Review: Enslaved – Odyssey to the West

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Enslaved: Odyssey to the West feels like something I’d have seen in a movie theater and enjoyed. Perhaps that’s the point Ninja Theory, its creator, is trying to make.

The fusion of techniques from the movie world into the creation of games has been a long-pursued subject. Gamemakers have always sought ways to make their works feel more epic or artistic. Some games offer cinematic treatment to their cutscenes, while others blast your ears with high-end sound engineering or dramatic musical scores. Some use their characters as the engine for the whole experience.

Enslaved attempts to do all of the above, using a blend of glorious visuals, exquisite voicework/character development and action, hoping the player will be too busy enjoying the ride to notice any shortcomings.
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Hideki Kamiya doesn’t hate the new Dante

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Seriously, he doesn’t, though the word seems to be that he does.

According to a few Twitter feeds captured by eagle eyed fans, Kamiya has been quoted as being somewhat indifferent to the new take on Dante that developer Ninja Theory has taken saying “Whatever. RT @Solivagant @PG_kamiya #DmC, by Ninja Theory? Do you think they will “evolve” the action game from your Bayonetta standard?”. As soon as that hit the ‘net, it stoked the still burning embers of fan rage over Ninja Theory’s new direction in debate over he meant by it.

But a follow-up series of Tweets by Kamiya and posted at Platinum Games’ official forums had indicated a wholly different meaning to what was said, tweeting “Hello all foreign fans. Recently I got lots of comments like “Dante has changed”, and someone said I was not too fond of newest Dante. But it’s not true.”

He went on to say “”Dante has changed”…that’s right. But from my point of view Dante has changed every time the sequel came out, and he was always different from whom I created first.” Elaborating further, he tweeted “But for me,Dante is the only one, the original one. RT @alessandro_r2 @PG_kamiya I think the “problem” with the new Dante is: It’s NOT Dante”.

He finishes with a few more tweets saying “It may be totally new.No one knows. RT @didyourikeit @PG_kamiya if there was a need in changing the character, why not make a whole new game” and ends with “But I was trying to release DMC as Resident evil 4 first… RT @didyourikeit @PG_kamiya I meant as in not using the DMC name.”.

So it sounds to me like a man who wants Ninja Theory’s game to stand out on its own than follow something that is already out there…just as he once did himself. It’s funny how some things get lost in translation.

Devil May Cry rebooted, fans ragequit series

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It’s been confirmed that the Devil May Cry series is getting a reboot courtesy of Ninja Theory (Heavenly Sword, Enslaved) which Capcom has picked to lead the charge. And not everyone is happy about it.

The trailer and screenshots released at TGS (Tokyo Game Show) this week show off a new Dante delivering a beat down to a cadre of bizarre monsters. Not much else was released on just what the reboot was supposed to take place around, or whether this is a ‘different’ Dante from the one we know…like a different Belmont in Castlevania.

Now I don’t have any problem with a reboot as long as it’s done well, but after seeing the new trailer, I had to ask myself what was wrong with the series to need it. After having played through each of Dante’s adventures, even through DMC2, I didn’t think that things were left quite that bad after DMC4 to require throwing out everything and starting from scratch.

But fan reaction to the new star has been decidedly negative across the ‘net from Joystiq to Destructoid. “Horrible”, “emo”, and “addicted” were only a few of the adjectives used to describe the new Dante with one poster suggesting that a “retro costume pack” might be released later as DLC.

While I have no problem with a reboot if it’s good, or the game since nothing playable had come out yet, I can understand how a lot of those pointing out the new Dante as inspired by Twilight are upset.

And people thought Raiden was bad. This guy hasn’t even left his first trailer.

Ninja Theory’s Enslaved has a new trailer

From the makers of Heavenly Sword comes Enslaved, inspired by the Chinese novel “Journey to the West” and updated to a post-apocalyptic level of action and adventure. Although it was announced awhile back with a few screens, here’s the first official trailer that actually shows off gameplay.

The story is being penned by 28 Days Later scribe, Alex Garland, and looks to have put a nice twist on an old legend from what the trailer has shown. Some parts of it come off with a few familiar elements from Ubisoft’s Prince of Persia with the intertwining mechanics between Elika and the Prince, now between the characters of Monkey and Trip who controls him, though it sounds like there will be more of an emphasis on protecting Trip than in relying on her to keep rescuing you.

I’m going to wait until I see more on this one, though. Heavenly Sword was fun, Andy Serkis was great, and Ninja Theory has the imaginative chops to create fun environments. But gameplay-wise, I wasn’t as blown away by its lackluster action as I was by its well written characters. Still, I’m willing to give this one a little leeway and see just where this legend is going to take us.