One of the more appealing things about Enslaved
was the beautiful environment, unique characters brought to life by dedicated voice actors and the evolving storyline. I wasn’t a particular fan of the gameplay, given how expensive upgrades were and how ridiculously monotonous it became to only face off against mechs. Pigsy’s Perfect 10, the add-on content that was released on November 16th, is - for the most part - the opposite of the game it extends.
The storyline of Pigsy’s Perfect 10 is more like a parable than the lengthier storyline told by Enslaved. Pigsy is bored and intent on finding a friend, even if that means he has to create it. In order to build this mech-friend, players must guide Pigsy through the ruined cities to seek out the necessary pieces. Most of the rest of the game becomes an expedition to find these pieces.
This was unfortunate, because a downloadable content focused primarily on Pigsy would have been the perfect opportunity to divulge more about the character and potentially explore his back-story. Perhaps Pigsy was on his own adventures, battling the mechs and attempting to establish his “paradise” while Trip and Monkey were on a path that would eventually lead them to him. Instead, Pigsy’s Perfect 10 seems more like a comic relief to the entirety of Enslaved rather than an extension of that story.
While the storyline is thematically different from the game itself, the DLC’s gameplay is also a departure from that of Enslaved’s. Pigsy plays quite differently than Monkey. Monkey - an incredibly strong and limber character - is built for melee attacks. Pigsy, on the other hand, is slow and feeble. He depends on his gun, which can double as a sniper, for defense. Because of Pigsy’s inadequacies, he relies on grappling to maneuver around the ruins. Pigsy’s Trouble Vision allows him to see points of interest such as grappling points and hidden collectibles. As you can imagine, his primary strategy for tackling mechs is also affected by these factors. Not being able to survive a one-on-one with any of these enemies, Pigsy must find high ground to shoot from, or make use of one of four of his devices that are slowly unlocked in the chapters of the DLC.
The devices are all incredibly useful and suited to the levels. You begin with a familiar device: a decoy. A holographic Pigsy will dance for the enemies while you roll your plump protagonist to the next area of cover. Eventually Pigsy will gain access to an EMP blast, a remote-controlled bomb and a temporary enemy-to-ally converter. Different moments call for different strategies and devices. This bodes well for an interesting twist in the gameplay that players have gotten accustomed to in Enslaved.
The goal in the game is to attain several objects necessary to complete Pigsy’s creation. However, Pigsy’s Perfect 10 is the sort of game that stretches this goal thin and far beyond its capacity to entertain. Ninja Theory went the route of introducing the same goal consistently by always keeping it just outside of your reach. Each time you think you are about to achieve your goal, some new obstacle arises and a cut scene takes control and your goal off with it. It’s incredibly aggravating to feel like any progress you make is actually no progress at all. It also indicates a great lack of creativity to making a new circumstance to lengthen the game as opposed to recycling the same one. Although enemy formations still vary and are therefore challenging, the storyline proves to be no form of motivator to continue to fight them.
Yet another grievance I had with the downloadable content was the controls. Pigsy’s roll into cover is not always accurate, and he is slow to go in and out of crouching. Because the character feels so sluggish, fighting the quick mech enemies feels even more so frustrating and unbalanced. Camera angles are no help, either. Although I found a similar problem in Enslaved, the DLC continues to demonstrate unhelpful camera angles to an even worse degree. Some camera angle decisions are laughable. For instance, a boss battle will even force the player to direct Pigsy to safety from the first-person perspective of the boss. Oftentimes zooming in to shoot will result in staring into the depths of the object behind Pigsy. Beyond being annoying, it is also hindering when Pigsy needs to react quickly to dangerous situations.
Towards the end of the DLC, enemies become more aggressive and attempt to run after you instead of lurking around waiting to catch you in their sights. One hit is really all the enemy needs to kill Pigsy. Pigsy can defeat them with quick thinking and some strategizing, but it is certainly a challenge. This is finally where the gameplay picks up pace and becomes more than just a sneak game. It proves that sheer force isn’t just what is needed to defeat your enemies.
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