Alex Garland is a man from film world who quite likes the videogame world so he has written a story for a videogame. I say he has written a story he has taken the story of Monkey and changed the setting but it is okay because Monkey is a pretty good story. The man who was Gollum in the Lord of the Rings films did all of the motion capture for the main character because he is very good at motion capture. Also the music is by that guy who is like Amon Tobin but isn’t. A lot of money has been spent on Enslaved and it was a good idea because the game looks and sounds lovely.
All of the pounds mean that all of the things that videogames struggle with it shines. A decent, if cribbed, story and likeable characters with believable relationships. Unfortunately all of the easy stuff in an action game it gets really, really wrong and you’re left struggling with an awful camera, dull combat and platforming that doesn’t engage in the slightest. There are also loads of collectibles to tediously seek out at the promise of a few character upgrades, which utterly shafts the pace of the game because instead of stomping through on your odyssey to the west you have to keep stopping to look in every nook and cranny. It is also really repetitive, and after you’ve done the first few levels you’ll find yourself doing the same few tasks over and over. It is almost like they had the pitch and got all excited about having an ACTUAL SCRIPTWRITER working on the game instead of some animator pulling overtime and coiling some plot turd out before going home to his neglected family, then realizing “FUCK, we need to build a game around this”, before spunking something fairly average out.
Some of the story is also a bit arse because unlike a film where you can write a straightforward tale you have to take into consideration things like objectives for the players, but that is potentially opening the gates for a big debate of videogame narrative vs. cinema narrative and I can’t be scuttered with that right now because I am in my underpants and I have other things to be doing and I’m only really writing this article because one of our staff wrote a piece that upset Killing Joke fans earlier and I’m going to try and ride the wave of angry fourty-something goths to a few extra hits.
Not that any of them are actually reading this, of course. Nirvana’s version of “Eighties” was better, anyway.
So yeah, Enslaved. It is alright. I finished it. The story was quite good and better than 90% of the puerile shite out on the shelves right now, but most of the puerile shite is a lot more fun to play because you get to shoot people and that is why we play videogames.