Version tested: Xbox 360
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West was a rare thing. No, not because it was fabulous and nobody bought it (although it was and nobody did), but because the story was good and well told, and ultimately meant more to players than the gameplay it dressed up.
In a genre where most developers struggle to instil basic humanity into their characters, Enslaved's cast found themselves overflowing with pathos. When you first met Trip and she was frightened and vulnerable, hugging her knees, that was a real human being, and a moment not worth trading for a thousand Lara handstands.
But it's Pigsy, the well-fed junkyard king Trip and Monkey band together with for the game's final act, who is the subject of the game's first downloadable add-on. Set prior to Odyssey to the West, Pigsy's Perfect 10 begins with a beautiful hand-painted animation.
Our hero admits he's quite bored on his own in Pigsyland and sets off with his sidekick Truffles a sort of flying R2-D2 who communicates through emoticons. Their mission is to gather the parts necessary to build a new companion who will walk, talk and generally ward off loneliness.
Pigsy's search takes him to various corners of his trash-pile kingdom. Enslaved's gorgeous, bright-eyed take on the end of the world is dimmed somewhat beneath Pigsyland's autumnal haze, but even the rust still sings with warmth and colour.
Perfect 10 also introduces stereoscopic 3D options on both PS3 and Xbox 360, allowing players with the requisite kit to view both the DLC and the main game in a new light. Even if you have a normal TV, you can get a degree of 3D functionality courtesy of TriOviz if you have the company's INFICOLOR 3D glasses.
While Odyssey to the West focused on Monkey's platforming and hand-to-hand combat, Pigsy is not quite so athletic. He uses his grappling hook to get around, otherwise maintaining a low centre of gravity.
Grapple points are easy to spot in the game's linear chapters, which funnel and tunnel you through the warrens of twisted machinery that make up Pigsyland. Pigsy is equipped with a special night-vision style lens filter for his rather dashing monocle. This allows him to pick out items of interest such as collectable snacks and centrefolds pasted around the environment.
Monkey evidently never introduced Pigsy to his choreographer. He's no good in a fist fight and he can't run and gun his mech adversaries are too powerful and accurate with their own weapons to permit progress in the open. Pigsy's rifle, Mona, can take enemies out with a single headshot, but creating that opportunity is where most of the game's challenge lies.
Over the course of the adventure Pigsy builds up a small arsenal of gadgets to help distract and outwit the opposition. There's a Pigsy hologram for creating a diversion, an EMP device for temporarily frazzling mechs, a gizmo that turns enemies into allies for a brief period and a bomb for blowing holes in the environment or angry robots.
Sometimes it's better to avoid enemies entirely, taking advantage of Pigsy's devices, his green vision filter to observe movement patterns and the bounteous environmental cover to scamper through areas undetected.
Each chapter is split into large rooms, courtyards and clearings where you follow this formula sneaking or jimmying your way into positions suitable to engage until you reach the right door, grapple point or lever to continue. It's not all stealth and shooting thanks to some energetic cameos, including a welcome spin on the traditional platform chase sequence.
With Andy Serkis' Monkey and Lindsey Shaw's Trip yet to descend on Pigsyland, actor Richard Ridings is left to carry the story. However, it's Truffles who really makes the game.
Flapping his little wings furiously as he beams or frets, he also acts as a beacon to light the way forward, and as an audience for Pigsy's endearing observations about the world around him. The final few sections of their adventure drag on somewhat but Pigsy and Truffles are welcome companions.
Pigsy's Perfect 10 is less fun to play than it is to watch, though, and to a greater extent than its host game. Controlling your charge still feels woolly and imprecise, which is more of an issue now the onus is on stealth. After a few soft introductory encounters it becomes rare to make it through any room in the game without dying several times and having to stare at the loading screen.
Pigsy's gadgets should allow him to manoeuvre through this world elegantly but in practice this is not the case. Scoring the requisite headshots while your devices are active is fiddly, they don't always have the desired effect anyway and enemies are frustratingly good at spotting you.
There are a lot of enemies, too. Towards the end of the game the developers spam you with adversaries through convenient doorway dispensers and respawn points. By that stage, when you're not dying repeatedly you are often crouched in a corner somewhere staring at the icons for each gadget, waiting for them to recharge for another use and hoping it will happen in time.
Enslaved: Odyssey to the West was able to sustain itself through some low points and filler content thanks to its beautifully arranged platform sequences the bridge or the windmill, for instance. It was also saved by the fact progress was consistent, requiring only a light touch and a few moments' consideration to maintain.
Pigsy's Perfect 10 is fairly long and well-rounded for a downloadable add-on, but by the time the credits roll you will be glad to see the back of it. Its redeeming features are those it shares with Odyssey to the West a sweet and nicely told story, an essential humanity. However, their redemptive powers are outdone by anachronistic trial-and-error gameplay, which grinds its gears and snaps your patience once too often.
6 / 10