January 24, 2013

Sleeping Dogs – First 30 Minutes (Part 2)

This post is a direct continuation of an earlier blog. You can check out Part 1 here.

So after horribly maiming about 10 guys with Wei Shen’s supercop fighting skills, Jackie takes Wei to meet Winston Chu, leader of the Water Street Gang that Jackie is part of. Winston is a typical muscle-bound, foul-mouthed thug and needs help holding his territory down from Dogeyes, who leads the same rival faction that ambushed Wei Shen and Jackie in the market. So after being told by Winston to take Wei out and extort some shop-owners in the marketplace, the second-in-command attempts to beat up Wei as a harsh welcome into the gang. But of course, Wei is a supercop and the thugs have no success. Winston comes out and sees what you’re up to, and after cussing out his boy he tells Jackie and Wei to go out and do the extortion job.

This marks the beginning of my first in-game mission. I go out to different shops and bully the vendors into paying protection in Winston’s name. Once or twice, the vendors tried to resist by sending some of Dogeyes’s men, but they all ended up with their heads bashed into a payphone booth. After completing the mission, I am introduced to the leveling system. The game rewards you on how well you perform certain actions. Hurting enemies, performing various combos and environmental attacks earn you Triad experience, while making sure not to injure civilians or… climb over tables sloppily earns you Cop experience. After leveling up in one of these paths, you earn a skill point in that specific skill tree. Leveling up Triad experience gives you perks in-battle, such as increased damage, resistance and so forth. Leveling up Cop experience gives you upgrades like improved use of firearms.

So I make it back to Winston, who tells Wei to go after a guy named Ming who’s been refusing to pay his dues. So I find Ming, who puts through a 30-second chase throughout Hong Kong’s streets, leaping over shop counters and climbing vending machines. In the end, we have a showdown on a rooftop where I’m outnumbered about 7-1. But Wei is basically death incarnate, and of course kills all of the goons except for Ming. The cops find and arrest Wei as he’s throwing Ming into a neon sign, but Wei is quickly bailed by his undercover-cop superiors and free to do as he pleases.

Now, I’m introduced to the free-roam aspect of the game. There are parking garages all over the map that Wei can use to pick up any vehicles he owns. I can drive all over Hong Kong in a motorcycle, a convertible, or even a pedo-van. So quickly this game turns into Grand Theft Auto and I find myself running over civilians on accident and being chased all around the island by the cops for 5 minutes. There are more missions across the map that you can access by going to certain points to initiate the mission. The map isn’t big like GTA, but it isn’t small like other free-roam games such as Mafia.

And here ends my first experience with Sleeping Dogs. I barely even scraped the surface of a few of the features of the game, such as vehicle races, gunfights, customizable outfits, and fight clubs. This game is packed full of content, and it doesn’t seem to get stale. Sleeping Dogs, while I’ve yet to complete it, has already burned a place into my heart as a masterpiece, despite the brutality and frequent f-bombings.

Image Credit: Square Enix

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