You just know a game is going to be something special when actors and writers like Andy Serkis and Alex Garland are part of game directing. Famous for their involvement in movies like Lord of the Rings, King Kong and 28 Days Later they bring that little bit extra to the story telling of this epic adventure.
The game starts hard and fast with the breakout from a slave ship on a crash with the old New York City. As a player you can’t help but be immersed into this futuristic world and I literally couldn’t put the game down until it was finished.
The main character of the story is a lone warrior named Monkey, who comes across as a mix of the Monkey King and Hellboy in both fight style and bad attitude. Monkey is the only character the player can control throughout the game although some colourful characters form part of his journey west.
During the breakout from the slave ship, Monkey is thrust into an alliance with a girl named Trip, who forces him to help her in her journey to her home by placing a slaver band onto his forehead. He either obeys her or he suffers serious pain and if she dies, so does he.
Although he is a formidable fighter, Monkey’s main skill is really his ability to climb and scamper his way up buildings, bridges and across anything else that stands in his way. Trip, on the other hand, is a techie and can manipulate almost every type of technology the party stumble across. Even though she did enslave Monkey, her true nature isn’t malicious and before long she wins him over without the slaver band.
The story is set far in the future and the cities as we know it are ruins filled with dormant droids and mechs.
This the perfect place for traps and ambushes and towering blockades with spectacular battles. With a view. The mechs are split between ranged and close quarter fighters in general but there are a couple of nasty ones lurking around corners every now and then. The boss fights are awesome but aren’t too challenging. Finding their weak spots is what it’s all about and once you have them, it’s quite easy to shut them down.
The dialogue is extremely well written and the voice acting superb making the character’s interaction believable, absorbing and hilarious in some places.
Monkey carries an expandable staff that he uses in combat. Besides blocking, striking and takedowns, he can also charge up the staff and perform a stun attack to stop a mech in its tracks for a short period. The staff can be used as a ranged weapon too, with the choice of plasma blasts or energy stuns to drop shields of particularly dangerous mechs.
My favourite is Monkey’s cloud gadget that expands out into a frisbee shaped hover board. It’s quick, can move over any surface, looks cool and is used in some fast paced chase scenes scattered throughout the story. Yes, I want one.
Trip proves her worth in the party by opening doors, deactivating defences, distracting enemies and upgrading Monkey’s equipment. Energy orbs are found all over the maps and are dropped by mechs defeated in combat; players should explore and collect as many as possible if they wish to upgrade more than just half of the available options.
The game starts with an epic escape from the plummeting slave ship and ends with as much of an epic final battle from the back of a mech monstrosity. Each time the player feels like he was lucky to make it out alive.
Enslaved turned out to be one of the most enjoyable games I’ve played this year. It is a must play for all those adventure lovers out there and quite possible could be the first of a cult classic to be.
At A Glance:
A well written and acted future fantasy adventure.
Developer: Ninja Theory
Publisher: Namco Bandai Games