‘You die – I die’ – Take heed this warning ‘video game industry’ because Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is challenging you!  With ‘big guns’ Halo: Reach and Call of Duty: Black Ops filling up stockings this holiday season – Enslaved will most likely be hailed as the ‘sleeper hit of 2010’.  The game is based on an old Chinese novel ‘Journey to the West’ and set in a post apocalyptic future with heroes Trip and Monkey struggling to find a way home and freedom.

We interviewed Tameem Antoniades the co-writer and  ‘Chief Creative Ninja’ (Ninja Theory) for Enslaved months ago on COIN-OP TV and he explained then how Monkey is the bodyguard of Trip – working together to transverse the wasteland.  Tameem describes the game as an ‘epic journey’ and it is that — the player will feel like he or she just dropped inside of a movie.  The attention to detail and characters are all top-notch, this is a new IP that is worthy of sequels, toys, movie license and more.

Enslaved is much like Uncharted 2 without all the guns.  Monkey has a staff that fires bolts of energy and stun but ammo is limited and firing your weapon is saved for special occasions.  This makes Monkey’s primary option in combat hand-to-hand.  His tactics are brutal and fierce – a skilled player can use evade, block or combos to finish off the onslaught of mechs you face in the game.  Combat is mixed with climbing and jumping levels that help change up the game.  We’ve heard complaints about the camera in combat being ‘funky’ but when we played through the game we only hit a few snags along the way.

Ninja Theory (and Namco Bandai) has put together an excellent game in Enslaved: Odyssey to the West – one that challenges the video game industry to think less about gimmicks and accessories and more about good story, great characters and fun gameplay.  Unfortunately, Enslaved doesn’t offer multiplayer or a true co-op experience but there is download content on the way and going back through levels to pick up goodies will add some replay value.