The lights are on
I was wondering how good Enslaved would be when I first heard about it. I thought it would be interesting, but wasn't sure if it would be any good. I was right and wrong with my expectations.
Presentation: Landscapes look beautiful as well as the characters. The look of an abandoned and run-down New York is an eerie yet fascinating sight because of the over-grown wildlife. The buildings are covered in moss and giant statues are on the edge of collapsing. Very cinematic scenes keep your attention thanks to the graphics and the occasional frame rate glitch is nothing that takes away from the overall quality. Character models behave with very real animations and even the afraid look in someone's eye can be spotted.
Sound: Trip and Monkey both are believable and strongly acted. The emotion can be heard through the soft-spoken Trip and Monkey sounds ticked off... a lot. The machines scattered around the city sound like giant hunks of metal. The sound effects from everything going on is quite good and an impressive musical score is a nice cherry on the top.
Gameplay: The point in which the game can lose you is with gameplay. Beating down robots with a staff while button mashing is not the most inviting way to draw someone in. There are combos that can be done, but for the most part it is heavy attack or light attack. Blocking and countering can also be performed but the core is diving away, charging in, evading, and finishing. Every once in a while Monkey will be shown in close up as he dismantles a piece of machinery to show the anger in his eyes. Boss battles are somewhat common but these have the same ideas as others except the take more damage and end with executions. There is another way Monkey gets around and that is with his boogie board. With this he floats on water and land and jumps over obstacles. This is a way of traveling quicker and a refreshing way compared to the standard vehicles in games. The other (and most common) way of getting around is by jumping and leaping across designated areas. The next jumping target is highlighted so you don't get lost, but this takes away the freedom. It is cool to see some of the jumps performed, but it also gets tiring.
Story: By far the best part of the game lies within the story line. After crash landing in New York Monkey wakes up with a headband on. Before him is a girl who he saw on the aircraft before it came down. She informs him he is enslaved to her and if she dies so does he. There is immediate tension between the two and this carries on for the beginning of the game. After they warm up to each other the story line picks up. Along the journey many twists and turns happen and will leave you guessing at whats next. Enslaved features of the best and most enthralling story lines in adventure games.
Enslaved was a big question for me when it came out. I did not know what to expect and wasn't sure if it would get good reviews. An unoriginal combat system that gets tiring gets in the way of the overall quality. The occasional crazed eye of Monkey doesn't save it either. The presentation and sound quality is worth noting as well as the story line. The experience was quite fun, but the part worth playing for was the story. Overall I would give this game an 7.5/10.
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