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Enslaved Day#2: Masks and Theaters

Day 2 of Enslaved improves some. There are two nice gameplay scenes: one set piece and one fairly open-ended sequence. The game is growing on me, but it’s still not as fluid as I want it to be and it’s stiff compared to its obvious models in Uncharted 2 and God of War. The characters maintain a good relationship though, and I remain impressed by their animations and their connection even though the narrative is nothing particularly interesting.  Spoilers within.

I begin again at chapter 3, The Metal Tower. Monkey and Trip are still heading to the crash site,  looking for Monkey’s bike. We get a pan of a ravine in CS that they have to cross. Monkey suggests using a metal tower (a crane) to cross. Trip sends the dragonfly to scout and finds mechs along the route, but it takes only one  “we don’t have any choice” from Monkey to get us on that road. I get control and head down the path. We sneak over and past a bunch of robots by walking a bunch of platforms over them. In the end, I have to throw Trip across a gap to a new platform and pull her up before she falls again. There is lots of currency here to pick up.  At the end of this path, I have to push a car away to get through. Past that is a long climb. I have to throw her up to a platform then keep climbing up several times. Along the way, Trip asks why the mechs try to kill them. Monkey says it’s all they know. There are more red currency dots along the way, but I have to say that they are pretty poorly placed. (They are hidden throughout the level as rewards to find, but they should just be littered along the path the game wants me to take. They should use them as guideposts, not hidden rewards.) Ahead, I see a mask in a vortex.  Monkey CS approaches it, and then sees a vision of guy at a keyboard in an office before flashing back to the present. Oh PLEASE don’t let this by a meta-story –  PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE.  When we flash back to the present, Trip says she didn’t see the vision, and that it could be a hallucination caused by the headband being wired into his brain.

I run around on the roof and Trip notices some enemies in a bombed-out building across the way. One mech across the roof is shielded, and Trip says it has detachable gun arm.  Monkey CS says he will rip it off. I get control to run over there and jump across the chasm separating the buildings,  wisely using decoys to avoid getting shot. I reach first mech, stun attack it to knock down shield, and destroy it with a takedown (press of the B button). Monkey picks up its arm and I use it to shoot the other mech to pieces. Trip wants me to knock down a ladder so she can follow, but I have no idea where it is at first so wander a bit. I eventually find the way out and drop the ladder.

I go up into the ruins and through a security door to come to open plain. It’s a maze of inactive mechs, a shooter (with the detachable arm), and a turret that block door – basically a puzzle level of mechs to defeat. I kill myself once because I accidentally destroyed the shooter without using a takedown to get the gun. I do it again right, killing the robot and getting the gun. I kill the other robots on the level with my gun, but it seems that shooting the turret doesn’t kill it though; it just stuns it. I clearly have to get up to the turret, and so I have to run to the only path the level offers: a ladder on building across from this field. I can’t figure out how to get ladder down for a while. Oh I have to throw her up. First, I have to call her over to me while taunting the turret to keep her from getting shot. I do so, and when she arrives, I throw her up to open the ladder. Up there, I find a health vial (she can heal me if I’m close) and another mask thing (some evil guy smiling in an office). Moving on, I have to knock down a bridge so she can cross, climb around with some timed jumps (collapsing walls) and a set piece of falling fire escapes, and knock a bridge down to see a path over to the turret. I then have to stealth over to the turret to destroy it. I use decoys and climb around back of the roof the turret is on to take it down and get control. This very much looks like a set-up to a bigger fight,  and lo the waves come  when Trip trips (ha!) an alarm and summons a wave of mechs. I fight off a series of shooter and runner mechs using the turret, and when they are all dead, we get through the door to a new scene.

Once through the door, I find another mask and approach it. This time, the vision is of the guy with kids – maybe he’s not evil? We move on and suddenly I’m walking slow, cuing me that it’s CS time. Trip is looking over a crib and says she’s going to die here.  Monkey says he ain’t going to let that happen. I get control back and enter a new area.  Here, there are lots of mechs asleep on the ground. I get a stun blast for my staff, go down to the ground and stun one mech. I then quickly kill it, but it awakes the others and I then kill them, I think just before one calls reinforcements. At the end of that fight, a demolition mech appears, but the game then crashes with a STUPID DISC UNREADABLE error. Luckily, when I take the disc out, put it back in and  restart, we begin again at the start of this fight scene. I kill the robots a second time, and the demolition bot comes out again. Trip says to shoot its head, which leads me to waste my explosive ammo until I realize she meant stun. I hit it with stun bolt and it stops attacking. Once it’s stunned, I wail on it until it charges into a wall. I have a takedown option at that point, and I do it for a dramatic CS finish of Monkey ripping its circuits out. I wish that was a God of War minigame but I’ll admit it’s still cool. Robots dead, I  leave the room by throwing Trip up on crate and then climbing out. It’s been a long time since I’ve upgraded, so I buy a regeneration ability with my points.

Leaving that room starts Chapter 4: Wherefore Art Thou. There’s another panning CS as they exit. Monkey  tells Trip to wait here because she won’t be able to get to the top of the tower (crane).  Trip angrily asks if he’s leaving her here; Monkey reminds her that if she dies, he dies, and hides her under some rubble. I get control and jump up a destroyed wall with a nice Uncharted 2 style camera looking up. There’s a lot of climbing here, and climbing actually seems open-ended, which is quite cool. On a ledge about halfway up, I fight a normal and an electro mech, and then return to more climbing. I eventually come to area with shooters. I die once because I misjudge my cover, but then take them out a second time using stun shots to disarm shielded robots, a single blast from my staff to kill one, and some good old fashioned melee-ing to take out the others. Robots done, I find another mask. In this vision, the guy was a big wig. I get to the roof of the building and kill a couple of robots up there. I see the crane nearby. I jump to the crane which causes it to collapse and leads to a pretty nice rapid climb up dodging debris. I get to the top and Monkey CS says he think he can knock the arm down to make a bridge over a ravine. I kick the reel to knock down the metal and it falls into place to form a bridge. Suddenly, Trip calls for help.  There’s a “dog” (an awesomely nasty-looking huge robot) after her. Monkey tells her to be quiet. He then CS taunts to distract the dog, and it falls into the ravine while trying to reach him. I climb down quickly to find Trip, while she screams at Monkey to hurry.

I find Trip as the dog gets out of the ravine, and now we’re in a running scene as Monkey carries Trip and the dog runs behind them. I die once figuring it out,  and then get the rhythm of the run. The game does a very good job of making the characters seem scared as I’m dodging the obstacles. The quite nice running scene ends with the characters entering a theater of some kind. I throw Trip up the ruined stairs and then climb up as the dog gets in. I go all the way up to the top to meet her, and there we enter a larger room. Trip sees a power cell in a control room overhead and wants to get it – she says it’s too valuable to leave behind. Monkey reluctantly agrees. I have to cross room and defeat a lot of mechs to get to the control room. There’s a close call on a reinforcement from one of the robots, but I kill it before it triggers. Fight finished, I get Trip up to the control room. She CS finds the power cell and has to figure out how to remove it.  Monkey sees a glitch (a mask thing) on the other side of the room and wants to check it out. I get control and  go to the glitch, which  shows him an ancient view of the theater with some one watching him.  Trip says one of the mechs is inside. In CS, a spotlight fall on Monkey.  Monkey tells Trip to shut it off as the dog arrives. A virtual actor appears on the stage. The dog attacks Monkey, but is then distracted by the actor and  Monkey escapes up the remains of the set. I get control, and Trip says she wants to drop a scaffold on the dog, but it seems to be jammed. To unjam it,  I have to line up the lighting rigs to reach the scafford. It doesn’t really make sense to me yet but it’s a goal. Oh, I see – there are levers that raise and lower these lighting rigs, and I have to line them up to get to the scafford. I do so and climb across to jump on the scaffold and bring it down. We cut to the dog trapped. Trip CS wants to go, but Monkey wants her to scan it first. She says he’s crazy since the dog isn’t even dead, but she does it. There’s an awkward moment between them as they leave, and that’s the end of chapter. That’s all I have in me, so good night.

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