Enslaved Odyssey to the West: A great but flawed gem

I never finished my first play through of Ninja Theory’s Enslaved Odyssey to West: It’s niggles & frustrations just got too much for me, despite me really enjoying the journey tale of main characters Monkey and Trip.

Last weekend, I decided to reinstall it on Steam and make my way through it again. I’m really glad I did. Sure, the niggles & frustrations are still annoying me from time to time but I’ve put those aside to focus on the story and the relationship that develops between the two lead characters. That’s the really stellar thing about the game: The relationship.

The game takes place in an apocalyptic world 150 years into the future where robots still present the biggest challenge and danger and very few humans exist anymore. The world is one full of danger at almost every turn.

One of the game’s biggest strengths is its combat, which while relatively simplistic, sees monkey battle a variety of mechanical beasts using a staff that can not only bash the shite out of foes but can fire plasma bolts that can stun and blast enemies. Chain enough hits and Monkey can perform a takedown move which will short circuit larger foes. The story is written by Alex Garland, the same writer behind one of my favourite movies, Dredd, and features Andy Serkis (he who did the motion capture work and voice of Gollum in the Lord of the Rings movies) and Lindsey Shaw.

I think what really sells me on Enslaved is the developing relationship between Monkey and Trip and the emotions that develop as their bond grows and the pair learn to trust each other and work together. It’s a game that treats its players like mature adults not reliant on clich├ęs and gimmicks to move the narrative along. There was some DLC released featuring a character called Piggy but I haven’t got that yet. Maybe I might pick it up.

Sometimes, taking a break between playing a game can make you enjoy it more the second time around. That’s definitely the case with Enslaved Odyssey to the West. Hopefully, Ninja Theory might decide to make a sequel. I’d pay to play that.