The latest story-based DLC from Sleeping Dogs sees our man, Wei Shen, returning to his humble roots as a simple beat-cop and all the tedious crimes that go with the role. Set after the events of the main story, Wei has been demoted for angering his superiors with his unconventional policing methods, and as a result he’s back in the blue, dishing out parking fines & chasing down Hong Kong’s ASBO population.
After making a couple of low-level crime busts, Wei stumbles upon a sinister bombing plot being organised by the mysterious Master Chu and his Cult of the Snake. These guys are as mad as a box of frogs and intent on causing as much chaos before the New Year, which is when they believe the world will end.
The missions see Wei tearing up & down the streets of Hong Kong in an attempt to foil each of the bomb threats that cultists has set up around the city. The storyline will last around 3-4 hours & includes a healthy mix of high speed chases, adrenaline fueled shoot-outs and the bloody Kung Fu battles that made Sleeping Dogs stand out from its open-world peers.
The storyline also takes place over the course of one night, and although this means all missions are set in darkness, it does give a great sense of urgency as Mr. Shen races against the clock to disarm bombs before the New Year celebrations come to an end.
Year of the Snake has some really excellent moments, like the high-octane boat chase & a mission which concludes when a cult extremist accidentally blows himself into chutney. Sadly the final showdown with Master Chu, doesn’t quite live up to the high standards set by the missions leading up to it. In fact, even calling it a showdown implies that something actually happens. However, that aside, this is a decent chunk of DLC & far more engaging than the previous add-ons on offer.
The DLC also introduces a couple of new moves, one of which utilises your stun-gun to daze your opponents while the other enables you to slap the cuffs on would-be criminals for a quick arrest. There are also a couple of police vehicles added to your garage and a new weapon that is a must for crowd control – The Tear Gas Launcher. This bad-boy slings gas grenades which cripple your enemies, before exploding into a cloud of noxious gas that will stun an entire group of foes.
Completing the storyline, side missions and related collectible hunt will earn you a bunch of new outfits and loot, which can be taken back into your main story, adding even more value to the purchase. There are also four new achievements up for grabs (if you’re into that sort of thing…).
All in all, The Year of the Snake feels like far greater value for money than the previous Zodiac Tournament and Nightmare in North Point DLCs. Although short in duration, it’s a quality experience that’s in-keeping with the main story, whilst providing players with an excellent reason to get back on the streets of Hong Kong.
After getting the snot kicked out of me in my first 3-on-1 brawl (it’s been a few months since I’ve played!) I quickly Googled “How to fight in Sleeping Dogs” and set off to do what Wei Shen does best. From there on, this DLC was pure enjoyment, right up to the very last roundhouse.
Sleeping Dogs Year of the Snake DLC is available for download now on Xbox 360 and PS3.
Version reviewed: Xbox 360