Ultimately, I can't recommend this game. There are many great parts, but I wouldn't tell anyone that the experience is worth it. This game is completely mediocre, but with the potential to be amazing. A few slight adjustments would have turned this into a must-play game.
The storyline is nothing new, but it's compelling and engaging. The quick cut scenes and overall flow make the game seem really relatable and it's easy to care about the characters. They are also funny and the plot makes sense from start to finish. Nothing is stupid or contrived.
However, those are the qualities, all related to the cinematic potential. The gameplay is boring, tedious, and repetitive. The path is lined up in front of you (figuratively), and you never have to guess what to do next. That's not really a bad thing, but it's been a long time since I've played a game that was this incredibly linear. There is no way to mess up, no reason to second-guess, and it makes the game feel more like a slog that slows you down between cut scenes than an experience you want to have again.
If I could spare a few words for the developers in the hopes that they might read them:
The orbs are a bad idea. Running all over hell and back to collecting floating orbs that are never explained at all was the single worst part of this game. I collected 92% of them overall, and I'd rather lose my all hair than do it again. Ever.
The RPG system is weak, making the orbs even less appealing to collect. The majority of combat focuses on melee, but the upgrades for melee are few and weak. The ranged attack becomes very strong, but ammo was scarce and I only used it when I had to. I played on Hard, so maybe ammo is more plentiful in lower levels, but I prefer the challenge. However, I wasn't aware that I'd only be able to upgrade my ranged attack with any great improvements when I started. More upgrade options, please.
Certain parts are laughably incosistent. Monkey can toss Trip up to those high ledges, but can't jump up there himself? Other times he makes leaps across gaps so huge I would have been sure that I needed another route. However, the worst part of the incosistency was the Cloud. Works sometimes, inexplicably? Yeah, Monkey says it, and Trip offers a vague reason, but there are times where it doesn't work even in the same area once I've killed the boss that requires its use. The Cloud is the single most enjoyable portion of gameplay in Enslaved, and it was a shame I didn't get to use it more.
Finally, the camera work. An auto-center is a must-have feature in any game, and I can't tell you how many times my attacks would swing wide because the camera angle changed on its own and I had to swing it back around manually. Those fixed angle sections caused me a lot of headache when Monkey decides to do a 180 because the camera just flipped in front of him.
Finally, just some continuity stuff. In Chapter 14, you get the clear message that this is your final chance to upgrade any further. Why the heck are there orbs after that point then? More tedious collection with NO payoff this time. Perhaps there's a New Game + feature, but I don't want to find out. Harsh review, I know, but I'm only being so precise because I think thsi game could have been so extremely wonderful that I will be looking forward to seeing how Ninja Theory progresses from here. Learn from your mistakes, and you'll have a bright future in games.