Enslaved: Odyssey to the West Review

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Monkey magic


One of the most lushly crafted games of the year, Ninja Theory’s sci-fi riff on the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West is a belting platformer-slash-chopsocky romp that take plays out in an eerily beautiful post-apocalyptic world overrun by rampaging robots. Taking its design cues from the doc Life After People, Ninja Theory populates its post apocalyptic New York City not with drab, bleak colouring, but rather vibrant greens and blues; a world filled with natural flora and fauna that begs to be ogled at, explored and appreciated on a giant telly box.

Truth be told, Enslaved is as impressive as Sony’s Uncharted 2: Among Thieves both in terms of design, characters, acting and a pitch-perfect script thanks to the wordy magic of The Beach and 28 Days Later’s Alex Garland, and Ninja Theory’s creative guru, Tameem Antoniades. Despite a saggy midsection, Garland, Antoniades and star, Andy Serkis (doubling as both co-director and Enslaved lead character, Monkey) deliver the goods via expert pacing, solid platforming, spectacular set-pieces and punchy cut scenes that never overstay their welcome.

Yes, it is a little too cushy to run through but Ninja Theory’s latest is still a meaty adventure, jamming in a sizeable fourteen chapters, every minute of which is filled with captivating brawls, puzzles and a dusting of heart-pounding chases. Definitely this year’s dark horse and a possible contender for Game of the Year come the gaming gongs season.