I have always loved the classic Journey West. It's been retold through many different mediums (Dragon Ball started out as a retelling of it, as was Sayuki. I have played games based off it before, and I've seen a few movies), and this might be one of the best I've experienced.
The gameplay centers around Monkey, your player character and the hero of the story. Living up to his name, Monkey has the ability to climb large structures and use free running techniques. It reminded me of Assassin's Creed in this way, the scaling of the buildings is very similarly done.
During the game you are charged with protecting Trip, a teenage girl who has made an initially uncomfortable alliance with you. Your objective is to keep her safe. If her heart stops your head gets pumped full of electricity until you die, so you're given good reason to be protective. Trip supplies you with an upgrade system for Health, Shield, Combat Techniques, and your Staff.
The Staff you carry is your only permanent weapon. It's an extend-able rod, which doubles as a plasma gun. You use it for all combat, close and long range.
As far as vehicles go, you only get one. A hovercraft called a Cloud. It's a small floating disk that lets you fly above most surfaces.
The combat is entirely against mechs. There are a variety of mechs to face off against, each with unique abilities, so it takes a bit before it risks getting too repetitive, but it can sometimes feel that way.
The bossfights and puzzles provide breaks from normal gameplay at a good interval, and you get to fight a nice variety of big-mech creatures.
The locals you visit range from post-apocalypse New York, to a mountain town, a giant salvage yard, an abandoned factory that once produced Colossal mechs, ships, and more. You never stick in one place for more than two or three chapters, but it's plenty of time for you to see the great detail put into the environments.
The characters aren't quite as pretty. But they aren't bad by any means. I would call them standard. The art direction all around is great, though. While they may not be overly realistic, the game has gorgeous graphics.
The plot is a fresh twist on an old Folk-Tale. You've been captured by a slave ship and you end up crashing into post-apocalyptic New York City. While no real explanation is given for the destruction, you slowly piece together information.
From there, the characters focus on escaping the city and returning to their homes. You eventually are led onto an epic journey to find whoever was responsible for your initial capture.
The characters are very well developed. You get a nice feel for their personalities, and the voice acting is superb. It makes them more believable than you'd expect. Monkey is the tough lone-wolf, Trip is the geeky teen. They may seem stereotypical, but you very well might fall in love with them by the end. The game is very plot driven in this regard, because it makes you want to know what happens to the characters next.
This was a unique game. I enjoyed it more than I thought I could. I highly recommend you pick it up. I got my copy for 12$, but would of been willing to pay full price had I known how much I would enjoy it. This is a very underrated diamond in the rough. It's hours of enjoyable gameplay with a nice range of achievement difficulty.
The few flaws that it as aren't much to speak of. The enemies could be a little more varied at times, the graphics on the characters could be a little more polished, and the puzzles could be a bit more obvious on where to start sometimes. Other than that, however, I see no reason to ignore this game. You can get it for less than 20$, when it is well worth 60$.
Final Score: 28/30