Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

I normally like to finish a game’s main quest before writing down my thoughts about it, but now it’s clear that I’m just not going to get the opportunity to play it through – at least not for a year or so – I figured I should point out the games I’ve enjoyed playing over the past year in the hope that you get further than I did. Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is one such game that I can unreservedly recommend though I only got halfway through it.

It’s based on the old Chinese story Journey to the West by Wu Cheng’en, which is apparently one of the Four Great Classical Novels of China. Its setting has been relocated to a post-apocalyptic future, in which treacherous ruins and crazed robots are the main remaining perils. The plot retains the focus of a traveller who enslaves a warrior for protection, and the story was written by The Beach‘s Alex Garland. Andy Serkis and Lindsey Shaw provide the voice talent – the latter’s avatar bearing an uncanny resemblance to Tara Reid.

The game is just beautiful, and that alone makes it a pleasure to play. You mostly control Monkey – an acrobatic warrior humanoid – and the gameplay is a mixture of Batman-style melee combat and platform puzzle-solving. Trip, the Tara Reid lookalike, is the “brains” to his “brawn” and you have a few basic commands for her that include acting as a decoy to draw enemy fire and scanning the environment for hazards. The story revolves around both characters keeping each other alive so your role as the player is to enable their co-operation.

There are a few frustrating levels, but on the whole it strikes the right balance and is engaging and fun. It’s less than nine dollars at Amazon, so you really have no excuse not to pick it up.

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