The excitement doesn't live until the end
Enslaved Odyssey To The West Review
Age Rating - 16+ (T)
Release Date - US October 5, UK October 8
Aaah, Enslaved Odyssey To The West, a game that promises so much but doesn't live up to the expectations all the way to the end. You start off the game in a 'pod'. Monkey (You) tries to escape but can't, then there is a little explosion that has no effect at all and Monkey finds his way out of his pod and so the game begins. Your put into a simple, but enjoyable tutorial. Learning how to jump, punch etc. You are chasing after a woman called 'Tripitaka', otherwise known as 'Trip'. She is trying to get to an escape pod to get the bat out of hell out of there, which is exactly what you need to do. So, you climb your way along this flying piece of transport to try to get to the escape pod. The pace here is amazing and jumping, swinging, climbing along this machinery is all great fun while you look at the exhilarating world beneath you. Unfortunately this level is the best level of the game and you are not going to find many other set-pieces as exciting as this one. Later on in the game all your doing is mainly platforming, combat and a few boss battles here and there. Nothing as good as the first missions set-piece. There are 14 chapters in total and after about chapter 12 you feel that the game has been going on for a bit too long and it has nothing left to offer. By that time, you've seen really all there is to see. The last chapter particularly (SPOILER!) is one of the worst. You are doing the same thing for pretty much the whole level. (IT'S OK NOW, SPOILER OVER!)
Gameplay is always the most important factor of a game right? Well here it's pretty solid. First I'll talk about the platforming. This takes up the majority of the game and can be fun but sometimes has it's flaws. The pace is always fast when jumping from brick to brick, as you can just mash the A (XBOX 360) or X (PS3) button and your sure to get where you want to. Although, it is not very varied. Like I said, brick to brick. That's pretty much the only thing you'll be holding onto and sometimes running along branches of trees, but it definitely could do with a bit more variety in the platforming. So, the combat, you have a 'staff' which is what you use to beat up the 'baddies' there isn't much you can do with this, you can do a simple attack, stronger attack, wide attack or a focus attack which is the most powerful but is sometimes difficult to aim. Talking of aiming your staff can also be used as a gun, sort of, you will pick up to different types of ammo. The red kind will simply kill your enemy in one shot, no matter what difficulty your playing on. The blue kind will freeze your enemy for a limited time, best used on enemy's with shields as it removes their shield and gives you a chance to change to red and fry em'.
In most parts, this is beautiful. You won't find many other games with scenery as realistic as this. There is a problem with the cutscenes though. They do look nice when they work, but, objects pop into the cutscenes far too often. Think about it, in real life, you wouldn't be walking down the street and suddenly a lamppost appears from nowhere. But this has obviously happened to Namco, in Enslaved this occurs to often. Only there aren't any lampposts. Probably something like a blade of grass. You get me? Credit has to go to the characters though, your Monkey, he looks pretty bad-ass, the girl your taking home is Trip, she looks life-like. Then there's (SPOILER!) Pigsy, who you'll meet later in the game. And although he's not human, he's a pig (du'h) but he still looks great. Just like a human pig would. (IT'S OK NOW, SPOILER OVER!)
If you want to get the full 1000 G, it's going to take some time. You've got to complete the game on all three difficulty's and find all the tech orbs, get all the upgrades and so on. You are rewarding 10 G for completing the earlier chapters but the further you get, the more points you'll get, making that 'ba-long!' Feel a whole lot better. There is DLC content out now called 'Pigsy's Perfect 10' which does include some extra achievements which seem pretty similiar to the 14 chapters of the single-player mode.
Enslaved Odyssey To The West is a game with mixed emotions. At some points it's good, at some points it's bad. Like I said, the first level is the best in the game, there are some interesting parts and puzzles later in the game, but it just doesn't live up to the expectations. The presentation at most times is sweet, along with the solid platforming. As for multi-player, none. It doesn't really need it though and you can't imagine playing against other people hitting them with a staff. It just wouldn't work for this game, so it was a wise choice to leave it out. Overall, a solid game that I would recommend to any action/adventure fan, just don't expect it to be awesome all the way through.
Quick Note: If my talking of the first level has grabbed your attention, you can play it yourself by donwloading the demo off the XBOX Live Marketplace or the PlayStation Store. (Memberships required)
- Great voice acting and lip-syncing.
- Few set pieces, but when they come, they're exciting.
- Objects popping into cutscenes.
- Outstays it's welcome.
Story - 5 stars
Gameplay - 4 stars
Presentation - 4 stars
Achievements - 4 stars
4 Stars, Great.