Review | Sleeping Dogs: Year of the Snake DLC
United Front Games bids farewell to the hit that brought them to the console big leagues, Sleeping Dogs, with Year of the Snake, a DLC pack that’s a bit hit, and a bit miss. Year of the Snake is a bit of oddity. The two previous mission packs – Nightmare in Northpoint and The Zodiac […]
United Front Games bids farewell to the hit that brought them to the console big leagues, Sleeping Dogs, with Year of the Snake, a DLC pack that’s a bit hit, and a bit miss.
Year of the Snake is a bit of oddity. The two previous mission packs – Nightmare in Northpoint and The Zodiac Tournament – were tongue-in-cheek tributes to staples of Asian cinema, but YOTS is the first to discard a funny theme and instead focus on Wei Shen’s journey after the main campaign. It serves as something of an epilogue, but fails to do anything more than show ol’ Shenny doing cop-related stuff.
So as the an Armageddon-obsessed cult ignites Hong Kong in a wave of attacks on the eve of the Chinese New Year, Shen is thrown back into officer duty in attempt to bring those death-loving wrong ‘uns to justice. It starts off really well, with our anti-hero demoted to patrol duty – soon throwing baddies into buzz saws makes way for the fun parking tickets and the like. It’s a cute little curve ball for such an emotionally driven character, but as the missions open up, any sense of story is soon forgotten.
The gameplay is by far the most action-packed of any Sleeping Dogs DLC pack so far, and serves as a whistle-stop tour of the games many high (and low) lights. You’ll be gunning down cars in slow-mo glory, beating up copious numbers of hoodlums and yes, you can defuse bombs with those four-digit mini-games. The missions where you need to race through the city to the nearest waters edge to sink of bomb-rigged car are a particular highlight and do something a little different with the world at hand.
Enter the Copper
To mix things up a little, United Front Games have introduced a few new gameplay mechanics. As you’re a proper boy in blue now, you can now Taser criminals during a grapple to take them out of a fight for a few moments – giving you some precious seconds to deal with the rest. You can also arrest a thug if their health is low enough or fling them into a nearby pig wagon. And with a meaty baton to hand and the ever-reliable police 4×4 (now in black trim, don’t you know), you suddenly feel like a proper copper on the beat.
YOTS offers a good three+ hours of content (and you’ll never good bored of any of the many activities on offer) but as a fond fare well, it feels more like an abrupt anti-climax. And, as with many of the previous DLC packs for this game, United Front Games has struggled to properly integrate this additional content into the main experience. Like Nightmare in Northpoint, YOTS is set in separate game state to the main story (with extra content for your main game save unlocked as you progress). As such, none of your combat upgrades or Face Metre oomph are present, so the whole thing feels a little muted at times.
The IR Verdict
That’s not to say that Year of the Snake doesn’t rock, because it really does. If you enjoyed the main game, you’ll finally be able to continue your experience with some additional content that’s both substantial and genuinely progressive within the constraints of the game world. And, as an added bonus, since you’re a cop, you can run around and run people over and beat the living hell out of them to your heart’s content. Police brutality, indeed.
It all ends a little abruptly and shows the story was kind of forgotten in production, but the star of the show is the addictive gameplay and any chance to return to United Front Games’ charming depiction of an Asian metropolis is one worth taking.
The Year of the Snake DLC for Sleeping Dogs will set you back a measly 560 MS points or £4.49 on PlayStation 3. Need more convincing? Check out our review for the main game right here.