Red Dead Redemption appealed to me on many levels, I loved the mechanics and the setting, but mostly it was the fact that I got to pretend to be a cowboy. I knew what I was doing, I knew what I was getting myself into. It was sort of like playing Cowboys and Indians when I was kid, these kids were the bad guys, these kids were the good guys. It was an appeal to my childhood and fondness for spaghetti westerns, albeit in the most violent way possible.
I bring that up as an example of the many different ways in which a game can hook someone. RDR gave me a cowboy hat and a six-shooter and let me do pretty much anything I wanted to with it. Enslaved on the other hand took me on a journey and it was proof positive that theres still something beautiful that can be done with the guided single-player experience.
Was it linear? Hell yes. Was the combat simplified? Absolutely. But it wasn't about leveling up and fighting evil robots, it was about developing your relationship with Trip until the point that you didn't need a slaves headband to be tied to her anymore. You wanted to help her see her mission through.
The affection that Monkey develops for Trip felt real. He saw her as this silly girl that was as fragile as a flower. Until her naïveté revealed itself as genuine fear. She wasn't a fragile flower that could be broken by single mechanical footstep, but someone who had no idea what she was doing or where her life was headed, much the same as Monkey himself. Where Monkey masks his fear with his acrobatic ability and proficiency for robot murder, Trip masks it in her unending optimism. Even in the face of utter despair and loss, she picks her self up and refocuses on her next mission.
The only complaint I could have about this game, is that it wasn't longer. I never felt like this wasn't worth my $60 dollars. I just wanted to play it more, which isn't something I could say about many games. It never overstayed its welcome, even though I kind of wanted it to.