Enslaved: Odyssey to the West Review
Xbox 360 | PS3
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West box art
System: PS3, X360 Review Rating Legend
Dev: Ninja Theory 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Namco Bandai Games 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Oct 5, 2010 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

There are a few ways to make the fights easier. With some mechs, you can perform a “takedown,” which not only kills the mech but helps you kill the others, too; you either take the mech’s weapon, use the mech’s body as a shield, or rip the mech apart, stunning the surrounding mechs with electricity. Also, some mechs are turrets, and you can have Trip distract them while you flank and destroy them. Further, by collecting the orbs that are strewn throughout the world, you can save up currency and purchase upgrades to your health and combat abilities.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West screenshot

There are also some puzzles here, but they’re a little too easy and clichéd for our tastes. They usually involve flipping switches, raising and lowering bridges, or finding your way from point A to point B. We can honestly say that we never really felt challenged, even when the puzzles required cooperation between Monkey and Trip. This can make the game accessible to players who aren’t good at problem-solving, but it makes the game a little boring for the rest of us.

Another mechanic you’ll encounter is the cloud, which is basically a hoverboard that works only in certain sections. We felt it was a bit underused, but it makes for some high-speed, white-knuckle chase scenes and boss fights. If there’s a sequel, we expect to see more of it.

We also expect a sequel to make better use of teamwork. Surprisingly enough, Enslaved doesn’t require a whole lot of it beyond the aforementioned basics (switch-flipping puzzles, distracting turrets, etc.). Trip isn’t in danger very often, and she doesn’t even fight alongside you. Essentially, the game doesn’t do anything interesting with the fact that it’s basically one big escort mission.

Then again, perhaps this is why Trip seems to function so much better than most AI partners. She doesn’t get herself killed, get stuck while walking to the next part of the game, or block your way in close quarters. Sure, we’d have liked to see a little more cooperative play, but given how abysmally most AI partners perform, we were glad just to have her stay out of the way.

The graphics here are terrific on a creative level, but leave something to be desired on a technical level. The developers brought out the colors and life of a green, overgrown, post-apocalyptic world, and the facial animations are terrific. This is especially evident in the cutscenes, which are brief but advance the story convincingly nonetheless. However, the framerate drops from time to time, textures pop in, some animations are overused, and periodically the game will freeze and load for a second. Enslaved utilizes the Unreal engine, so there’s really no excuse for it not to run smoothly, but these little glitches don’t detract too much from the overall experience.

Advertisement

The developers also did a good job with the sound. Some fragments of dialogue are used too often, but the voice acting is superb, and the music enhances the atmosphere of the game without distracting any attention from it. The sound effects feel completely natural, and gunshots reverberate thunderously in big rooms.

One last minor complaint: the checkpoint system is irritating. They developers were generous with what we’ll call mini-checkpoints -- checkpoints that you return to when you die, but that disappear when you turn off the game (or opt to restart from the last checkpoint). Checkpoints that actually save, meanwhile, occur considerably less frequently, and sometimes it’s hard to remember when the last one even was. This forces you to keep playing for a while after you decide to stop, just to avoid losing ground. It’s a small thing, but it would have been easy to fix.

Enslaved takes about ten hours to finish on Normal mode, which is challenging here and there, but overall manageable even for the non-hardcore. Unless you’re an achievement hound, there’s really not much of a reason to go through it a second time. There’s no multiplayer, either, so most gamers can get their fill by renting it or borrowing it from a friend.

Nonetheless, we had a lot of fun working our way through the campaign, and we highly recommend other action fans do the same. It may not be Game of the Year material, but it’s definitely a good game with which to spend a weekend.

By Robert VerBruggen
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.1
Graphics
The environments are beautiful and the facial animations are some of the best we’ve seen, but there are some technical problems like pop-in.
3.5
Control
They’re fine by and large, but they can be clunky during combat.
4.7
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The game has great sound effects, music, and voice acting.
3.8
Play Value
It’s a great ten-hour campaign, but there’s little replay value.
3.9
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Engaging storyline: The 400-year-old classic Chinese novel Journey to the West has been reimagined in a post-apocalyptic retelling co-written by famed novelist and screenwriter Alex Garland (The Beach, 28 Days Later).
  • A cinematic masterpiece: Dramatic cutscenes have been co-directed by Andy Serkis, (Lord of the Rings, King Kong), who also plays the lead role of Monkey, portraying critical events that drive the story of Monkey and Trip.
  • Stunning environments: Explore a beautiful, eerie world of war-ravaged cityscapes reclaimed by nature and fraught with danger at every turn.
  • Strategic gameplay: Think on your feet! Survey the environment, work together with Trip, and choose your path to battle through the perilous environmental and deadly enemy obstacles that await.
  • Dynamic combat system: Attack and defend with agile prowess using a combination of melee attacks, blocks, and intense takedowns. Use Monkey to overtake an enemy, steal its weapon, then rip the enemy apart systematically, or destroy it in one satisfying final blow.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Enslaved: Odyssey to the West screenshot - click to enlarge Enslaved: Odyssey to the West screenshot - click to enlarge Enslaved: Odyssey to the West screenshot - click to enlarge Enslaved: Odyssey to the West screenshot - click to enlarge Enslaved: Odyssey to the West screenshot - click to enlarge Enslaved: Odyssey to the West screenshot - click to enlarge Enslaved: Odyssey to the West screenshot - click to enlarge Enslaved: Odyssey to the West screenshot - click to enlarge Enslaved: Odyssey to the West screenshot - click to enlarge Enslaved: Odyssey to the West screenshot - click to enlarge Enslaved: Odyssey to the West screenshot - click to enlarge Enslaved: Odyssey to the West screenshot - click to enlarge

    X
    "Like" CheatCC on Facebook