I just finished Enslaved: Odyssey to the West. I love the setting of a post-apocalyptic world where nature has reclaimed civilization. The art direction is superb. It's got great character animations, with the best facial animations I've seen in a game. These things really enhance the simple, personal story. The ending was well done, and contains a (sort of) twist that I wasn't expecting and really pushed it into the realm of introspection.
The game-play is definitely one of its weak points. It's not bad, just rough around the edges. All of the criticisms I've read about the game are valid, in my opinion, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. One thing in particular did annoy me though, and it's nothing new to console games. But in a game with great characterizations and a very human, mature story, its presence is all the more jarring.
I refer to the collect-athon. In this case you have to run around collecting "orbs" as a sort of currency to allow upgrades to weapons, health, and what-not. Couldn't they come up with a better way? One could simply ignore this aspect, but the upgrades are extremely useful. I found myself running around like a klepto on speed looking for these things in every nook and cranny, instead of striding deliberately, confidently through this lush world like one would expect from the solemn protagonist.
Anyway, I suppose it's a minor gripe, but the game could have been so much more if it would have left out some of those less savory aspects. Maybe that's just the old computer game snob in me talking.
It doesn't have much replay value, but I never consider than in judging a game's worth. Anyone else have opinions about this one?
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While I've not played Enslaved, I totally agree with you Botch regarding collect-athons. I'm sick and tired of picking up abstract arbitrary shit just to make sure I don't miss out on things. Both Uncharted games had those lovely treasures that you could find but they only served to unlock various extras, many of which seemed unlockable without going to extreme lengths searching everywhere. I don't mind treasure hunts of sorts but when they're so important to the flow of the game they can easily become a chore.
I played, and loved, this when it first released. Collecting the orbs made me laugh, especially when Trip would tell Monkey to hurry up. I would answer "I'm coming just as soon as I collect these shiny glowing orbs first." Since I'm such a combat weenie, I looked on orb-collection as a way to decompress after clearing the mechs out.
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Toger, I had a similar experience, except with less laughing and more cursing. 🙂
I kept waiting for the girl to ask me why I was running around looking in every corner. I just assumed I was the only one who could see the orbs. It wasn't as though I had to compete with anyone for them. Why hide them everywhere? That's not exploration. It all just seemed so superfluous to an otherwise compelling experience.
I'm not someone who thinks that total immersion is the ultimate goal of a video game. I don't campaign for no HUDS or life bars or what-not. I can accept the more obvious video-gamey elements mixed in with a story-driven game. Just make it consistent. More importantly, make it fun.
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The part I hated the most were the timed chases to save Trip. Chasing after that damned Rhino almost made me give up in frustration. I made that run at least 15+ times - on EASY - before finally reaching the trigger point... I actually stopped counting after the 12th time. There was much cursing involved. [Image Can Not Be Found]
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