• Fri. May 20th, 2022

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West video game review

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is the new game from Ninja Theory, probably best known in female gamer circles for the wonderful female led title Heavenly Sword. Sadly, despite rumors to the contrary, Heavenly Sword didn’t get its sequel, instead we get “Enslaved: Odyssey to the West”, a game that it is suggested by some is Heavenly Swords “spiritual successor”, a moniker that is more than a little misleading at best.

Story…

Our heroes in Enslaved: Odyssey to the West are the playable character of Monkey and his unwanted partner Trip (Tripitaka). Yes if the names sound familiar it’s because the game seems to be loosely based on the 1970s Japanese TV show “Monkey” and ancient Chinese novel “Journey to the West” with demons replaced with droids and the magic replaced with technology. As in the TV series, Monkey is “Enslaved” with a headband, that places him under the control of Tripitaka, she can cause him immense pain and he will die if she dies, their partnership is born. This is the overall plot device of Enslaved: Odyssey to the West with Monkey as the playable lead. The storyline has him controlled by the female character of Trip, whom he must see to safety. Despite this element of control in the overarching framework, she is still portrayed as too weak to make it on the journey without him.

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

Female Gamer info…

Might as well jump straight to the female gamer angle from that. As you can tell Trip is non playable and also the dependent, weaker character in the games overall story. Without the strength of Monkey, Trip it would seem would be useless at fighting the elements, in similar fashion to the girly priest of the Monkey TV series. This Trip however is adept at technology and is essentially the smarts of the pair, so I suppose it could be argued that whilst – as usual – the inherent sexism is there with regards to her being unable to physically make it, she is at least blessed with the brains. Sadly, Trip is not a patch on the female character of Nariko seen in Heavenly Sword, nor that of Kai who appeared in that game also. As far as female characterization goes, Ninja Theory have taken a step back with Enslaved, which is a travesty.

Gameplay…

Gameplay in Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is fairly standard stuff, with the player controlling the third-person Monkey as he runs, jumps and essentially smashes enemies with his energy bo-stick, oh and from time to time he also flies around on his ‘magical’ cloud (well this is based on Monkey!).

With Trip as the non playable side-kick, Monkey can order her to do various things, such as distract enemies or follow him. Monkey can also throw Trip to places she can’t reach herself and also aid her in various other ways. So here’s the thing, controls in Enslaved: Odyssey to the West are pretty good, but not great. At times the camera angle will have you cursing and some may suggest the fact you cannot leave a platform unless you can do so safely (ie you can’t fall off) might hinder the overall complexity of the title. For me, I think this game would be extremely frustrating were that not the case, because it is at times difficult to tell just where you should be leaping to. The game also features the usual array of upgrades to weapons utilized by collecting energy balls across levels. Health-packs too are spread throughout levels and handily at boss fights.

Graphics & Sound etc…

Graphically speaking Enslaved: Odyssey to the West features a beautiful landscape of post-apocalyptic fallout, 150 years in our future. Unlike other games set in this destroyed landscape, the world here is vibrant with nature and bright colors abound. Oddly within minutes of playing we realize this is America, New York to begin with to be exact, which feels strange given the high fantasy elements of the game, but then this is what games should be, fantasy. The audio is superb, with voice acting and characterization that Ninja Theory have become renowned for. The voice acting / actors for Enslaved are wonderful, with Andy Serkis doing the motion capture and voice acting for Monkey and Lindsey Shaw doing the same for Trip, Richard Ridings voices Pigsy. Deaf or hard of hearing gamers should have little issue playing this title as the developers have included subtitles.

The Upshot…

Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is driven by two characters and for that reason we want to feel connected to them (as many of us did with Nariko and Kai in Heavenly Sword), sadly this connection – though it exists – just doesn’t feel as strong as it did in Heavenly Sword, where the characters seemed to emote more. Having said that, Enslaved: Odyssey to the West certainly does have its moments and the characters overall are definitely some of the better ones in the realm of gaming, unsurprising given Ninja Theory’s production techniques.

So should you purchase Enslaved: Odyssey to the West? Probably, it’s a great game, but if you missed Ninja Theory’s previous title – Heavenly Sword – you will be able to pick that up for a song and in my opinion – despite being shorter by a smidge – it is the better of the two. If on the other hand you want a new game, Enslaved is one of the better titles on shelves at the moment. It’s not without a few issues, annoying camera angles, at times sticky controls and of course the peripheral female character disease, but it also features a great story, stunning visuals and some great voice acting and motion capture. Oh just don’t get me started on that weird ending, did someone else entirely write that?

Originally published at [The LG] and [GirlyGamer.com.au].

GirlyGamer.com.au

This post originally appear at GirlyGamer.com.au and it was flung through a Stargate or wormhole to Tumblr and Posterous. If you’re reading it there and wish to comment (and why wouldn’t you?!), head to GirlyGamer.com.au as they’re the only comments I read and respond to. Thanks! xx

GirlyGamer / Board Game Gran

Nonna who loves her family, travel, board games, video games, VR and all things geeky (oh and some terrible reality TV.. don't judge lol).

One thought on “Enslaved: Odyssey to the West video game review”
  1. I waslooking for help in how to finish Enslaved. I got stuck, pretty sure I am near the end, but man it’s tough, can’t get by it and its driving me a little round the twist. Great game, other than this frustrating part.

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