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CornflakeJustice avatar 11:31 PM on 01.27.2011  (server time)
Enslaved to my PS3, A Review of Enslaved

I'll try to keep them minimal, but read at your own risk.

I just played through the last hour and a half or so of Enslaved. (Freeing the Leviathan on to the end) and I'm sorry, but the "Smoked Bacon" trophy is one of the most horrifying achievements I've EVER seen. Just in really poor taste.

That said, the conceit of this game is simple, get Trip home. Then not so simple, help Trip destroy the people who killed her father. Then you realize what the conceit really is. And everything you saw in the game, every ghost you came across makes sense, what you see in that dead mask is simultaneously breath-taking by virtue of being horribly, horribly cruel, and the kindest gesture a dead man could give to a broken world. As you realize this you understand the decision you have to make, do you let it stand, or do you fight it, and how can you live with yourself with either decision, and then, in a flash you realize that choice, that control has been plucked from your grasp for the sake of the story. For this I say, bravo to the writers. Bra-Fucking-Vo.

Between the run through the city, especially the beautiful almost operating theatre, and the "ghostly" visions, to the last fight on top of the Leviathan, this game in spite of its seemingly no exploration stance, and linear travel feels incredibly vast and expansive. Gorgeous environments beautifully detailed to the last blade of grass , and whirling dust storms. This is hands down one of the best looking games I've ever played and MY GOD THE PEOPLE! The people, the people, the people, their eyes...

I read an article, I believe on Kotaku, though it might have been on Destructoid, discussing why these characters seemed so wonderfully animated, a highly supported argument being that is was the eyes. And I agree, the characters are stylized without a doubt and that's fine, Trip looks beautiful but have you looked at the waist on those hips? And Monkey? I would LOVE to look like that, but have you SEEN the torso on those hips? But look at their faces, look at their faces when Monkey tells Trip to "Turn it back on" at the end when Trip asks if she did the right thing, tell me you can't actually see the emotion in their faces, empathically feel what they're feeling.

My only gripe, and I mean only grip is the controls, as fluid as Monkey moves, the buttons often felt quite the opposite. In a word Clunky, and jumping was occasionally difficult at VERY important moments. After about an hour and a half or so of gameplay you get used to it, not a terribly high learning curve, just enough to be irritating sometimes.

The last thing of note for me is the sound. And the only reason I comment on it is this, if you can afford it, consider getting yourself a solid surround sound headset. I just picked up a Turtle Beach X41 set and the difference between the first bit of this game I played and the last after getting the headset was mind blowing. I'll consider doing a review of those later. The sound design of this adventure really makes this game feel amazingly epic in nature, looking through Monkey's eyes as I stare into the void of that mech before turning it's horrid tail on itself, I almost felt like his thoughts were in my head if that makes sense.

The Good
Gorgeous environtments
Fantastic Story with an experience altering twist you have to see
The best faces you'll see this side of the Uncanny Valley
Some of the most immersive sound I've heard

The Bad
Controls feel a bit clunky at first, you get used to them
Smoked Bacon Trophy/Achievement is hands down the worst use of wordplay ever.

9/10 or 93/100 as you like it.

If you're thinking about looking into this game (and why are you reading this if you are I mean I did just warn you about spoilers) do it. Amazon has it for $30, it's worth it.

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