Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is an interesting thrill ride through a post-apocalyptic future that retells a tale similar to that of the wonderful piece of classic literature known as Journey to the West in which the Tian Xia god of trickery, Sun Wukong, travels forth in search of immortality and crosses some mighty challenges along the way. In true style to the story on which it finds its origins, Enslaved is a tale of a miraculous journey during which the main characters are met with trials and tribulations abound.
The story starts with two prisoners on a slave ship. The first of which that you are introduced to is Monkey, a huge, muscular man with all the mannerisms and capabilities of the animal he draws his name from. The other is Tripitaka, or Trip for short, a charismatic tech-genius who uses her knowledge to escape and then sequentially crash the slave ship that her and Monkey are trapped on. However, at this point in the story they are anything but travelling buddies.
As the player, you are given control of Monkey after his pod is blown off the wall in an explosion caused by some form of hack Trip enters into a nearby terminal. It’s at this time you are introduced to the fairly simple controls of the game in tutorial format as you try to escape the ship and are slowly immersed into the back story of the world you’ve just entered. From slaves being brutally “terminated” right before your eyes for assisting you to combat mechs attempting to savagely blow or chop you to pieces the game spares no expense in letting you know right away that you haven’t stepped into a fairy tale and rather into a nightmare.
Upon finally reaching the end of the exploding and crashing ship you manage to make it to the last escape pod available off the screaming fireball only to find that someone else has already claimed it, Trip. The pod launches off the ship with Monkey holding on for dear life as it sails over what used to be New York City and crashed into Grand Central Station.
Upon waking from being knocked cold during the crash you find a sacred Trip staring at you as she explains that she has attached one of the slave headbands that you literally witnessed melt fry someone for helping you to your head and hacked it to make you obey her commands all in the hopes that you will help her find her way back home. A request that given the circumstance you are required to accept. And with that your adventure into an unknown land begins as you try to escape the slavers and the rampant seemingly rogue army of mechs crawling over the city.
The story of Enslaved is incredibly well written and interesting. Although it is blatantly obvious that their inspiration is the story of Sun Wukong, from the monkey-like aspects of the main character and the stolen name of the second protagonist all the way down to the power pole like weapon that he uses and the journey through an unknown land, the writers created a world and a tale that is somehow still incredibly original.
The one place the game hurts the most is graphically. While it does stand up well to modern games in comparison to most games it’s age, the engine and textures that the game uses just can’t quite stand up to par. From blurry overall details to strange ringlet designs in the shadows that cover the character’s bodies in certain cut scenes the game has flaws that unfortunately are prominent enough to draw away from the well-executed story overall.
In the end the game is still an awesome experience, despite its flaws, and is without a doubt worth it’s cost just to find out what happens in the end. Prepare for an epic journey.
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