Heavenly Sword on the PlayStation 3 was one of the games that Ninja Theory failed in bringing joy to fans of action games as it shows great potential but in the end, it was lacking with some of the things that is important to gamers; gameplay. In another attempt to give joy and excitement to gamers, Ninja Theory releases Enslaved: Odyssey to the West on both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
Developed by the same company who brought us Heavenly Sword, the main character of the game named Trip, looks very identical to Heavenly Sword’s Nariko. With that set in mind, should fans expect a Heavenly Sword clone? Let me be the first to say no, and I will tell you why in our HOTs and NOTs portion of our Enslaved: Odyssey to the West Review.
Enslaved will bring players into a post apocalyptic world where Machines took over the planet. Players can expect to see exotic locations within the game such as lush green jungles to a destroyed metropolis where Monkey and Trip have no other choice but to climb the building terrain. Similar to the presentation of Heavenly Sword, Enslaved’s strongest strength is the perfect motion capture, phenomenal voice acting, and memorable characters. Using the power of the Unreal Engine, Ninja Theory did a good job in creating a post apocalyptic world where it, as well as the characters looks believable. The lip syncing of the characters perfectly matches, therefore it helps to build out emotions when a cutscene commences. The fourteen chapters that players will be going through will be a fun and emotional experience as there will be cutscenes that will touch the player’s heart as well as beautiful scenery that will be remembered for the years to come.
It is important to a game to have a story that will be remembered. Enslaved will take players into an epic adventure of a savvy tech, Trip, and a prisoner called Monkey, who happened to be enslaved by Trip after the destruction of the ship that they were both riding. Following the airship’s destruction, Monkey was given a task by Trip to accompany her to their homeland all the way to the West. Thanks to the “slave headband” that Trip implanted on Monkey’s head, he has no choice but to comply as both of the character’s lives depend on each other. The story of Enslaved starts off slow but as the player goes through the fourteen chapters, unsolved mysteries will start popping in and it is a guarantee that the player will get hooked.
Solid, Yet Simple Fighting Mechanics
The fighting mechanics in Enslaved are very simple, yet very solid. Using the staff of Monkey, players will be able to use combos. It is no brainer that player will get easily grasp the battle system but the execution of combos and attacks are perfect. Aside from hitting enemies with Monkey’s staff, players can also use the staff to shoot projectiles that can either damage the machines or stun them by using the appropriate ammunition. Throughout Monkey and Trip’s adventure back to their home, players will be able to upgrade Monkey’s staff and abilities. Before a player can do so, special orbs must be collected and when enough are collected, a player can utilize Trip to make Monkey a more perfect warrior. Monkey can obtain and use a mech’s weapon if the player can perform the “Take Down” attack.
Great Platforming; Similar to Uncharted?
Enslaved is often compared to games such as Uncharted, Heavenly Sword, and Prince of Persia. It is true that the platforming of Enslaved is inspired by games such as Uncharted and Prince of Persia. In all fourteen chapters of the game, Monkey and Trip will be climbing mountains, and buildings as they try to reach their homeland. It is a pleasure to see some of its similarities of Uncharted as the game takes majority place in a forest which will remind players of Uncharted. The climbing into trees, rooftops, and buildings is very similar to the Prince of Persia games, except Enslaved does it better and faster.
Exploring the Vast Ruined Land
Players can finish Enslaved in eight to ten hours depending on the difficulty the player chooses. Exploring the game has never been more fun thanks to the awesome presentation the game has to offer. Using the technology of the Dragonfly built by Trip, players are able to scout the place and learn the position of the mechs roaming the land. It is extremely handy as it will make players think of a strategy to attack and/or avoid them at all costs. Dragon Ball Z fans will be pleased to see that Monkey has a cloud similar to what Goku uses in the anime. There is also EMP energy that allows your cloud to get a boost.
Despite of having a good presentation, Enslaved occasionally suffers from minor graphical glitches. At a certain point in the game where a cutscene commences, players will be able to see screen tearing and camera issues. It is nothing major as it only happens once or twice throughout the eight to ten hour adventure. Not every game is perfect and Enslaved is one of them despite of everything else about the game being so good.
After finishing Enslaved, players will have no reason to go back and play the game again unless the player’s goal is to collect all of the masks or complete the achievements/obtain trophies for it. Once the game is done, it is done. Id Est Finem. There are only a few collectibles in the game and for the most part, it is not really worth collecting them all as the player will be busy exploring the wasteland.
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is indeed one of the games that we have needed for a very long time. The enthralling presentation and perfect storyline, makes the game my nominee for this year’s Game of the Year. Forget about the occasional glitches because by the time the player starts the game, it will all be forgotten as soon as Monkey and Trip start exploring. For fans who are disappointed by Ninja Theory’s Heavenly Sword, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West will make that disappointment into unforgettable gaming moments that players will have remembered for the years to come.
[Editor’s Note: Enslaved: Odyssey to the West was reviewed on a Xbox 360 platform. The game was played from start to completion.]Enslaved: Odyssey to the West Review,