Enslaved: Odyssey to the West Review for PS3

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Enslaved: Odyssey to the West screenshot
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West screenshot

Movies and games are increasingly crossing paths. We've had games that have big Hollywood involvement before, of course, but Enslaved feels like it has tapped into the movie biz's talent pool at every opportunity. It has a story co-written by Alex Garland, the man who wrote The Beach and went on to pen numerous screenplays for Danny Boyle; it also stars and is directed by Andy Serkis, the British actor who brought Gollum to life in The Lord of the Rings.

It feels like story and storytelling were at the forefront of development, and as such the game never falls into the usual trap of unnaturally-extended dialogue and unbelievable characters. While the world of Enslaved is set in the future, complete with technology straight out of a sci-fi movie, nothing feels out of place, with everything fitting into the universe that has been created. Perhaps the strength of the story shouldn't have come as much of a surprise, given that it's loosely based on classic Chinese novel Journey to the West - which went on to be the basis for cult 70s TV show Monkey.

New York has been destroyed, with slavers rounding people up through the use of mechs. Enslaved begins with Monkey, a larger-than-life shirtless man with hands bigger than your face, escaping from his cell onboard a crashing slaver ship. As he runs through the increasingly perilous exploding innards of the craft he comes across Trip, a 19-year-old girl also trying to get off the doomed vessel. Monkey manages to cling onto the escape pod she's entered and the pair jettison off, landing some distance from the crashed ship.

The landing wasn't smooth for Monkey, seeing as he was on the outside of the pod, so he's left unconscious. When he awakes he finds that Trip has placed a slave headset on him, meaning he has to do what she says or feel pain - and worse still, if she dies, he dies. It's fair to say that the two don't get on, but Monkey has to go along with Trip's plan to get to her family's village. He is essentially her protector, and there's a lot of protecting to be done due to the number of mechs roaming the land.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West screenshot

Thankfully Monkey is more than equipped to deal with anything that stands in his way, with a staff that can be used as a melee weapon, a plasma-firing gun and a shield. Combat is certainly stylish, with Monkey aggressively taking mechs apart with a flurry of swinging attacks. Melee is handled with two buttons, allowing for light and heavy strikes; by holding the former you can also perform a stun move. Monkey can also block and counter, roll to evade enemy strikes and perform multi-hit focus attacks.

Initially the use of the staff as a projectile weapon feels a bit laboured, with Monkey unable to carry much ammo and the firing rate being quite slow, but before too long you've bought numerous upgrades that improve things immensely. Towards the end of the game combat is shared equally between melee and ranged attacks, and the mixture of ammo types (stun and blast) makes for engaging gameplay.

Problems are never too far away, though. For one, the camera is a real pain at times, with your view obscured by foreground objects or getting unhelpfully close to the action. Your combat options also feel quite slight, as Monkey's arsenal of attacks doesn’t expand enough throughout the campaign. The upgrade tree opens up a few new moves, improves Monkey's shield and increases his health, but compared to other games in the genre the combat is a touch lightweight.

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13 Comments

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xboxlive's Avatar

xboxlive

Downloded the demo the ther day and omg i loved it,but due to cash flow,will sadly have to wait :(
Posted 10:01 on 07 October 2010
reynoldio's Avatar

reynoldio

Does look good and the demo was fun... but Fifa has to be purchased, still need to grab Dead Rising 2 then there's Castlevania and Gran Turismo around the corner and Hot Pursuit before Christmas too. Sorry Enslaved, too much good tuff out there!
Posted 22:49 on 05 October 2010
Wido's Avatar

Wido

Nice read Tom. I think Castlevania edges it for me this week. Enslaved seems to be a game that I will pick up when cheap.
Posted 18:25 on 05 October 2010
CheekyLee's Avatar

CheekyLee

Monkey, Pigsy, and Trip. WHERE THE HELL IS SANDY?
Posted 17:52 on 05 October 2010
Jamin's Avatar

Jamin

You know what? None.

I've seen loads of it being played, and been to several press events for it, but I've yet to play it first-hand. Weird, huh?

Even so, I'm outraged by this pitiful 8! I'll let you all know my justification for the 10 I would have given it when I play it later on in the week. Hopefully.
Posted 17:09 on 05 October 2010
Neon-Soldier32's Avatar

Neon-Soldier32

How much play time has Jamin got of this game...
Posted 17:01 on 05 October 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

Buying this.
I've enjoyed every video I've watched of it's development,
I've loved the demo,
and reading this review was brilliant.
Can't wait.
Posted 16:57 on 05 October 2010
altaranga's Avatar

altaranga

I was expecting an 8. Hoping for a 9. Dreaming of a 10.

Nice review Tom. I am undecided about this game. I thought it was a defo but there are soooo many other titles to choose. Fiscally I need to be selective, and at the moment I'm just not sure about this. I have 3 days to decide. :)
Posted 16:46 on 05 October 2010
Clockpunk's Avatar

Clockpunk

Too many things coming out - maybe pick this one up in January when it is cheaper and I have more free time.
Posted 16:06 on 05 October 2010
draytone's Avatar

draytone

It looks like a great game but I don't think it will do great in terms of sales. There are lots of great games coming out and this might get shunted down the priority list.
Posted 16:03 on 05 October 2010
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev

This is tempting me more than Castlevania.
Posted 16:00 on 05 October 2010
clangod's Avatar

clangod

Nice review.

With every review I've read of late it's evident that I will forever be a slave to gaming and its demands both financially, and time wise. There's simply not enough of either to get the most out of everything realistically.

So, I'll be playing catch - up for the next 30 years...
Posted 15:46 on 05 October 2010
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius

So many games such little cash flow. Great read Tom especially like your views on the characters seems you got attached! Another one to pick up!
Posted 15:34 on 05 October 2010

Game Stats

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
8
Out of 10
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
  • Believable characters
  • Excellent story
  • Brilliant voice acting
  • Combat isn't as deep as others in the genre
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 08/10/2010
Platforms: PS3 , Xbox 360 , PC
Developer: Ninja Theory
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Genre: Action
Rating: PEGI 16+
Site Rank: 9,661 12
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