Enslaved: Odyssey to the West Reader Review
Enslaved, is the most obvious Uncharted clone that has been released to date, and succeeds and frustrating in equal measure. I brought this game, due to its price- £15, a stream of positive reviews and good fan fare, but i came away slightly disappointed by my experience of the game, although i would say at this price it is well worth a playthrough.
The game, frustrates because it is a game of undeniable potential. The game world is well thought out, the post apocalyptic new york where you begin your adventure is beautiful, instead of a barren world of grey and browns, nature has reclaimed a post humanity new york in full bloom. Colourful flowers, trees, and plants, cover abandoned homes, skyscrapers, and machines, and at times, when the game allows you to, there are some breathtaking backdrops, that show of some splendid graphics. The voice acting, and the animations of the lead three characters, are at times superb, which help you invest in the game design and story.
But this is where the problems begin to occur, It is a 5/10 game, dressed up in 8/10 art design. The game is really clunky, and to be honest, the story is actually quite bare, there is no real narrative, and this isn't really supported by a subtext to care about the world you find yourself in, or the characters that you supposed to guide through it. The game consist of chapters, each one taking maybe up to 30 mins to complete, and starts and ends with 10-30 seconds of dialouge between the two leads, Monkey and Tripp. I was left disappointed because there is no real substance in these cutscenes, they consisted of where shall we go next and how to do it, the evolving relationship between monkey and Tripp, of slave and its owner, never really developed for me. We were meant to to see a gradual evolving relationship, but this never quite took off for me, even with great acting, and good facial animation. When the story delivered its emotional punch, its felt bare, and somewhat stale.
This problem is made worse by how the game plays, The first half, is of slave and owner, you have to guide your master through the city, to your crashed ship, but this idea is not fully explored, instead its you have to do this, go there, and open this by your master command. The game plays like uncharted: drainpipes, ledges, walls to climb, it does this fairly well, but there is no real challenge, its linear and well not as well executed as the mentioned game, the platforming is really uninspired, and does not prevent a challenge at all untill the last two chapters of the game, where it offers a little bit of prince of persia inspired platforming. The second half of the game, presents you with a task that you can't invest in because you are fighting against a non descript enemy. You literally do not know who you fighting against,and why the world is like it is. The game obviously wanted to use the idea of a evolving relationship between slaver and master as it main card, but considering this is flawed, it leaves the rest of the game open to severe criticism. The game most interesting part , is it ending, which is really left-field, and quite clever. If only they brought this forward. Its like the game, which is fairly short at length- 8-10 hours to complete was cut halfway through. Its just that the next half is probably coming out next year sometime.
The combat is interesting, and there is some clever use of decoying, and using certain ways to defeat the mechs that stop you from getting A and B, and where Uncharted made great use of shooting, this game here is mainly Melee combat, and works quite well, probably better than that of uncharted, and fairly similar to that of Batman: AA.
The review, is probably overally critical, and reads as though its not that good. Its a fair play, it does some things really well, others bits are left a bit floundering. For its price, you will get your moneys worth, its fairly enjoyable and there are no game breaking problems with it, its just that its well, a bit uninspired. Considering the reviews, and the fan fare, i was left a bit dissapointed.