Sunday, 23 January 2011

Enslaved VS Vanquish: Comparison Review

Enslaved: Journey to the West and Vanquish were two games released in the latter part of 2010 which I knew I had to play. Now that my birthday and Christmas have come and gone I've achieved this goal, and having played through both games I thought I'd do comparison review, assessing how well these titles fare against each other.


Although Vanquish's story-line isn't awful, Enslaved is the clear winner in this section. Written by screenwriter Alex Garland (28 Days Later), the narrative ofEnslaved re-imagines an ancient Chinese myth by Wu Cheng'en in a futuristic apocalyptic wasteland. The changing relationship between protagonist Monkey and his captor/companion Trip is what makes this a great story, with a really thought-provoking conclusion. Vanquish's narrative on the other hand, doesn't have the depth or emotion of Enslaved. The sci-fi tale of US forces launching an assault on a space-station turned super-weapon, captured by Russian coup detat forces intent on world dominance, is little more than a frame to hang the game's furious arcade action upon. There are a couple of nice twists, but you'll see them coming.

Winner - Enslaved


It's a dead heat in this round, as both video games have some really unique concepts and imagery. The overgrown cityscapes of Enslaved provide the player with colour and life, in contrast to the metallic greys of Vanquish's orbital space-station, pock-marked with explosions and flames. Both of the games contain superbly designed enemies, from the simple grunts to the gigantic bosses. The character designs are also great, muscular Monkey with spiky hair and tail-like belt, and Sam Gideon in his ARS exoskeleton, complete with awesome BLADE weapon animations.

Winner - Tie


Another contest that ends with no clear victor, as both Enslaved and Vanquish have great visuals for the most part, with only a couple of flaws spoiling the picture. The graphics of Enslaved are crisp and vibrant and the animations flow realistically, but there were a few instances when textures appeared fuzzy, but only briefly.Vanquish fares similarly well, with massive explosions rippling across the screen with dazzling flare, and a superbly consistent frame-rate considering the pace of the action. However, not all the back-drops look as pretty as each other, and the first-person HUD seen during some briefing scenes looks a bit cheap.

Winner - Tie


While both games do well in terms of sound effects, score and voice acting,Enslaved edges in front of Vanquish due to the superb vocal talents of Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings, The Prestige) and amazing music by Nitin Sawhney. The sound effects are also top notch, with the enemy mechs emitting blood-curdling roars and screams. There were a couple of times when the sound cut out or got mixed up, but only very rarely did this happen. Vanquish has some great sound effects, with the weapons sounding powerful and authentic, and has a pumping soundtrack to match the game's tempo. However, the voice acting isn't anything out of the ordinary, with the protagonist and his comrade, Colonel Burns, trying to out-growl each other for most of the game.

Winner - Enslaved


Yet another tie, as both these games have top-notch action for the player to get involved in. Enslaved provides a mix of platforming and combat, which helps vary the pace of the game. The platforming is a little bit linear, with the next step clearly highlighted, but gunfire, crumbling hand-holds and other dangers help up the level of risk. The combat is fast-paced but also tactical, and although there aren't endless options for attack and defense the player will be pushed to use Monkey's skills creatively to survive. There are a few subdued moments in the gameplay of Vanquish, such as an espionage sniping level, but the pace is stuck on full-speed for most of the game. Not that this is a bad thing, as the player is totally sucked into the gun-totting action, really feeling the danger as the bullets and missiles fly. The bullet-time and boosters allow the player to speed up or slow things down as they see fit, and the mix of weaponry provides ample choice for ways to cause destruction. There are a few quick-time events during boss-fights, but Vanquish mainly delivers good old-fashioned arcade-style gunplay.

Winner - Tie


With no multiplayer option included in either of these games, both Enslaved andVanquish are quite limited if you only plan to play the story through once. There is DLC for Enslaved, where the player gets to play as side-character Pigsy, but at the pretty steep price of £8 (that's steep for me). You could probably stretch these games out a bit by getting all the achievements and beating the hardest difficulty setting, but really you're looking at 8-10 hours of fun per game, which isn't great if you don't replay your games.

Winner - Tie


Although I enjoyed both Enslaved and Vanquish, there has to be a winner. Despite their minor flaws, both games lived up to my expectations and delivered some great gameplay and narrative moments. Enslaved has the edge over Vanquish in my opinion, due to the depth and power of its story, as well as the voice acting that brings it life. On the other hand, if narrative isn't an essential component for you then Vanquish will probably float your boat just as much as Enslaved. The best thing to do is just play both! They both have deadly robots and epic battles - what more could you want?

No comments:

Post a Comment