Review – Sleeping Dogs

“You’re not a real man until you have a pork bun in hand”…So I was told on countless occasions over the weekend. So Grab yourself a pork bun and come along with me for a ride as we delve into the latest open world crime thriller “Sleeping Dogs”. In normal fashion, we will stride to avoid any major story details to allow the readers to enjoy the game as it was meant to be played.

Sleeping Dogs has something of a tumultuous past. In 2009 it started out as a game called Black Lotus and was soon after slated to be a reboot to the franchise “True Crime”. After countless delays and cost overrun, “True Crime: Hong Kong” was cancelled by Activision. Luckily for us Square Enix made a great decision and pick up the rights to the game and rebranded it Sleeping Dogs.

Sleeping Dogs draws much of its inspiration from the Grand Theft Auto series with it’s behind the shoulder perspective, open world environments and errand boy style side missions.The player takes control of undercover police officer Wei Shen a Chinese native who moves to America as a young boy and has come back to his old stomping grounds to infiltrate the Triad Organization called the Sun On Yee. During Wei’s story, the player will participate in a variety of missions from the mundane car thefts to balls to the walls action chase scenes lifted right out of the best action movies.

As Wei performs his tasks, he’ll be walking the fine line between his loyalty to his profession and his crime family. This is where the RPG element comes into play. After completing tasks, Wei is awarded Triad, Police and Face XP depending on how well he executes his missions. Triad XP is awarded for how violent he is, Police is for how by the book he is and Face is just his overall general reputation that affects how some people will interact with him. Once he levels up in a certain specialty, the user picks new abilities to give Wei. My personal favorite is being able to jump an obstacle and disarming someone then using their weapons against them

Some missions actually require Wei’s ability to talk his way into locales or out of situations. These were the moments I felt the game really missed out on an important RPG element as the player is not tasked with picking the right response rather they’re tasked with hitting the “Y” button quickly. That’s it! They didn’t even change the button up. It was always the “Y” button. So much for having a silver tongue – They really could have had some fun with this.

One of the big things that I always hated about GTA and other games of that ilk was the driving mechanics. I had always dreaded those missions that involved me racing away from the cops or the other bad guys because I hated the way the cars felt and the shooting mechanics were crappy. “Sleeping Dogs” delivered a fun and exhilarating to the point that I was continually hoping for more. Shooting the tires and watching the cars roll over in spectacular fashion was more than a little satisfying – especially when the other cars behind them crashed into the fiery wreck as well.
The errand boy side missions can be a little too much at times. I tend to get bored with them and admittedly stopped paying much attention to them after a while due to boredom and wanting to continue the story to see where things went.

The fight mechanics felt refined and tight. I could see where the inspiration came from the Arkham Asylum and City games with the free flow fighting but I also quite enjoyed them in Sleeping Dogs. Through the use of environments, Wei can dispatch his enemies quickly and violently. He can also use some sweet hand to hand combat moves. All of these moves can be performed with a liquid like fluidity that just felt more natural than what I experienced in other titles.

The sound in Sleeping Dogs was spectacular. The bustling sounds of Hong Kong and the well placed voice acting cast made Sleeping Dogs sound just like a triple A title should.

Graphically, Sleeping Dogs looks very good. Some animations did look a little screwy during the cinematic sequences but the city looks incredible. My buddy who happened to stop in on the way through town was actually quite impressed with just how close the environments looked to their real life counterparts in Hong Kong.

Overall I would say that Sleeping Dogs was a fantastic title. Awesome story coupled with great voice acting, fast exciting gunplay and drive chases kept me glued to my couch. We’ve all played this game before from other companies but Sleeping Dogs manages to bring something special to the table. This is the way you launch a new franchise. Well done United Front. If you’re on the fence about wether or not to give “Sleeping Dogs” a go, get off it right now. This game is worth your money and time.

Pros

  • Action Driving scenes
  • Great story told by great voice actors
  • Beautiful environments
  • Varied Main quest missions

Cons

  • Speech challenges could have been more interesting as opposed to pressing a button.
  • Side quests are stale – something we’ve all come to expect from this sort of game

Feed Your Console gives Sleeping Dogs a solid 9 out of 10

Assassin’s Creed III AnvilNext Trailer

The team over at Ubisoft releases a new trailer for Assassin’s Creed 3 yesterday showing the power behind AnvilNext – a new gaming engine from ubisoft. AnvilNext’s power boast support for up to 2,000 NPC characters in a single sequence (pretty amazing if you ask me) and dynamic weather conditions staying true to all the seasons experienced in North America’s frontier.

These screens look crisp, clean and smooth in the video, and a show a number of fantastic looking environments to explore. This clip also gives a sneak peak into the Pre-order bonuses for AC3 (via Gamestop) that include:

  • Single player Mission: The Lost Mayan Ruins
  • Unlockable Weapon: Sawtooth Sword

Can wait to see this game in action.

Review – Max Payne 3

It’s been 9 long years since we last saw Max, he’s now a retired NYPD officer with a real sweet tooth for alcoholism and pain killers. His life begins to take a bit of a turn when he gets into an altercation with the local Mob Boss’ son. During the Altercation, a guy by the name of Passos, who was trying to recruit Max to join him as a wealthy families personal security in Brazil. Without going into too much detail so as to not spoil the game, Max eventually goes to Brazil where he’s thrust into a web of conspiracy between two warring underground factions.

The game plays out just like previous titles in a 3rd person perspective with a heavy emphasis of using cover for protection, which slows the action down considerably and I feel, takes a little of the thrill away from running into a room guns blazing while using bullet time. Peppered throughout the levels, Max finds painkillers to help alleviate any discomfort he has from being shot at. One of the new features  is called “Last Man Standing” which basically allows Max a small window of time to kill the son of a bitch you last put a bullet into him to keep alive. One thing to note is that” Last Man Standing” only works if you have painkillers on hand.

Previous games int he Max Payne series told the story through a series of comic book panels and voice overs whereas Max Payne 3 has a more cinematic feel this time around, which, help to bring the gamer into Max’s world and actually care about what happens to him. That brings me to to the graphics – WOW! This game looks beautiful – RockStar’s own Rage engine is an incredible piece of technology that absolutely captures the beauty of Brazil and the grit of the underground you almost forget that this is a game. I’m extremely excited to see where this tech goes as it matures. From the claustrophobic confines of a burning office building, a luxury Yacht,  to the dirty grimy Favellas and everything in between, the levels feel fresh and varied.

The gunfights in May Payne 3 don’t feel so cookie cutter like most games out there. Each faction actually exhibits a different style of gun play making each fight feel just different enough to keep the player from getting bored or being able to predict what the bad guys will do next.

The multiplayer games in MP3 is Rockstars first real implementation or a true multiplayer experience. The standard Deathmatch and TDM types are there but they feel more distinct that other titles through the use of  an adrenaline gauge that’s built up over the course of a match from killing other players or looting their dead bodies for cash to buy  weapons and weapon upgrades. Admittedly I’ve not had too much time to play online but I will say that I loved my limited time with Payne Killer and the Gang Wars modes. Payne Killer has 2 players controlling Max and his partner Passos in a king of the hill style game.

Gang Wars on the other hand is a different beast all together. Max narrates a story that spans across 4 game types pitting rival factions against each other in turf fights or as they deliver packages to a designated location on the map. No matter how the previous levels turn out, there’s still a chance for the losing team to come out on top during the final round in a winner-take-all team deathmatch where the scores from the previous carry over.

I found this kick at the can to be the most fulfilling game in the Max Payne series. It feels like Max has finished everything he needs to do and can finally retire with some piece of mind and not so many personal demons. As much as I’ve enjoyed all the Max Payne games, I’d be content with Rockstar  letting this cowboy to ride off into the sunset and retiring for some old fashioned R&R for good or relaunching him in a new manner with a new set of stories.

Pros
– Graphics are simply stunning
– Multiplayer is tense and familiar but different enough to make it stand out from the rest
– Games narrative feels more like a movie forcing the player to care about Max
– The game had a fulfilling finale feel to it.

Cons
– A little too much emphasis on cover style gun play slows the action down

Feed Your C0nsole gives Max Payne 3 an 8.5 out of 10

Transformers: Fall of Cybertron Metroplex Trailer

The latest trailer for Transformers: Fall of Cybertron features Superbot Metroplex answering the call of the last Prime.

Other good news accompanies this trailer – MORE footage of the Dimobots and an EARLY (yes I said Early) release days of 8/21 in North America and 8/24 in the EU.

Ghost Recon Future Soldier Tech Trailer

With the launch of Ghost Recon Ubisoft has released the latest Tech Trailer showing the gadgets and advanced technology at the disposal of the Ghost special Ops Team.

Ubisoft also announced two companion games; on Facebook Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Commander, where players will be able to unlock exclusive weapons, weapon skins and bonuses to use while playing Ghost Recon: Future Soldier and a mobile application the Ghost Recon Network site for iOS & Android devices are now available.

See you on the battle field.

Also while you’re watching video’s take the time to review the Live action short film Ghost Recon Alpha.

Ghost Recon Future Soldier available now!

Silent Hunter Online Announced

Ubisoft just announced the upcoming beta for their long running submarine series Silent Hunter. This will be a new browser-based multiplayer game inspired by the original series only evolved into a new multi-player environment.

Dive into history and take the battle under the Atlantic as you command a submarine and influence the tide of marine warfare. Play the loner or team up with your friends and build your own Woflpack to jointly protect caravans or launch strategies attacked against your enemies.

“This is the most innovative Silent Hunter experience ever created and we can’t wait to let our fans dive into the game,” said Christopher Schmitz, Head of Production at Ubisoft Blue Byte.

Players can get early access to the game by visiting www.silenthunteronline.com and applying to be part of the closed beta.

More images:

Armies of Magic Beta

Disney Interactive’s Playdom recently launched of Armies of Magic on Facebook. A new side scrolling fantasy game where your chosen character, after centuries of peace, must lead your people in a new war against the rising Goblin menace.

Build your city, and manage the necessary resources to equip and train warriors and advance your armies technology.

ABOUT THE GAME

  • Players will choose to lead the Humans, Elves, or Dwarves by building a powerful city and training an army
  • Armies of Magic will launch with a unique narrative storyline for each race
  • Players can directly challenge their friends to battle and compete for rewards

Armies of Magic also features a fully customizable fantasy-themed city building, exclusive story content, limited edition buildings, as well as a cooperative game play experience.

Diablo III Launch party details

On the night of May 14, retail locations around the globe will be opening their doors to gamers eager to get their hands on, Blizzard’s mega series, Diablo III. Lucky gamers in; the USA, UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Poland, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, and Taiwan will be among the first to lock horns with the Lord of Terror. I noticed Canada is missing from the list so no official events here

If you are lucky enough to be nearby on of these launch parties keep your eyes peeled as members of the development teams are scheduled to be on site for autograph and photo opportunities. Also be aware of all the giveaways that are scheduled to happen including; a selection of Diablo-related video footage and exclusive Diablo III-themed prizes, such as laser-etched desktop PCs from Intel (prizes may vary by location).

Find a location near you, Send us Photos and feedback if you get to one of these official events!

For those WOW players that are looking for a change of pace by playing Diablo III, for FREE, are encouraged to join the World of Warcraft Annual Pass.* Did you see the part where I said FOR FREE!!! Through this promotion, with a 1-year commitment to World of Warcraft, players will receive a free digital copy of Diablo III — which they’ll be able to start playing immediately on May 15 — as well as an exclusive World of Warcraft in-game mount and access to the World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria beta test. This offer will no longer be available as of 12:01 a.m. PDT on May 1. Learn more at http://www.worldofwarcraft.com/annualpass

* Some restrictions may apply

Rock Out With Pearl Jam

I’m a huge Pearl Jam fan and I’ve been waiting for the chance to pick up my guitar and learn the songs of my teenage years.

Ubisoft just released the tracks Black and Jeremy for RockSmith. This is a must have for Pearl Jam Fans.

I’ll soon be checking “Learn Pearl Jam Songs on Guitar” off the bucket list.