Enslaved deserves to sell more than 460,000 copies

David Hughes's picture

Namco Bandai recently revealed sales results for Enslaved: Odyssey to the West, a game with some rough edges but which definitely deserved to sell more copies than it has so far.

The Ninja Theory-developed and Namco Bandai published Enslaved: Odyssey to the West is not the best game. It didn't win any 'Game of the Year' awards, nor should it have, but it certainly deserved to sell more than 460,000 units across Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 worldwide - and here's why.

For a small development house, that may have been enough to break even on the title, and Namco Bandai recently said they have returned to profitability, but less than half a million worldwide remains fairly paltry sales. I've previously written a more design-focused article in another space and I don't want to retread over the same territory too much, but Enslaved is one of the more unique titles currently in the major retail game spaces.

Rather than a drab post-apocalyptic setting, the title features a rich color palette and doesn't dwell too long on the obvious set-pieces. Despite an interesting opening in the ruins of New York City, players aren't necessarily treated to a 'let's see how many destroyed landmarks we can visit' style of level design. Buildings are there, the setting feels real, but the game allows its characters and combat to shine. When viewed in the mindset of a reviewer, it's a title that scores in the middle of the scale, but it remains one of my favorite games in 2010 - in part for an ending you will definitely not see coming.

It has been argued that Enslaved's combat is repetitive, and while it does suffer from some button-mashing boredom at points, the single-player story and levels are far more interesting than the hyper-linear campaign of something like Call of Duty: Black Ops. The biggest problem with the game is a camera that switches angles far too often. It's quite annoying, but Epic Mickey was torched by many press reviews for a very twitchy camera that got in the way of core gameplay much more than Enslaved's and it has managed to sell well over a million copies to date.

At a list price (as of this writing) of $40, and frequently discounted well past that point, it is a title worth taking a look at for those wanting more unique adventure experiences. HULIQ News can recommend the Xbox 360 version over the PS3 version on technical grounds, but if gamers only have Sony's console, the game is more than playable on that platform.

Even if Namco Bandai fails to shift signficantly more copies of the title, however, it's heartening to see that the publisher has not written the franchise off altogether. Though a sequel has not been confirmed, it also hasn't been dismissed outright. When Ninja Theory is done with its current reboot of the Devil May Cry franchise, it is entirely possible they will revisit the story of Monkey and Trip - or craft a brand-new tale in their unique vision of the post-apocalyptic landscape.

Add new comment