ENSLAVED: ODYSSEY TO THE WEST
By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on April 8, 2016
Damn, ladies and gentlemen; am I awake today! I just had the most relaxing two weeks of my life. I slept right through every night and only did what I do best during the day, which is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Yes, I know, that doesnít seem so hard, but let me tell you; it takes a lot of practice to get doing nothing just right. I remember, when I was a child, my mother told me: ďSonĒ, she said, on that tone that only seems to be reserved for concerned mothers worldwide. ďSon, if you do something, youíd better make sure you do it right!Ē
Now, as a kid, I took this advice to heart, although my young mind couldnít quite comprehend what was said (Come on, I was two years old at the time). But later in life I realized that my mother was right. If something is worth doing, itís worth doing right! Regrettably, I donít think doing nothing is what my mother had in mind. Sorry mom! Itís just that Iím really, really, REALLY good at doing absolutely nothing. So in some weird, highly unorthodox way, your son has made you proud! And, as an added bonus, doing nothing has earned me tons of money, so at least Iím happy.
However, all good things must come to an end, so my resting period is over and itís back to work! Iím doing things a little different this week; Iím going to travel forward in time to the year 2020. Now, some of you might be wondering why Iím doing this. Well, itís mainly because I have wanted to write about a specific game for quite some time now but, as per the Big Red guidelines (written down by yours truly) I can only review a game if itís original release occurred a minimum of 10 years ago. See where Iím going with this? Of course you do; I have the smartest crowd in the world! Yes, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, Iím off to 2020 to do a review about a game, released in 2010. That way, I will not break my own rules and still get to write about a very, very awesome game: Enslaved Ė Odyssey to the West.
Enslaved is an action-packed adventure, presented in a third-person 3D platform style. Originally released for Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 in October 2010 by Ninja Theory and Namco Bandai Games, the game puts the player in the agile and acrobatic shoes of Monkey; a convict aboard a prison-like slave ship. ďWhy is he on that planeĒ, I hear you ask? For no other reason than being human. You see, Earth has been all but destroyed by a raging global conflict. To win this conflict, robot-like troops, known as Mechs were used. The only problem is that every side of this conflict had the same idea; they set a huge number of Mechs to purpose, virtually obliterating mankind. Eventually, all sides lost the fight, but the Mechs still carried out their task: eradicate the enemy. The only problem with this was that the Mechs programming made it impossible for them to distinguish friend from foe, so all of humanity became their enemy. They formed a huge robot army and set out to capture or kill every last human out there.
So now we know what Monkey is doing on the plane and why heís been captured. But, in what seems to be a stroke of luck, he manages to escape and tries to make his way off the slave ship. In the process of doing this, he manages to damage the ship and send it crashing to earth and meet Tripitaka (Trip for short), a female, tech-savvy captive that is also trying to escape. Monkey follows Trip towards the escape pods but she gets there first, refuses to let Monkey in and launches the pod with Monkey still clinging to its side. Howís that for a great start of a relationship?! Monkey survives the fall, but is knocked unconscious by the impact of the landing. When he wakes up, he is wearing a headband of some kind. Before he can even wonder how that thing got there, Trip starts explaining that she put the headband on his head and that he has to do as she says. She wants to get home to her hometown and needs Monkeyís help to travel the 300 miles it is going to take to get there. Naturally, Monkey would like nothing more than to tell her where she can stick her stinking hometown and wring her scrawny neck. This however, as is quickly explained to him by Trip, would be a very bad idea. She has linked the headband to her bio-sensors, so in short: when Trip dies, Monkey dies. So, with no other options left, Monkey agrees to this uneasy alliance and promises to help Trip reach her hometown, after which Trip promises to remove Monkeyís headband when they reach her people. I donít know about you, but I most definitely had better first dates!
I must confess, I hadnít heard anything about Enslaved until I saw it in a game store around the corner from where I live. When I popped it into my Playstation 3 back at home, I was instantly mesmerized by its cool characters, stunning graphics and awesome gameplay. You, as the player, control the actions of Monkey and Trip. Youíll have full control over Monkeyís actions, while you can use Tripís special abilities to help you cross particularly dangerous terrain. You do not control Tripís movement, however; this is AI controlled. By working together, you must overcome obstacles and defeat enemies while making your way through ruined cities and barren wastelands.
What makes Enslaved stand out, as far a s Iím concerned, is its main characters, Monkey and Trip, as well as the extremely well written story that focuses on the ever-changing relationship between the two. It also features quite a few plot twists and Ėturns, that make sure the story stays interesting from its beginning to its end. Personally, I think the gameís script would make one hell of a great movie, just like it helped make Enslaved a truly amazing game. Visually, Enslaved looked absolutely gorgeous; the richly detailed environments actually breathed that eerie feel of destruction and desolation, as does the gameís soundtrack.
Enslavedís gameplay is another thing that only adds to the fun youíll have when playing this game. The third-person perspective fits the game perfectly and really shows off the gameís gorgeous environments. As Monkey, youíll make use of your combat staff, which enables you to fire orange and blue energy bolts at faraway enemies. The orange blasts deal explosive damage, while the blue bolts stun your foes, which lets you beat enemies to a mechanical pulp in hand-to-hand combat. Your staff uses ammo like any other long-range weapon would, so you need to replenish it by collecting orange and blue energy cylinders. When you defeat an enemy, they drop so-called Tech-Orbs. These Tech-Orbs can be used to upgrade Monkeyís abilities, so always keep your eyes peeled for these much-needed spheres of awesomness! Other abilities include a force shield that deflects incoming damage and a saucer-like hover board that enables Monkey to travel on water and land at high speed.
Unlike Monkey, Trip cannot fight enemies, so make sure sheís safe before exploring your surroundings. As a last resort, she can fire a kind of EMP blast, but seeing as how this needs to recharge, sheís unlikely to be able to use it a second time before dying. And remember; if she dies, you die, so do your very best to keep her alive. While she might not be able to fight, Trip is not completely useless. She does possess certain abilities that make her useful when in a jam. She can project a decoy that enemies focus on, enabling you to sneak past behind their backs. She can be thrown over gaps that canít be jumped and toggle switches or other devices. She can also scan the area for mines or other hazards and unlock doors, using her wristband computer.
All in all, Enlaved: Odyssey to the West is an amazing journey and a fantastic game! Thatís why it puzzles me that it never sold properly. It did receive praise from the gaming community, but never sold as it was intended to. Sadly, this meant that a possible sequel was scrapped. I still hope that there are developers out there that love this game as much as I do and decide to take it upon themselves to provide us with a much awaited sequel. Who knows, stranger things have happened! So, from 2020, this is your old time travelling pal Ferry ďSadhonkerĒ Adams, signing off and urging anyone who owns a PS3 or an Xbox 360 to pick up a copy of this game and see for yourselves how awesome it really is!