Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

Again another game I had not planned to play but after a friend from work suggested I give it a playthough, I decided why not. After reading more about this game and coming to learn that the plot was inspired by the Chinese novel Journey to the West, I was greatly intrigued as I have read the English translated version of this novel before. Having liked the story of Journey to the West I figured this game was well worth a review after having peaked my interested. The story of Enslaved is not quite the same as the ancient novel; however thats not necessarily a bad thing as the story is a very strong positive aspect of this game and one of the things I loved about it. Enslaved is set sometime in the future in an post-apocalyptic world where most humans have either been killed by mechs, become enslaved or live in small villages/communities. As the protagonist Monkey you make your way through this mech filled world, fighting for survival as you are accompanied by Trip a fellow survivor who has forced you into helping her return home. In the opening chapter you discover that Monkey has been captured by slavers, he is freed by accident and then tries to make his escape from the slaver ship before it crashes. Long story short...the slaver ship crashes and after recovering from unconsciousness you find yourself enslaved by a headband that has been put on you by Trip. This "selfish" action on her part has single handedly connected your fates as your life is dependent on yours. If her heart stops beating you will die and therefore you get the whole thing I said earlier about being forced to help her. With no other choice but help Trip to return home..the Odyssey to the West begins.

Now She Wants To Help

I will be honest at the beginning I found Trip to be useless and quite frankly very annoying. She doesn't really fight and can barely climb but she eventually becomes of some use. It took sometime for me to warm up to her character but it might just have been the fact that I disliked that she enslaved another person in order to get what she wanted. Trip is clearly the brains of this duo not saying that Monkey is dumb but as you will learn Trip is very tech savvy. Throughout your journey she shows off her skills by helping you see mechs that are up ahead, opening doors and even hacking power sources. She provides useful advice and the more you learn about her the more likable her character becomes. Monkey on the other hand is very likable from the start of this game and is the muscle in this relationship However, he also has a softer side which will become more evident through the game as he starts to genuinely care for Trip and vice versa. Monkey's major skill is that which her name implies...he can climb like no one's business. These two characters actually play off each other very well once the story gets going. The dynamics of the relationship and story develop very well and is one of the best parts of this game.

Nature Has Returned

Another one of the immersible things about this game is the beauty that is presented in it. The graphics are amazing and the post-apocalyptic New York setting is one that I found to be my favorite. Being a New Yorker myself I picked out landmarks and found it interesting as to what it would look like if nature reclaimed the city. Instead of the usual dark, dreary and sad post-apocalyptic setting we are familiar with,  Enslaved serves up a lush, color filled and refreshing spin on the world after a major catastrophe. Trees grow through destroyed rooftops, grass covers the pavement and nothing but green over takes the skyline as sky scrappers are ravaged and collapsing. It is truly a work of art and I kind of wish the story spent more time there. However you eventually escape from the city and make your way deeper into your journey. I will not spoil it any further for those who have not played this game yet but you do meet another character along your journey named Pigsy and again the name implies a lot about this character. Pigys is very likable and becomes the comic relief in this tale as he helps, Monkey and Trip complete their destiny.

Trip, Monkey, Pigsy

Now that I have covered all the great things about this game let's sort out some of the "bad". One thing about this game that I found more annoying than Trip were the controls. This is an action/platform game and therefore the controls play a big part in many actions that Monkey must perform. The controls felt touchy and inaccurate at times. There were also times where Monkey would have a delayed reaction to a button or move I was trying to preform. That could also be accounted for by the sometimes slow framerate that seemed draggy and really impacted the gameplay. There are also visual glitches that are again accompanied by the poor framerate and at times became really disappointing. The controls for this game can really use some tightening up to really bring the flow of the game back to were it should be. Another thing that could be improved are the combos. When fighting the moves are repetitive and can often become boring as you are constantly doing the same 3 or 4 moves over and over again. This seems to be a problem with a lot of games lately as fighting becomes the same  from one level design to the next. You are able to upgrade your weapons in this game however I didn't really see the need to as upgrading didn't seem to help or hinder me one way or the other. This game has its ups and downs and can defiantly be improved. The end of the story kind of left me feeling a little confused and just kind of like huh? But you will see for yourself if you decide to partake in the adventures of Monkey and Trip. This game is fun, I can't deny that but it does stumble throughout and I would recommend that you rent before you think about buying this one. From the visuals alone this game is worth a look and if you have an interest in the novel Journey to the West then you will like storyline presented in this game. As for me I might play it again, sometime in the future but for now..on to the next.