Enslaved: Odyssey to the West
If the apocalypse looks anything like Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, the end of the world can't come soon enough
- Beautiful art design, engaging story, excellent voice acting, combat is fun, escorting Trip through dangerous areas is a unique and fresh gameplay challenge
- Inconsistent frame rate, not much variety in enemies, final boss battle feels slightly lacklustre, Not many objects in most environments are destructible or interactive outside of scripted action sequences
Even though the classic Chinese novel "Journey to the West" has been relentlessly adapted back and forth across many books, TV shows, and video games, Ninja Theory's Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is an incredibly unique take on the iconic story. Supported by memorable characters, smart dialogue, impressive art design, and some downright gorgeous environments, Enslaved is a stellar action-adventure from the Heavenly Sword developer.
Price$ 109.95 (AUD)
Aside from the vividly detailed environments that teem with colour and light, Ninja Theory's pedigree is on full display here with characters that carry the game's plot extremely well. Of course, there are also plenty of great action sequences to be found in this tale, which is befitting and expected of the team behind Heavenly Sword. (Even the most casual gamer will probably notice that female lead Trip is a definite dead ringer for Nariko.)
Enslaved kicks off shortly after the main protagonist, a warrior-slash-drifter named Monkey, wakes up in a holding cell in a flying slave ship. Through the craft's P.A. system he's informed that he will be sent — against his will — to a new community safe from the various dangers of the post-apocalyptic future. It's not long before one of the other prisoners escapes, and after some quick sabotage, the ship is plummeting out of the sky, with Monkey desperately looking for an escape pod as pieces of the slave carrier fall apart around him.
After crash-landing in what used to be New York City, Monkey meets the ship's saboteur, a young tech-headed woman named Trip. Unfortunately for him, Trip has slapped a cybernetic slave's headband on Monkey, requiring him to follow her commands or suffer intense pain. As Trip explains, she needs a bodyguard to get her back home, and she can't traverse a city filled with dangerous robots without Monkey's help. Additionally, Trip warns Monkey that if she dies, the headband will also kill him, ensuring that no matter what, he's basically stuck with her.
While several video games have offered their own takes on escort missions and "odd couple" protagonists, Enslaved definitely does it better than most. As Monkey and Trip travel together, the dialogue between the two helps build an interesting and believable dynamic. Moreover, their relationship feels very natural and organic, which is greatly aided by the spectacular voice acting at work here. As the game progresses, character development remains at the forefront of the story, Monkey and Trip eventually realising that, like it or not, they need each other to overcome even the smallest of obstacles.
Protecting Trip is a refreshing challenge in itself due to some smart level design and solid environments. Monkey can climb anything with a foothold, beat down killer robots — or "Mechs" — and use his various weapons to do things that Trip can't. On the other hand, Trip is a technical genius, which means she can hack doors, scan areas for traps, and upgrade Monkey's equipment. Both of these characters' skill sets work in complete harmony, and you'll always be tasked with an interesting scenario that requires some degree of strategy. If Monkey's pinned down by Mech Turrets, Trip can use flashing lights to provide a distraction while he slips by. But Trip can't climb high walls or jump like Monkey can, often requiring you to find makeshift bridges or other means of safe passage.
In fact, Enslaved treats many of its levels like platforming puzzles, as most sequences require players to find the best route between Point A and Point B. While Monkey can't freely leap and swing from most anything in an environment like Assassin Creed's Altair — all the climbing sequences are context sensitive — the game does a good job at subtly nudging you along mostly linear paths. That being said, most of Enslaved's areas avoid repetition and predictability thanks to constantly changing goals and excellent pacing. Throw in a few collectibles here and there and you won't mind taking the occasional scenic route.
If anything, Enslaved has the good sense to introduce a new gameplay element just when things start to get a little tedious. In some areas, you'll have to snipe Mechs from a distance while Trip hacks a nearby door. In others, Monkey will have to race across a short distance in record time in order to save Trip from a looming threat. Most of the time you'll just have to charge headlong into a pile of Mechs and smash your way through the game's impressive rock-paper-scissors combat system. Make no mistake — Monkey is no Kratos, and without Trip backing him up, he's often incredibly vulnerable to certain enemies. Additionally, there are plenty of sequences where you can choose to avoid fights, but the game doesn't punish you for going "Rambo" every once in a while.
Not only does the gameplay hold up over the 20 hours of narrative, but Ninja Theory's amazing art design remains consistently impressive throughout. For a post-apocalyptic world, Enslaved shines with gorgeous landscapes, bright scenery, and colourful environments. It's a world where nature is slowly growing over the ruins of the modern age, and the levels all look incredibly vibrant as a result. Even though the graphics aren't close to perfect — the frame-rate noticeably chugs when too much action is going on at once, and environments are kind of static — the level of detail in the various locales is impressive nonetheless.
If anything, Enslaved's journey was over before I really wanted it to end. Regardless, the final conclusion was still pretty satisfying, even if the final boss battle didn't really live up to the rest of the game. Ninja Theory's take on the "Journey to the West" story is one that I'd gladly revisit, and novelist Alex Garland deserves a ton of credit for helping produce this adaptation. It's a really satisfying narrative that doesn't get bogged down in cliches or awkward plot twists, and thrives on a cast that's both interesting and memorable. Even if we never see Monkey, Trip, or Pigsy again (outside of some upcoming DLC), Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is one tale that manages to stand high above several of its gaming, film, and literary counterparts.
Join the newsletter!
WD MY PASSPORT™ X Gaming Storage
cloudandco Smart Cane
Apple iPhone X
SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-55EZ950U
Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44
Bang and Olufsen BeoVision 14
Dyson Supersonic™ Hair Dryer Fuchsia/Iron
Panasonic OLED 4K Ultra HD TV - TH-77EZ1000U
Nespresso Creatista Coffee Machine
Toys for Boys
LaCie Rugged USB-C Portable Hard Drive
Onyx Smart Walkie Talkie
Propel Star Wars T-65 X-Wing Drone
Leica M10 Digital Rangefinder Camera
Ubiquiti Network’s Front Row Camera
Bose SoundLink Micro
Google Daydream View VR Headset
Lego Mindstorms EV3
Toffee Bags Commuter Satchel
Panasonic Hi-Fi - SC-UA7GS-K
Belkin Pocket Power 10,000mAh
Dearear Endear In-ear Wireless Earphones
Amazon Echo Bluetooth Speaker
Xbox One X
iRobot Roomba 980 Vaccum Cleaning Robot
Nest Protect Smart Smoke Alarm
Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K
WD MY CLOUD™ HOME Personal Cloud Storage
PETKIG Go Smart Dog Leash
Logitech Doodle Collection Wireless Mouse
Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse
Urbanworx Full HD Action Camera
Tile Pro Bluetooth Tracker
Raspberry Pi Starter Kit
Lexon Flip Alarm Clock
3SIXT 3-in-1 Smartphone Lens Kit
Panasonic Portable Splashproof Fun - RF-D20U
Ikea NORDMÄRKE Wireless Charging Pad
Kogan Bluetooth Soundbar
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Mate 10 Pro Review: A solid winter flagship that cribs from the best
- 2 Google Pixel 2 review: not quite 'pixel perfect' but damn close
- 3 Huawei Nova 2i review: Flagship features get smuggled into the mid-tier
- 4 Moto X4 review: This is what a world without MotoMods looks like
- 5 Giabyte Aorus X9 Gaming Laptop review: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Acer attempts to woo Australian gamers with reveal of its new Predator range
- Nintendo Switch software update: What does 4.0.0 feature and how to install it?
- Robot House announce vacuum-bot adventure game ahead of PAX Australia
- Wargaming launches ANZ servers for World of Tanks
- VR fairytale game Luna due for Oct 17 release
PCW Evaluation Team
It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.
Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.
The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.
The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.
The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic
I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.
- Huawei Mate 10 Pro review
- The Best Australian Black Friday Tech Deals That Aren't On Amazon
- Wolfenstein The New Colossus Review
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
Product Launch Showcase
- CCSenior Test Engineer - Insurance domainVIC
- FTSolution ArchitectOther
- FTService Desk Analyst/Telecommunications Service AnalystOther
- FTTechnical Business Analyst / Application Support AnalystOther
- CCRelease ManagerACT
- TPService Delivery ManagerACT
- CCLinux AdministratorNSW
- FTSoftware DeveloperOther
- TPBusiness AnalystQLD
- CCWintel EngineerWA
- FTHR Business PartnerOther
- CCMid - Level SAP Test Analyst (Brisbane)NSW
- FTSenior Systems Engineer (WINTEL)ACT
- FTJava Developer (API Development)Other
- TPProject OfficerVIC
- TPProject Manager - IT SecurityQLD
- CCDesktop Engineer - MULTIPLE ROLESQLD
- FTSnr Information Security Consultant - IT Services - North Ryde areaNSW
- CCDevelopers ? Multiple opportunities (Brisbane)NSW
- FTSenior DevOps LeadVIC
- FTField ConsultantOther
- FTProject Manager - Develop Strategy. Need RISI card, Rail bckgrdOther
- TPAutomation EngineerQLD
- CCSolution ArchitectNSW
- FTDigital Marketing ExecutiveOther