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Effective Character Design

Last night I played through the demo for Enslaved: Odyssey to the West and in roughly 10 short minutes I was sold on the game. The thing that really cinched it for me was the character design and he quality of the acting/facial animation. It's weird because I'm one of those guys that always touts gameplay mechanics, revolutionary art design and high-falutin' concepts over all else and this game didn't seem to have any of those.  From what I could tell in my short time with the game, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West plays a lot like a later day Prince of Persia game and it's general art direction isn't anything particularly original.  
There's just something about Monkey that is incredibly likable. He's got the standard protagonist-tough-guy gravelly voice, but it's one of those rare times that it doesn't seem forced. He's got the standard action-game-overly-muscular build, but he's hunched over in a stroke of gestural genius that implies all the trappings of his character that need to be there in order to make him fun to play. This slight scoliosis immediately tells you this guy is beastial, savage, and willing to tear anyone in his way a proverbial new one. The animators also totally nailed the wild-eyed agressive look that you'd expect such a man to have when battling giant death-dealing mechs. Trip, the woman who fitted monkey with his slave-headband and the other lead character, has the perfect doe-eyed expression when Monkey threatens to pulverize her in the demo's closing scene. All this leads to scenes that are engaging and fairly believable. 
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West may not have much new to offer in the way of gameplay, but it's solid characters left me wanting to take the trek anyway.