Nut Load. Mini reviews of games old and new. No fuss. No spoilers. Occasional shock face.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West (2010)

Genre: Adventure / Platformer | Players: 1 | Developer: Ninja Theory

Enslaved tries to replicate the cinematic stylings of Uncharted (2007) but fails. At times it even felt like a PS2 game with aspirations. You play as Monkey, enslaved by Trip and forced to protect/aid her. You use your monkey skills during platforming sections and your staff during combat sections. It mixes things up occasionally with some chase moments and puzzles.

Trip can upgrade weapon and armour, but it’s never explained how she can do that, or why she’ll only do it when you've collected enough of the shiny red tech orbs that litter the world. It’s in her best interests to keep you alive so you can keep her alive (you’re the gopher), so why not upgrade for free?

The Bad: You spend more time fighting the camera than bad guys. Monkey jumps 30 foot gaps but finds it impossible to step over a tiny pebble. It rarely encourages any emotional stirrings in the player. Trip occasionally glitches, halting progress. The loading times are irksome; while walking tentatively through a minefield (after one of Trip’s miraculous discoveries), halfway through the game decided it would pause to load. Bastard.

The story by Alex Garland often makes little or no sense. It's Journey to the West by Wu Cheng'en transposed to a post-apocalyptic world… global war… blah, blah… It takes a story of infinite wonder and turns it into a mountain of festering fly-infested clichéd crap. There are scenarios where Trip will say, “I've an ability that’ll enable us to pass this new and unexpected challenge.” Huh? “Sure, Trip. I’d never have guessed, because you DIDN’T have it until now; it would've been useful an hour ago when I was getting my monkey ass kicked by a giant Mech!“

The Good: The concept art is pretty. Monkey's Cloud is fun. The environments are colourful. The character designs are interesting and there are some rare moments near the end where the emotional content rises above despicable, but those alone aren't enough to make a good game.

Buyer’s Guide:
Available for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. You can have my copy for free if you give me a reason to hate you.

2 combat animations that won't quit when you want them to out of 5

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