Enslaved: Odyssey to the West

Developed in Great Britain by Ninja Theory
Published by Namco
Released in 2010 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360

Was it too much to ask that Enslaved: Odyssey to the West merely reach the complexity of 2008’s not-very-complex Braid? Or achieve the difficulty of 1993’s The Lost Vikings, a game published for a Super Nintendo that was marketed towards younger kids? Enslaved is centered around a unique combination of puzzle-platforming and cover-shooting mechanics, where Monkey must escort the girl whose life is bound to his through the beautiful post-apocalyptic worlds of tomorrow. And by the three-hour mark, you’ve seen every trick in the book. From there, all you can you do is judge the game by its remaining parts: Combat that’s no improvement on Ninja Theory’s previous dud Heavenly Sword, gunplay and rail-shooting outdone in other third-person shooters, platforming segments best described as “Uncharted while drunk”, and “racing” levels that are barely worth a mention. The only thing that Enslaved has going for it is the great art direction and some passable storytelling. If that’s what you’re looking for in your video games, I would direct you to the golden age of LucasArts point-and-click adventure games. They’re better. Much better.

★★