Want just an overall great story?
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is not only your game, but it’s the sleeper hit of 2010.
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is the next game from Ninja Theory, the same team that made Heavenly Sword, and wow, does it really show. If you loved Heavenly Sword, you’ll definitely love Enslaved. If you never played Heavenly Sword or didn’t even like it, you’ll still love Enslaved.
The premise of the game is set in a post-apocalyptic world 150 years in the future. There are a scarce amount of survivors left due to a catastrophic event that is never explained in the game. All you have are clues from war propaganda and mechs that litter the planet. It’s loosely based off the Chinese novel “Journey to the West,” which I knew nothing about. But thanks to the game perking my interest and Wikipedia, I am now an expert (you can see why we’re eventually annihilated; vast knowledge comes from a reliable source).
The game begins with your character Monkey trapped on a slave ship waiting to be transferred to an unknown heading. You are inadvertently set free when another prisoner manages to break out and you have to make your way to an escape pod, before the ship crashes. Explosions go off, pieces of metal nearly miss your head, and you eventually “land” on the ground.
When Monkey wakes up, there’s a new accessory on his head that doesn’t quite fit with the rugged look he’s going for. The same prisoner from before, Trip, has placed a contraption on Monkey to make him obey her every command. Your orders are to guide Trip back home safely. If you ignore her commands, pain is inflected. If she dies, you die.
This is the same level of the game the demo features (available on PSN and Xbox Live), which does not do the game justice.
The first thing that catches your attention in the game is the environment. The graphics look stunning with its bright colors. The characters themselves are marvelously designed. Trips’ look does resemble Nariko in a number of ways, but their personalities differ on a grand scale. Monkey is a macho man who fits his name down to his movement and his clothing – he even has a scarf clipped on his pants that looks like a tail.
The general gameplay is platforming and beating up mechs that attack you and Trip. The entire game is an escort mission; your job is to protect Trip at all times, while not getting yourself killed in the process. This scenario doesn’t become much of an annoyance. Trip can get into danger a lot, but that just prompts great nerve-wrecking gameplay and epic chases.
Trip can hold her own every now and then. She has a nifty dragonfly that maps out your objectives. She can release an EMP charge that temporarily stuns enemies around her when she’s in trouble. She also provides a decoy to help you sneak your way into kicking some ass… If mechs had any.
The combat itself isn’t very diverse; you eventually form a fighting pattern that works for most of the enemies. There’s no room for extravagant combos like God of War either, but there are ways to improve on what you do have at your disposal, as the game progresses.
Even when you do form a pattern, you can still be overwhelmed and be forced to think on your feet; this isn’t a simple hack and slash. I went in with that mindset and got my butt handed to me by scrap sheets of metal. It would be very embarrassing for the human race if I was one of the survivors, which I wouldn’t mind being if Monkey was my partner.
Speaking of that shirtless man, Monkey also has an interesting device called “the cloud,” an electronic hoverboard skate-thing (this was the best I could come up with). Although it’s only available in certain parts of the game, it’s a lot of fun and quite handy, especially during boss battles. These boss fights are over the top too, and it challenges your brain rather your button smashing skills.
Platforming is a big deal in the game, and it’s very cinematic (Uncharted inspired?). Unlike Uncharted, at no point can you ever fall to your death if you miscalculate. If you’re not exactly where the game needs you to be to jump, Monkey just stumbles over the edge until you get it right – some men are used to hearing these exact words.
Despite the fixed path, this game has been one of the more challenging ones I’ve played. There was quite a few times I got stuck, and I’m not the only one this happened too (I have proof!). For these puzzles you make use of levers, you give instructions to Trip on when to perform certain actions, and sometimes you have to fling Trip to a far-away platform because she likes being thrown around by a strong man.
Click over to page two to keep reading what sets this game apart from the rest!
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