Tuesday, December 18, 2012

This is your side of town, this is mine

Sleeping Dogs allows the player to wander around its whole world from the outset. It is even kind enough to give you a motorcycle so you don't need to steal someone else's ride. The city isn't overly large when compared to other sandbox games, but it makes up for the lake of square mileage with density. Every street corner has a unique landmark, modeled with originality and care. This isn't the sharpest looking game but it wrings every little bit it can out of its engine. Once I remembered to drive on the opposite side of the road simple wandering around town, picking fights with opposing gangs and grabbing health pick ups was a pleasure.

Just because you can go everywhere doesn't necessarily mean you should. I found this out the hard way when I rolled up on a bunch of dudes camped out in the sewers. Up to that point I had taken care of all my disputes with my fists. Those bastards skipped that hand to hand nonsense and shot me to death. The fact that I hadn't even seen a tutorial on the shooting controls yet made it clear that I should not have been there yet. This leads to my only complaint about the game so far: how in handles death. Sleeping Dogs punishes you for dying the same way Grand Theft Auto does: you wake up in the hospital fully healed, significantly poorer, and nowhere near where you left off. It's the relocation that bothers me. Some of the sub-missions are in remote places and dying will consume several minutes just driving back to where I left off. Take the money, just don't waste my time.

I have a notoriously short attention span for Grand Theft Auto games. There is no good reason why; I played Saboteur and Just Cause 2 out to completion and they are basically all the same game. Perhaps the difference is not the game but who I have been charged with playing. In those two games, and in Sleeping Dogs, I am the hero. Flawed, perhaps, but I play the good guy. Being the good guy means that I take a little more care to not run down pedestrians and flee from the police instead of starting running gun battles. GTA is so devoid of these purer motivations that I went from doing missions to seeing how many police I could get to chase me at once to getting bored and turning it off. The main character is a scum bag so I acted the part.

There is just a bit of snow on the ground and I am considering using that as a way to skip out on going to the climbing gym tonight. Sleeping Dogs is a powerful motivator.

No comments:

Post a Comment