Trip), otherwise it could make replaying more fun the 2nd time for a different cinematic experience.

  • Presentation-wise it’s excellent. Controls are smooth and gameplay is fun and cinematic.
    Though I AM slightly worried about variety when it comes to the fighting…but I guess I can’t judge that till I see the final product.
    Story interests me also, some excellent voice acting in theree

  • My opinion:

    Graphics: win (though beautiful, it also shares some of the same problems as other Unreal based games)

    Gameplay: win (like someone else said, it’s a simple combo based system, but it is smooth and satisfying)

    Sound: win (music and voice acting were both exceptional from what I’ve heard)

    Art direction: win (post-apocalyptic New York City never looked more beautiful…no I mean that seriously!)

    Andy Serkis: win

  • Soma

    It’s pretty awesome.
    So far, I find very little with the demo that I don’t like. I think that it’s going to be the kind of game that just about any gamer can enjoy. Customers at work this week have been chatting me up about it and most of the interest is coming from the types I wouldn’t expect to like this kind of game.

    Also, Ishaan … good luck with Twinkle Queen. XP

    • That’s interesting. What’s the word “on the street” at your store? It’s hard to tell what non-Internet consensus on a game is sometimes!

      • Soma

        Everyone I talk to seems to be loving the demo.
        To be honest, I was ready to pass over Enslaved. I thought, “Another re-telling of the Journey West story? I already played this game when it was called Saiyuki.” But, one day a customer came in who was raving about it, so I tried it out and it is pretty awesome.
        Then yesterday, one of the regular customers came in saying how much he loved it. Now, this guy is the type of dude who comes in to get the latest Halo and EA sports titles. Last person I figured who would enjoy Enslaved.
        So, I think that it will do pretty well. =D

  • I heard it is an Uncharted ripoff, is it true?

    • YoctoYotta

      Yeah, in some regards. It’s a cinematic, third-person action game with a lot of automated vertical climbing, so you could say it’s as much an Uncharted “rip-off” as it is an Assassin’s Creed “rip-off.” Thematically and combat-wise, the three games each offer something unique.

      • This is fairly accurate. They share a lot of common ground but each have their own specialties. Uncharted is a cover-based shooter, AC plays like an ARPG in combat with slightly weightier-than-normal platforming, and Enslaved is a mix of martial arts combat with familiar hack-n-slash mechanics and platforming that deserves just a bit more polish and fluidity.

    • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

      I didn’t get the feeling that it was like Uncharted. If anything, it is most like Prince of Persia 2008 (the cel-shaded one).

    • They both have platforming elements. That’s really the only similarity. No guns in Enslaved. Stories are completely different. Art style is completely different. But if by “ripoff” you mean they both have wall-scaling, then sure

  • I was constantly comparing it to Uncharted 2 during my playthrough and sadly this fell slightly flat in every single category, including motion capture, lip movement synchronization, graphics quality, gameplay (platforming & combat), performance/stability, and enjoyability.The music is more difficult to compare, but the voice acting is great. And Tripp’s eyes are extremely captivating. Maybe the best part of the entire game?Considering these things, lack of multiplayer (I won’t criticize it for this but I’m just mentioning the fact), a 10-12 hour campaign, and a possibly botched PS3 version (my console of choice), this is looking like a rental at best. Castlevania is taking priority for me. If money isn’t as tight for you guys, Enslaved seems like a great game too. Probably will score solid 8.5s around most places.

    • I tottaly agree with you , i kepth getting they tried to be Uncharted like, but a bit fail , for me now Castlevania is also a priority , but i do love Andy Serkis lol so i might buy this later ……

  • The storyline and characters are very, very interesting. Very well done. Gameplay-wise, though, I was a lot less impressed, as it felt like the demo was holding my hand during all the platforming sections. I may pick it up when it’s $20, just to see the story, which does seem like it’ll be top-notch, but I won’t be paying full price when the gameplay felt so lacking. The platforming was like, “My first platformer” and the lack of moves for fighting completely turned me off.

  • Yusaku_Matsuda70s

    Enslaved has been a game I’ve been looking forward to since it was announced. After trying the demo, I can say almost every part of the game (visuals, gameplay, cinematics) is either gorgeous, well-executed, or at worst serviceable, but the game has a few serious problems…

    As you’ve probably heard, the platforming is very stiff and mechanical. You can’t hang off a ledge, much less fall off. All the jumps are automated; you either jump correctly or you don’t jump at all. There is zero feedback, possibility of failure, if you press jump without a direction. Monkey just stands or crouches where he is. Almost every time, I just mashed the stick in the approximate direction of the next ledge and the jump button itself until Monkey jumped. This is probably the demo’s biggest problem for me.

    On the PS3 version, the version I played, the framerate fluctuates from feeling like watching a black-n-white silent film to something much less than 60fps. The game is probably 30fps, or suppose to be. Screen tearing happens. A lot. So much that it is jarring and almost took me out of the experience. But if these technical hiccups don’t bother you, you’ll have a good time.

    This game reminds me heavily of ICO (a colorful, western version), not in atmosphere but the narrative set up and setting. Some people hate “escort missions”, but I love the idea of protecting someone whose life depends on you, who’s fate is bonded to yours. Unfortunately, the game’s few quirks really detracted from my enjoyment. I’ll wait for reviewers I trust to review the full game, see if it gets better or worse, and if the hiccups have been smoothed out.

  • HappyMrDave

    This game was essentially off my radar until I heard that the demo “was better than most people expected.” I gave it a shot and, well, now I’m planning on buying it. Very pleased with pretty much everything about it! The potential for mucking things up with bad escort missions is very much there, but based on the quality of everything else, I’ll take a leap of faith and give them a purchase.

  • joesz

    I hate this game and itsdeveloper(more hate came after hearing about the new dmc of course) ,But I’m afraid to say it because the gangster kid would pwned me to hell with his ninja theory blade

  • I heard a LOT of people and my friends talking about this game. They were all like, “OMG this is going to be so epic!”. Well, I tried out the demo and was very disappointed.For starters…Graphics: This is NBGI+Ninja Theory and that’s the best they could come up with? They looked like early PS3 graphics. A lot of jagged environments, awkward looking faces, horrible rendering, etc.Sound: Not sure about the Japanese demo, but the English dub was pretty terrible. I knew it was going to be bad when the guy was trapped in that slave pod and he started banging on the glass when he saw the rest exploding, going, “Hey”, “Hey”, “Hey”. He didn’t sound worried at all. He should have sounded more scared and had more emotion in his voice right there.And sometimes he cusses, but other times they just cut him off like, “Mother-“. I hate when games do crap like that. Use the strong language or don’t, alright guys? Plus, the music wasn’t all that amazing either, honestly.Story: Okay..so you have these two character trapped in slave pods. The girl gets out (somehow), decides to self-destruct the ship she’s on and all of the slave pods around the main start to blow up (probably killing the rest of the guys). However, when it gets to his, it blows up and just knocks it over, then he punches the top off and hops out.What is this guy, Superman or something? How come he survived? And how the hell did that woman get out? I know it’s supposed to happen or else we wouldn’t have our main and stuff, but come on.Also, what’s with the, “This ship will self destruct in..” crap? Oh yeah. Like we haven’t seen THAT before. A very bland and overdone plot device in order to give the main a reason to get off the ship immediately.And..of course. While the clock is counting down, you baaaaaarely make it in the nick of time to one of the escape pods. The woman is already inside, but she ejects anyway, causing you to stay on the outside of the escape pod, then you crash through this brick wall and fall I don’t know HOW many feet.Once again, you’re perfectly fine and don’t have a single bruise or anything to show for it because you’re Superman and you can do anything, apparently. I don’t really care to know where the story goes beyond what the demo showed. Probably more bland and easily predictable, “twists” throughout the rest of the game.Gameplay: Very clunky. The gameplay is so basic, you can tell it’s catered to those unfamiliar with action games. Now, who knows. Maybe he learns, “cool” combos or something later, but I certainly don’t see ANY advanced mechanics being in this game whatsoever. Remember.We’re talking about a game that auto grabs when you jump to a different object. Let’s say you want to jump across to the other side, you clear the gap, and he barely grabs the edge and pulls HIMSELF up. You don’t have to push anything.There are also little grab bars mounted onto the walls of the ship and I remember during one segment, I literally just pushed X after grabbing the first one and he grabbed the rest without me having to do anything else, automatically getting himself to the next destination. Thanks for letting me play the game, guys. Would it have really been so hard to implement a system where you have to actually direct which way he jumps to grab onto the next handle bar or require the player to actually direct the character when jumping from one ledge to the next, then pushing X repeatedly if you are barely holding onto the edge, making them get up?The answer is, “no”. It wouldn’t have been that hard. Why they chose to make this way is beyond me.No, wait. I know why. They wanted to cater to a more casual crowd and give that group of people a game to play instead of just letting veterans and casuals alike enjoy it by just separating things by a difficulty level (kind of like DMC having, “auto fire” after dying multiple times. Maybe this could have “auto grab” if you fail at grabbing frequently for whatever reason). Anyway, the game was just entirely too easy for my taste and that, plus the clunky and very basic gameplay elements (yes, basic can be good, but in Enslaved it doesn’t work and it’s terrible), AND the awful story (from what I’ve seen so far) makes it not even worth a purchase from the bargain bin, in my opinion.For those of you that enjoyed it, great. I wish I could, but I’ll definitely be spending my money on something better. That’s for sure.

    • MrRobbyM

      I take it you didn’t like the demo? I actually liked it even though I agree with almost everything you stated. I find is has some charm. But I’ll be spending my money on something else anyways…Castle effin’ vania. Will pick up Enslaved at a later time when the price is right.

      • Yeah, buddy. I pre-ordered Castlevania on Amazon for the twenty dollar store credit and $.99 release date delivery. It looks grea~~~t

        • MrRobbyM

          I’m pre-ordering the limited edition just because the box art looks AHMAZIN’.

          • Aoshi00

            Still deciding if the LE is worth the extra $20, it’s good that Amazon’s credit applies to both though, usually it’s just the regular edition like Alan Wake, that was worth $80 to me. I actually prefer the regular boxart, is that like his evil form on LE’s cover, kind of scary looking like a werewolf.

          • MrRobbyM

            I think it’s worth it. The music I’ve heard so far is good. And I like the art style(art book) and the LE cover appeals to me. So I guess it’s not for everyone, but I sure like it.

    • FireCouch

      It really pisses me off when people say the voice acting is bad simply because it isn’t Japanese. The voice acting in this game is good; It’s much better than your average game in fact. I have no idea what the hell you are talking about. I guess screaming Japanese girls who sound like they are 5 are more of your thing.

  • zhemos

    I liked the demo surprisingly. I went in with low expectations and came out happy. I dunno If I’ll buy It though. Maybe a rental, unless they have skimpy DLC outfits for Trip hehe.

  • Guest

    The art design of the main character makes him look like an Italian guido on steroids thats the only thing I don like

  • havent read the other comments yet, but i absolutely love the game.. it’s simple but fun.. it also reminds me a lot of uncharted 2 and god of war, which is good.. the graphics department needs some work up close on the ps3 because the jaggies are so ugly.. but the cinematography is very good, so when it’s on a long or medium shot, it looks very very good.. the story is also fun, anything that takes from the journey to the west should be fun and this is not an exception.. it’s also a great addition that the setting is in NY.. my only concern here is the length of the game and what extra modes it has at release..

  • andref

    Well I thought the demo was pretty good in the graphics department. The art style was pretty and serene in some areas of the demo. I liked the outside of the ship and the surface of the planet as the ship soared over it. Characters are ok and seem like it will take quite a while before they grow on me. The demo even if it was a demo didn’t seem to hint to me that I would be able to be drawn into the main game and possibly really care about finishing the game.

    The combat of the demo was pretty good and the ending of the demo showed combat becomes more interesting as you unlock more abilities. My only complaint in combat is that it looks like you only fight robots and I just can’t get into fighting mindless and emotionless robots

    • YoctoYotta

      Yeah, I’m with ya, I only enjoy killing things that feel emotions. =)/s

  • thebanditking

    Demo did little to impress me, but there is hope that with more moves and larger environments the game will turn out fine.

  • The main thing that hit me with this demo was it’s sense of scale. When Monkey has to DieHard his way across the slave ship you see the ruins of New York city below and that also gave the set piece a bit of urgency since that city scape was only getting closer and closer while you’re on a ship that’s falling apart. IF I have the money this is a per-order or day-one purchase.

    • Aoshi00

      Kmart has $25 credit, come on do it :)! Their crazy deals are really draining my wallet, but worth it.

  • Happy Gamer

    The demo was a huge surprise for me. I remember saying this on this board long ago but the hit detection of the game’s combat is amazing. It’s very rare to see this kind of feel in a western game imo. even GoW i feels like slicing thru tofu rather than actually kicking something extremely solid. Bayonetta does amazing job at this.

    but more than anything. man…the presentation…wow. i feel so attached to the main character and feel altho he is buff and all tough, that he is having a hard time trying to escape etc. graphics are amazing…the idea is nothing new..post apocalyptic etc. but HOW they decided to do the setting, etc. it’s just amazing.

    This is going to be one of the few games that wowed me this year I just know it. I never played Heavenly Sword. didn’t own a ps3 then and i sorta forgot about it.

    this game also seems to take from alot of great games like Jak, Prince of Persia 2008, etc. and have it;s own flair to it. day 1 for me.

    personal WOW’s of this year: Bayonetta, Dark Siders (ok it wasn’t anything special but was a personal wow..it was hella fun), Heavy Rain, Starcraft 2.

    i feel finally these “next gen” systems are at their peak…gameplay wise. i hope it lasts before they announce new system kuz honestly, i still enjoy PS2 graphics…

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