Enslaved: Odyssey to the West Review

The Chinese story of the Monkey King is a well known and told story through a lot of mediums. Ninja Theory’s take on the story pushing it to a futuristic setting and featuring decidedly non-Asian characters doesn’t take away from the story, but puts it into another type of experience.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West features a great world, realized if Nature took back over, though the danger of mechanical robots roving the landscape is a strange but interesting reversal of how the world of Enslaved: Odyssey to the West works.

The plot of the title is simple on the surface. Monkey is stuck inside a slave ship run by Mech’s when Trip escapes from her cell and manages to cause the ship to malfunction with Monkey’s unknown help. Once they escape the ship, Monkey finds that Trip has secured a headband that works off of Trip’s biometric and vocal commands, effectively tethering the two together. With Trip commanding Monkey to help her get home 300 miles west, Monkey has little choice so he can get his freedom back.

It is a simple traveling story, but the experience that players will go through is a great one, provided by the vocal talent and engaging story that unfolds slowly.

Gameplay for the most part is very organic, using Monkey and Trip together to traverse the broken world and move from area to area, either avoiding Mechs or fighting to survive. Monkey is equipped with his his recognizable staff, which also has other modes of use depending on the situation. While the combat is fun, there is a bit of repetition in the general battles that players will go through. It takes boss battles to give a bit more variety to the experience.

Trip is the tech of the group as opposed to Monkey’s strength and players can indirectly control Trip, using her various skills to help move through levels. The pair’s importance to one another is shown again and again, through the gameplay and the story.

Visually, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West has a lot of green. Mother Nature took over the surface of the world and players will experience a lot of broken buildings divided by trees and other recognizable pieces of the modern world like rusted cars and broken highways. Its how the immersion of Enslaved: Odyssey to the West works so well, the environments are believable and moving up or around buildings feels real, even if the world has some lack of reality in places.

Both Monkey and Trip talk to each other during cutscenes and small lulls of combat, mainly moving from areas. It feels real and their conversations open the characters and develop them past their original introductions. The facial animations and movement immediately let players know how these characters are before they even open their mouths.

Monkey can be upgraded through Trip’s tech abilities, by collecting energy orbs around each level. From his staff, health, or shield; upgrading Monkey is important and thinking about the play style is important because later levels will test the abilities of players.

Ninja Theory’s second title is impressive. It shows that video game world’s can be real, and characters can be lifelike without becoming pantomimes of people. Players will be drawn in through the story and the goal of getting Trip home while finding out the history of the world that the pair live in.

A great title for adventure fans, but other players should have a go; the story will pull you in.

Review Copy Provided By Publisher