Most helpful critical review
Not exactly what you'd expect, but close
on July 26, 2012
I bought this game from Future Shop for next to nothing as I was interested in trying something I've never seen or heard of before and ENSLAVED fit that criteria to a T.
I ended up beating it in ~10 hours, which was almost too much, considering the sometimes monotonous gameplay and repetitiveness. You'll be mashing buttons quite a bit. However, there is a certain charm to this game that some people will admire; it's why I completed it instead of letting it collect dust on my shelf.
The premise: Our protagonist, Monkey (voiced by Andy Serkis), has awoken aboard a strange vessel with no memory of how he got there. He makes a dashing escape and comes in contact with a beautiful, tech-savvy female named Trip. While he is incapacitated, she equips him with a unique headband that has two interesting conditions: if Trip dies, Monkey dies; if Monkey ventures too far from Trip's geographical radius, he dies. Monkey is forced into assisting Trip in reaching her home and finding her father, who can shed some light on their situation. Monkey and Trip are likeable characters that compliment each other well; Trip is the brains and Monkey is the brawn. The connection they form throughout the game is rather touching and is what players will probably remember most.
There were interesting and funny moments in the game, but there was just too much of the same: enemies, tactics (or lack thereof), cinematics, etc. Monkey is limited to few melee attacks, but is also equipped with a staff that fires projectiles. However, ammunition for this 'gun' is quite limited: I found myself out of ammo for the majority of the game. What the game does excel in is its graphics and environment designs; it's really quite beautiful, especially for a game maxing out at 720p HD. Also, the voice acting is quite good considering that it suffered from a lack of marketing and attention.
Fighting is not the only form of battle: at one point Monkey is controlling a boat turret and firing at enemies on shore. There are other things as well but I won't mention too much here. There is a lot of wall-climbing and acrobatics which some players may have fun with. To reach certain areas Monkey will have to make the correct use of his surroundings. My main problem with this is that the game holds your hand (figuratively) a little too much; everything you can use to scale the environment is highlighted. There's basically zero free-roaming and each area is quite small. It's fun at first but eventually it wears on you.
One last thing that made me dislike this game: the ending. You'll see. I was rather disappointed with it and it prevented me from giving ENSLAVED a four-star review.
If you're a fan of beat-em-ups I'd recommend ENSLAVED, but only if you can purchase it for $14.99 or less. It's a great time-waster if you're looking for something that doesn't make you think too much or strain your abilities.