Friday, August 24, 2012

Some Fairly Early Sleeping Dogs Impressions

People who follow my Twitter or at least give a little looksee to the Twitter widget on the side know that I had quite an adventure today in actually getting to the point where I can play Sleeping Dogs, which I haven't played prior to today, despite buying it on release day.  And by quite an adventure, I mean I popped the game in when it was an appropriate temperature in my room, what with still being in a goddamned heat wave, and expected to play the game.  I was incorrect in thinking this, as a 348 MB patch awaited me.  In the near two hour download of that (And people wonder why I insist on saying I hate the thought of a digital future) I busied myself with Twitter and catching up on some Treasures of Montezuma Blitz which I have sorely overlooked in favor of simply binging incessantly on Youtube videos since, despite my misgivings, the App appears to offer -most- of the videos I want to watch, it's just an issue of getting to all of them without the aid of descriptions or playlists or anything of the sort that is there to assist you in this process on PC.

Anyways, the point in pointing all of this out is that by the time I actually got to the point where I can play the game two hours later with the update and game installed when it was much hotter in my room than previously, forcing me to throw caution to the wind, I was not a happy fellow.  I was grumpy, indeed, and I had a very real fear of Sleeping Dogs not being able to remove this from me, so that I may enjoy the game.  I thought it would be the ultimate annoyance; here was this game that I had yearned for, pined for, been so excited for for as long as I have, and everything would conspire against me to ensure that my experience with the game would be an ultimately negative one.  Really, I just thought that, after everything, after how grumpy, annoyed and such I was by the point I made it to the point where I could play Sleeping Dogs, I wouldn't enjoy it.

I was very, very wrong, thankfully.

Sleeping Dogs' intro is not the greatest intro, but I say that because I had to wonder if this was possibly the greatest.  It is a very good intro, certainly, which is why I went to that extreme first, but I am confident that it's not the greatest simply because the intro does not wholly involve the greatest part of the game itself which is, clearly, the combat.  It is there after a chase scene and after laying the ground works for this genuinely being a crime drama story, but I consider that like the first chapter or so if this were a book, not the prologue.  It is highly enjoyable nonetheless and as it opens up more and more, the game leaves you more and more to be happy about, even though you understand completely that you're being fed things at a deliberate pace, at least, the instructions for tools that you already have and can use regardless of your story progress.  Your basic tools for melee, the attacking and countering, are given to you exactly when you need them, and to be honest, that's all you really -need- for the most part, though I look forward to seeing the intricacies the game ends up delving into.

Something that I learned before I was told was that every car, and it has to be a car as the motorcycles lack the pure bulk to do so, has the ability to ram other cars with a push of the square button and a direction, provided you're going at a distant speed and have not, in fact, -just- rammed someone already.  Without that knowledge, pushing square was simply an exercise in confusion as, suddenly, my vehicle went this way for reasons unbeknownst to me, for values that I didn't comprehend.  I tried to use it as a navigation assistant, a quick-shift to move -away- from obstacles and other cars with limited success - it seems I will simply have to get better at drifting, as the game enjoys putting you behind the wheel of a car, and I shudder to think of car chases where I cannot figure out how to move properly in them.  As a method to move -into- cars, with destructive intent, the ramming action works just as intended and is quite enjoyable for that; allowing you to make rather short work of anything that just so happens to be in your vicinity.

Another thing that I stumbled on just prior to being informed of, is the fact that some cars allow you to pull a tire iron from their trunk for whatever mayhem you could think of doing with a tire iron.  It proved quite useful in my adventures as you might imagine, but the funny part is how I was told about this little tidbit.  You see, the game has side missions in the form of 'Favors' that you do for seemingly random people (though the tasks themselves are not randomized, I'm sure) and one such man asked me to help him get back at a rather rude racer.  He tells me that in a race his opponent knocked him off track at the last moment simply to win, and he was not standing for that, so if I was gracious enough he told me that he would enjoy hearing that the man's car was found a little roughed up.  I rushed to the nearest parked car, grabbed a tire iron from the trunk and hopped in, driving to the designated spot where the game prompted me to get out, ready to take the business to this rather bright yellow vehicle.  The game then tasked me with retrieving the tire iron from the trunk of said race car.

The awkwardness of the scenario was palpable as I considered the turn of events, possibly more than the game itself had done.  Here I stood with the very instrument the game desired I acquire, albeit from a different vehicle, yet it seemed to insist that the one in the trunk of the target car was the one I wanted, perhaps a better one.  Or perhaps it was simply a matter of it being the tire iron that had been in the car itself.  Or, even more possible, I was simply making a deal out of something that didn't matter because the scenario was funny in my head.  Dutifully, I dropped the tire iron I had and moved to retrieve the other, this better one, so that I could begin my work.  And it was good.  Part-way through the owner of the car came by and we had a little fun.  Or rather, I had fun, as I doubt he was too pleased with getting his face slammed into the hood of his own vehicle.  Repeatedly.

I ended my journey in Sleeping Dogs today simply running around and enjoying the aspects of the open world as you are wont to do in open world games.  I partook in a little reckless driving, explored environmental attacks by breaking random women over the backs of benches in a rather grisly fashion, and tried, unsuccessfully, to acquire a handgun from the local police and retain it, simply to have a piece to walk around with.  As my time holding a firearm was short, I didn't explore the shooting mechanics, but in a sense I find that liberating.  I'm missions, plural, into the game and not once has it tasked me with firing a gun, even though the mechanic is there.  There had not even been a scenario where I could in all good faith -have- a gun, which is equally tantalizing.  All I really wanted from Sleeping Dogs was an Open World game that focused on melee, on having -good- melee, and I should say that it has done well enough on that front.  Delicious.

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