Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

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Mark ENSLAVED: ODYSSEY TO THE WEST

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Chevalier Bayard
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Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

Postby Chevalier Bayard » Fri 19 Nov, 2010 20:13

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Wether you like or not, you can't deny that Namco Bandai's Enslaved: Odyssey to the West comes with an original design. It is most certainly the reason I got interested by this post-apocalyptic game with a world where Nature has taken back the Earth to a Humanity close to extinction. Also as its secondary title underlines it, it is a (very free) adaptation of the ancient Chinese tale "Journey to the West" which teased the Dragon Ball fan I am as well ^^

Yes, if I must confess I've never read "Journey to the West" but only synthesis for it, I found it quite funny to find several parallels with the very well known adaptation signed by Akira Toriyama. In Enslaved the Monkey King(/Goku) role is taken by Monkey, the character you will play throughout the story which starts on board of a huge flying ship.

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During his escape, Monkey meets Trip (Tripitaka in the Chinese tale) who plays him a nasty trick: as Monkey is unconscious, she makes him wear a modified slave crown. Being highly skilled in technics, Trip has hacked the original program and replaced it by one of his own. Shall he try to run away or shall Trip die, the crown will kill Monkey. Being smart is far to be enough in this dangerous world and she knows she needs Monkey's exceptional physical abilities if she wants to survive and make the journey back to her village.

Playing Monkey, you then have to be careful that no harm happen to Trip. Hopefully you can get your eyes out of her as the occasion where her life is an danger are not really numerous. Actually this is even a problem encountered in Enslaved, the game is E-A-S-Y. Easy beyond reasonable. If you do have to deal with several tricky parts, most of the time you are really taken by the hand; worst example of this being that Monkey just can't fall. If he happens to stand on a high platform, he just won't be able to fall from it, trapped between invisible walls which only let open the road to take.

If you're afraid of too technical TPS, you can get yourself Enslaved eyes closed. Actually I wonder if you can't even finish the game keeping them closed ^^ I'm not totally fair though as I've not yet played in "difficult mode" which might offer more challenge but this won't change anyway this "far too assisted" feeling throughout the whole game.

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From the very first minutes you realize that the gameplay is poor but as soon as you get outside the ship, you might fall for Enslaved: Odyssey to the West anyway as I did. I had been caught by its design and there I've clearly not been disappointed. I really find the environments gorgeous!

In the first chapters, Trip and Monkey are escaping a city which is obviously New-York, 150 years after the apocalypse. A lot closer to the TV show Life After People than to Fallout games, they cross a city which once deserted by man, has been conquered back by Nature. At least for the flora, as except some birds you'll see in background (and which could be mechanical as well) the fauna you encounter is artificial only. Sleeping robots are haunting the environments, only waking up when they detect a presence in the proximity they attack with no warning.

You will also visit Trip's village which reminded me a lot about Hayao Miyazaki's Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind which is quite a reference! The other remaining are your path will cross are less impressive but enjoyable as well, even if I won't tell you much about it, not wanting to spoil you more the story which appears to be catchy enough for I bore with the annoying gameplay.

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A DLC will be soon released in which you will play Pigsy, a character who join you before the middle of the game and who looks and acts like a pig; another link to the pig character in "The Journey to the West" (and to Oolong in Dragon Ball ;)). It took me about 10 hours to get through Enslaved: Odyssey to the West in "Normal" mode, I won't mind getting back to it if the DLC makes us discover more about the whole story and other landscapes.

Its gameplay doesn't allow Enslaved: Odyssey to the West to be granted our higher marks, though it comes with an original world and offers a nice ride along a story richer than expected. 4/6 for me!

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