Lasting First Impressions of “Enslaved: Odyssey to the West” from Namco Bandai
It was just shortly before this game hit the market that I had even heard about it. It just sort of came out of no where and I had no idea what to think about it. So I downloaded the demo and gave it a play through and I was immediately hooked and knew I had to play the full game.
In Enslaved, you play the part of Monkey, a slave escaped from a downed slaver ship who must help a fellow slave, Trip, get back to her home. The game is very similar in play style to Prince of Persia, Tomb Raider, or Uncharted, but the combat leans more towards the melée like in Prince of Persia.
This game really draws you into the story and keeps you engaged by continually providing you with new challenges to overcome. The game does not rely on a constant barrage of enemies to battle as you progress from one level to another and instead varies the play with a combination of combat, puzzle, tactics, and grand adventure.
Visually the game has a kind of rough, almost dirty look to it, but that just adds to the post-apocalyptic New York that you are thrust into. Cut scenes are generated completely in game and flow fluidly in and out of game play with no load times presenting you with the sense that you’re truly a part of this adventure.
The only complaint I have about the game are the fluidity of the controls. Sometimes it feels like I don’t have complete control over the character as the reactions of Monkey seem to be slightly delayed from my controller movements. This is simply a result of the animations that the developers have added to Monkey which attempt to make his movements more life like. For example, if I were running in one direction and decide to change to the opposite, he will first skid to a stop, turn directions and begin to speed up to a run in the other direction. This does not, by any means, take away from the immersiveness of the game and after playing the game really became a moot point as I just accustomed myself to these aspects of the controls.
When I first downloaded and played the demo, which consists of the entire first chapter of the game, I was so immersed in the story that I forgot I was playing a demo. After playing full game for just over an hour, I finished both the first and second chapters and it continued to capture my attention and demanded that I continue playing.
For a game that just seemed to come out of no where, Enslaved has delivered an intensely epic adventure on par with the best of them. After this outing, I’m sure there are many that hope this is just the first part of a new series of fantastic adventure games.
Namco Bandai, I gave you an hour, and you left me very engaged and quite IMPRESSED.