I’ve been meaning to write about Enslaved, the new game from Ninja Theory, for a while now. I’ve not gotten around to it, though, which is likely to be the fate of the game itself, entering a market crowded with post apocalyptic action games. Which would be a shame, because this game looks fantastic.
Now, I’m not one to preview games. You’ve probably seen me consciously avoiding that. And there’s a good reason: we’re a new site, and not all our news is fresh. Sure, Patricia gets to things with an absurd degree of quickness (fuck if I know how she does it!) but me? Most of the stuff I’m posting on is dead as a doornail. You know about Enslaved, and if you don’t, you’re probably going to figure it out somewhere else. Because we don’t have original media assets.
Which is why I’m going to talk about the lack of buddy pictures in video games, and why Enslaved is going to be a badass, jaw droppingly gorgeous buddy picture.
No one likes buddies in video games. When you’re responsible for an NPC, it’s usually a clusterfuck of epic proportions. Even with all the scare moments, I’ve never heard anyone swear quite as loud playing Resident Evil 4 as when motherfucking Ashley got in the way.
AI is something to complain about. Useless companions are the kind of characters you complain about. And it looks like Enslaved is both trying to follow this trope as well as hang their hat on it.
The big thing I’ve noticed watching gameplay of this game, besides the fact that it looks fucking gorgeous in a post apocalyptic way the manner only Fragile Dreams: Farewell Ruins of the Moon attempted, is that it’s trying to make buddy gameplay both in the style of Resident Evil 4 and better. You’re traveling with someone who is not a fighter (I won’t swear to her being a lover, either), but who has a lot of tricks and tactics to help you solve puzzles. She can draw fire! That feature alone, makes her a million times more useful than Ashley.
And buddy pictures are fun. This game gives me the distinct impression of Fragile Dreams, possibly the best truly bad game ever made. They share an aesthetic, a Japanese beauty married with a destroyed landscape, and the idea of a journey. The western idea of post apocalypse seems to be a wasteland, to be explorer. The eastern idea* of the apocalypse is that it’s a journey to undertake. If you’ve watched anime, you’ll know this is a common, almost universal theme. Enslaved is an apocalyptic buddy picture like Fragile Dreams, where you travel a world with a companion, seeking future companions (in Enslaved, the woman is searching for her village. Thanks Wikipedia!).
That’s often the problem with games made with persistent following NPCs. They need a reason to be there, which is often not provided, and even when it is they act like they don’t want to go there. Enslaved looks to be the rare game that combines actual, honest to god gameplay (looks fun) with a companion who is actually there to advance the story and enhance the gameplay, and not just there to stand still and look pretty.
In conclusion, I leave you with the follow video, at 1:17:
*realizing Ninja Theory is an English developer, this is a very Japanese game. So was Heavenly Sword, from what I understand.