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Underrated Gems - Enslaved: Odyssey To The West

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is an action adventure platformer developed by Ninja Theory and published by Namco Bandai Games. Enslaved stars Monkey and Trip as they travel west to get Trip home. That definitely reflects the title of the game . Enslaved is actually inspired by the novel "Journey To The West" written by Wu Cheng'en. There aren't that many post apocalyptic games out there and this is one you shouldn't miss.

Enslaved takes place 150 years in the future where most of the human race has been destroyed. Now "mechs" and slavers mostly inhabit the Earth. The story begins as Monkey, voiced and performance captured by Andy "Why doesn't he have an Oscar yet?" Serkis, is being transported on a slaver ship. As he makes his escape he counters a girl named Tripitaka, voiced and performance captured by Lindsey Shaw, as she is trying to escape as well.

Monkey tries to get into an escape pod, but Trip takes it and ejects it with Monkey hanging on for dear life. After they crash land, Monkey wakes to find that Trip has fitted him with a slave head band that will inject him with a neurotoxin if she either dies or he tries to escape. Making him Enslaved. Monkey now must help Trip get home. The story is fairly simple and easy to follow. At first you dislike Trip, like Monkey, because she essentially makes him her slave, but as the story progresses you begin to care about her just as Monkey does. It's very similar to the likes of BioShock: Infinite and The Last of Us, but Enslaved did it before them.

Combat is fairly basic with a few unique touches to keep it interesting. You will still hack and slash with Monkey's bow staff and you have to some times take cover and shoot your enemies. Trip cannot fight, but don't tell you-know-who or she will make a lackluster YouTube video about it. To make up for this and make it more interesting, Monkey, has to go around enemies and distract them so Trip can move up. least for about half way through the game. Then the developers completely forget about this interesting piece of gameplay and just stick to the hacking and slashing and shooting and covering. It's sad that the distraction part of gameplay eventually disappears because it's the only thing that keeps the gameplay fresh. Even the platforming is really scripted. Monkey can only climb on certain objects in the environment. It's definitely apparent after playing games like Tomb Raider and Uncharted. Enemies are also pretty stale. Just rush-in-and-melee mechs and annoyingly-shoot-from-afar mechs. There is a few boss fights, but they are only with 2 or 3 of the same bigger mechs.

I, admittedly, have a soft spot for post apocalyptic games. There's always a strange sense of beauty to them and Enslaved is no exception. Crumbling buildings and vegetation reclaiming the land are the norm in Enslaved and it adds to the feeling of isolation. Besides a few pockets of human groups, Monkey and Trip, are the only humans walking about.

After clearing out an area of mechs you can walk around the environment and see a once booming city now nothing more than dying buildings and streets. Even being 5 years old this game still looks pretty good. Obviously, it's not on par with games like Metal Gear Solid V and The Order: 1886, but it still looks pretty good. Especially when Monkey and Trip look off into the distance.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is very underrated. The story is good and the graphics are really good. It's a shame this game was overlooked because it sets up a sequel fairly properly, but due to low sales the idea was scrapped. Yes, I will admit that the gameplay was interesting at first, but about half way through they disappear in favor of VERY safe and rather stale gameplay. But overall, I still very much like this game. Andy Serkis and Lindsey Shaw give it their all and it shows because it is very convincing. You should definitely check this one out 8.5/10


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