Note:Before reading this review know that I have not read the source material this game is based on so I’m going to judge this game on its own rather than looking at it as an adaptation also this is a Review from the GruntWatcher Archives.

Ever since I saw this game four years ago I’ve been meaning to play it. See I first heard about it on an issue of Gamesmaster (before I had internet access). For the most part it was well advertised with a single ad on a page on each issue. So with all that advertising and puff pieces you would expect a big seller right? Wrong. The game was a commercial failure only selling half of its expected sales all due to the competition (Red Dead Redemption,Halo:Reach,Starcraft2)However when it was ported over to steam for a reduced price some of us bought it to see what we missed out on. Recently I noticed that MetalJesusRocks talked about it on his Xbox 360 hidden gems videos. So eventually I did buy the premium edition which has all the DLC and the main game.

So what does the story entail?

Enslaved is an adoption of Journey to the West with major changes to the setting and characters. Our main character Monkey escapes from a slaver ship with Trip who places a headband on Monkey “Recruiting” him to escort her back to her home village away from the human hunting Mechs. If Monkey declines or if Trip dies the headband will explode killing monkey.

So let’s take a look at what enslaved gets right and what it gets wrong.

Positives:

  • Enslaved has a brilliant art style thanks to its conceptual artwork being translated well in the unreal engine 3. I could stare at the environments forever and never get tired of the vistas.
  • Acting wise enslaved goes the motion capture route by using Hollywood talent for physical performances and voice acting. Our three characters Monkey (Andy Serkis), Trip (Lindsey Shaw) and Pigsy (Richard Ridings) who do a great job as our main cast. I should also note that since Andy is a veteran of motion capture he gave tips to the production team at Ninja Theory.
  • The Soundtrack is decent enough although my favourite track would have to be the menu theme.
  • Combat is okay for the most part although the Arkham games have done combat better in unreal engine 3.

Negatives:

  • Our characters aren’t that sympathetic in particular Trip who the writers were trying to make an Ellie (The Last of US) type character but instead she comes off as a selfish douche who only cares about animal life rather than the life of other humans(as seen in the scene where she feels sorry for the fish and the broken tank). In a nutshell she shows negative stereotypical traits of female characters. Monkey is a pretty bland protagonist who just seems more like your average badass hero Archtype rather than a Three Dimensional Character who in the end has a sudden love for Trip. Finally Pigsy is a greedy fat dude who has lustful feelings for Trip even though her father just died. Overall Pigsy comes off as a comic relief who means well but has a number of unlikable traits to him.
  • The Level’s aren’t well designed causing player death not because of the players incompetence but because the level will expect you to react to stuff at a rapid pace.
  • At first glance the game looks like a 3D platformer with free reign for the player. Instead it goes for a fixed path route with hack in slash mechanics. So it comes off as more linear than open world giving the sense that the games wants to hold your hand throughout.
  • I noticed that there is a few shortcuts in production for example when monkey will encounter a flashback it will show live action photos, some of them taken from Andy Serkis photo album.
  • Graphics will have delayed textures in Cutscenes due to poor Rendering(although the Unreal Engine 3 had this problem in other games)

Overall can I recommend this game…no. Even though Enslaved may have good things to offer its way too flawed for me to give it a thumbs up. I really did want to like this game especially since I want to find a game that can rival The Last of Us overrated reputation but for the search still continues.

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