Enslaved tries to be a shooter, platformer, and fighter with a little bit of puzzle solving and exploration, and manages to tie all of the gameplay elements together nicely despite some occasionaly annoying camera angles and control issues (Nothing is more annoying than hearing the girl yell for help and you can't get to her fast enough because you're not facing in just the right direction to jump down from the ledges you're on).
But by far the areas where the game exceeds are in the design of the post-apocalyptic levels (which look like something out of "Life after People" and are much more lush and colorful than the wastelands of, say, Fallout 3), the amazing character animations (some of the facial expressions are more human than human!), and the above par voice acting from Andy Serkis and Lindsey Shaw as "Monkey" and "Trip". It's a fun and fast paced game that's easy on the eyes and generous with the save points so that the boss battles or beat the clock races aren't too aggravating.
My biggest complaint is how short the game felt (beat it in less than a week, only playing an hour or so a day). With a linear campaign and no multiplayer, there is really no incentive to play through it again unless you just can't stop looking at how cute Trip is. However, it's a solid rental, and I would definitely be on-board to play a sequel.
I played the demo of this game on Xbox Live, and I have to say, I immediately fell in love.
Sure, the game is fairly short. I clocked in at around 13 hours after taking the time to find as many of the orbs and masks I could find. The combat may not be the most intuitive, but it's never overly simplified either.
The graphics in Enslaved are easily some of the best seen to date on the Xbox. Andy Serkis did an amazing job with the mo-cap and performance capture, as well as directing the cinematics, AND voicing the main character Monkey. The levels are absolutely gorgeous from beginning to end. Some games brag about their graphics, claiming they have to best when it comes to displaying facial expressions, but no other game can compare to Enslaved. Even though there isn't much of a back story to the characters, you can't help but feel an emotional attachment to them as they deal with their hardships. All because of the depth of their expressions. Even scenes with no voice work have a rich emotional feel.
The game does suffer from occasional graphical glitches, and the frame rate does drop a bit when there's too much action on the screen, but these happen too infrequently to really impact the game play.
Despite these minor issues, I gave Enslaved: Odyssey to the West a 10 because it was easily one of the best single player experiences I've had from a game in a long time. I truly was enslaved by this game. Absorbed from beginning to end. I honestly couldn't put it down from the moment I started playing, and easily see myself replaying this game multiple times simply because of engrossing it was for me.
Lovely game, haven't played the real game, just the demo and I will rent this. The real reason I'm reviewing this is to point out what is said in the overview. "There are plenty of games where your character is accompanied by a sidekick. But never quite like this! If your partner dies, you die too in this.." Usually if your partner dies in any game on single player, it's game over so what the heck? And I'm saying heck because Gamefly won't let me say what I was originally gonna say.