Back in 2012, Ninja Theory released Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. The game is a re-imagining of Wu Cheng’en’s novel, Journey to the West. The game is set 150 years into the future unlike the book which is set in ancient China. In keeping with Wu Cheng’en’s novel, the game focuses on the relationship between the main characters with the same original roles. Enslaved: Odyssey to the West Premium Edition offers gamers all of the downloadable content in one bundle.
Set 150 years in the future in a post-apocalyptic New York, many I am sure are thinking ‘this sounds familiar’. On some aspects you would be right nevertheless, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West does plenty to break the mold set by other games and pulls off its attempts to distance itself from them. Yes, there are tattered American flags. Yes, there is a form of the survivors attempting to constantly kill you. However, there is plenty of originality turning normal basic things into a vast and deep game world. The orchestral score flows naturally with the world the game is set in. Not only adding to the tense sections of the game but also drawing players into the already spectacular cutscenes.
One thing to highlight is the animations on show in Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. Moving around and, in particular, swinging has a great fluidity to it; showing careful attention to detail has been used when using the motion capturing for the title. Whether you swing to the next bar or just pull yourself up on top of the one you are dangling from the motion flows from the last movement into the next effortlessly. This makes Monkey seem even better at what he does best. The animations and the general acting of the cutscenes is also top notch, offering realistic and genuine heart warming and clenching moments throughout the title.
The small cast of characters that players will meet along the journey are certainly unique. The storyline presents players an opportunity to see the relationship between the two main characters form and grow, resulting in an amazing story-driven title. Without spoiling the story, Trip and Monkey’s bond changes as the plot progresses and there is a decent enough break from comedy, at the expense of Monkey and Pigsy, to stop the game being overly serious. The game hardly starts slowly, although there is a dip in intensity before the build up to the colossal ending that is certainly not one to miss!
Enslaved is similar in gameplay to that of Ninja Theory’s Heavenly Sword and at occasions feels like that seen in Naughty Dog’s Uncharted franchise. It features simplistic, almost button bashing, fighting mechanics, some rough shooting elements and puzzle sections. Playing through on “Normal”, gamers should have few problems from any of the elements and can therefore properly enjoy the story.
The game was originally released back in 2012 for consoles and this does shine through in the PC version. Thankfully this is mostly due to the easy that a controller works with the game and not for any bad reasons. The graphics look far from dated and the game is easily playable with either a controller or mouse and keyboard. It looked an ominous start when loading the game to be greeted with a message that said not to turn off the console while the game loads. Fortunately, this was the only real slip up with the blatant port.
The console did come with minor graphical slip ups and these seem to have been ironed out for the PC release. Alas, there is a new issue when loading form a cutscene. The screen appears to momentarily freeze. It only lasts a split second but it is noticeable after each and every cutscene. It doesn’t affect the gameplay, it just detracted from the smoothness of the overall presentation. Graphics settings are also, quite oddly for a PC version of a game, rather minimal. Often gamers can tweak the settings to maximize performance, but there is very little in the way of options available. The game does look amazing but it may look almost too good for lower end computers to handle.
Being newly released onto the PC platform as a Premium Edition, Enslaved automatically comes with the Pigsy Perfect 10 downloadable content. It adds some extra fun into the game after the main plot line is complete and is a side story set before the events of the main game. Giving the slimy character, who’s idea of charming is squealing like a pig, the lime light to journey across a scrap heap. The gameplay is similar in the sense the enemies are the same but the way Pigsy goes about dispatching them is about as far from Monkey’s technique as you can get.
The game deserved to be released on the PC, so that more people could get their hands on the game and enjoy everything it has to offer. The engaging storyline develops around you as the journey unfolds, throughout a beautiful and detailed game world that, at times, can only be described as graphically stunning. The appeal of the included downloadable content perhaps doesn’t do enough for past players to repurchase Enslaved: Odyssey to the West Premium Edition. Nevertheless, for those who had originally missed out on this entertaining experience do not miss this second chance!
[Editor’s Note: Enslaved Odyssey to the West Premium Edition was reviewed on the PC platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]Enslaved: Odyssey to the West Premium Edition (PC) Review,