Enslaved: Odyssey to the West - Xbox 360 Review

This is more of a light review than the fuller, more technical ones I usually offer.  I am planning to post a few more of these here and there.  Titles that maybe for one reason or another I never got to fully play through because I rented or borrowed them, or got to play them at a friend's house and just never got the full experience and time alone with the game I would normally expect of myself before posting a full review of it.

I never actually owned this title, though I played it at a friend's several times and got most of the way through it, without ever feeling compelled to finish the game, though my buddy did show me the ending later.  The premise is an interesting one set in the future after most of humanity has been eradicated.  The story centers around two protagonists, Monkey and Trip, and while you only actively control Monkey, Trip's presence is no less important.

She slaps a headband of some sort to Monkey's head, commanding him to help her get home before allowing him freedom.  The first thing that I noticed were the strikingly vivid use of colors.  It is almost the exact opposite of what you expect from a post-apocalyptic storyline, but there it is. The characters look pretty good as well, though I frequently noticed framerate issues and a few other performance bugs that popped up during cut scenes.

The music and voice acting were both pretty strong, which is good because the game is trying to invest you in an emotional tale and the quality of the voice work really helps this aspect of the game succeed.  Which is good since the characters may look and sound good, but handle very awkwardly.  There are times I felt clumsy moving around, and trying to interact with Trip was not always easy.  Combat was not bad most of the time, but there really was not a ton of it.  You spend most of your time navigating the environment itself, but to do that you need better control and platforming mechanics.  There are some good tactical portions of the title where she can lend you support through menu commands, but none of it flowed as well as I would have liked.  I suspect this, above anything else, is what did in my interest in actually finishing the game.

Another reason I never really sought to buy it out, was the lack of replay value.  There's no new game plus, there's no no control over how the storyline plays out and there is no multiplayer.  Once you put your twelve hours or so in, you're done.  The story was pretty engaging and the world was interesting but the game itself just failed to capture my attention the way I had hoped it would.

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