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DLC Done Right: Sleeping Dogs

Posted on March 13, 2013 10:10 AM by Rob Williams
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Right off the bat, this post is going to be a little biased. I didn’t have a hand in making Sleeping Dogs (or else it would have been horrible), but I’ve become a little bit of a fanboi since its release. I’d like to think it’s with good reason, however. It’s not uncommon for me to love a game that most others just “like”, but Sleeping Dogs drew me in like only a handful of games have been able to.

As I mentioned in our review of the game, Sleeping Dogs offers a rich open-world that’s quite believable – and as such, the game is crazy immersive (let’s ignore the driving physics for a moment). The story is good, and so is the gameplay. I loved the fact that the game focused more on hand-to-hand combat than gun combat – a total rarity. Despite being classified by many as the “Hong Kong Grand Theft Auto“, I found Sleeping Dogs brought a lot to the table that was unique, so overall the entire experience felt fresh.

Sleeping Dogs Year of the Snake 01

It’s no surprise, then, that despite having spent about 40 hours completing most everything the game had to offer, I desired more content. This became one of the rare games where I felt like it deserved DLC. The game itself, for its original price, more than delivered what I would have expected for that price, so I had no qualm about buying the DLC as long as it was worth it. Sid Meier’s┬áCivilization┬áV is an example of a fantastic game that had DLC which I considered to be mostly a rip-off. I hoped I wouldn’t feel the same about Sleeping Dogs.

I sure haven’t. Admittedly, there is a ridiculous amount of DLC for the game at this point in time (and three packs that shouldn’t exist in my opinion, offering “boosts” to your character’s progress), and at its full price, it’s going to be considered a rip-off for most people. However, as we’ve come to expect from Steam, both the game and its DLC go on sale often – in fact, it was on sale just the other day, and that’s when I decided to purchase most of the DLC I missed out on.

What I discovered with this DLC was that I had been missing out on a lot of content. For Sleeping Dogs, it seemed United Front Games stuck to a four-tier system, where the first tier consists of packs that include new weapons, outfits and / or vehicles. The second tier has the same, but also a mission or two. Tier three again ups the ante by adding substantial missions with their own dialogue and quest line. Finally, tier four adds everything mentioned before, but an entirely new area – and 5+ hours worth of gameplay.

Sleeping Dogs Year of the Snake 03

Even if you did pay full-price for this DLC as it was rolled-out, or at least the DLC you had interest in, I am confident that you wouldn’t have felt ripped-off. A couple of weeks ago, I paid $4 for the Wheels of Fury DLC, and ended up playing for hours with it, and I’m still not done all of the missions available to me. Recently, I tried out the tier three Zodiac Tournament, which expanded on the temple area, gave new achievements and items to find, and is a real good challenge (I still haven’t beaten it).

From a value perspective, I’ve found Sleeping Dogs to deliver the way I’d hope it would. Because I had most everything accomplished in the base game, I took a couple of months break from the game, but after acquiring the new DLC, I’ve put in another 11 hours in and have barely touched any of it.

Another game that strikes me as offering a great value for your dollar with its DLC is Borderlands – I am not talking so much about the sequel because I’ve unfortunately not played the DLC there (yes, I am ashamed). In the original, however, $15 got you a major new area, and at least 8 hours of gameplay. If you want a great example of “worth it” DLC at the $15 range, look no further than The Secret Armory of General Knoxx.

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So, I don’t expect everyone to agree with me here. I know many hate DLC and everything about it. But for me, especially with a game like Sleeping Dogs, I am glad it’s existed. If I didn’t feel like I got my money’s worth from the game itself, I’d feel completely different, and there have definitely been those games where that’s been the case. Then there are others where I wish there was more DLC available (I’m looking at you, Deus Ex: Human Revolution).

I’d love to hear your thoughts on things. Has there been any game that you’ve found the DLC to be very worth it? And by contrast, have there been games you’ve been a big fan of but found its DLC to be a major rip-off?

Before I sign-off, I have to link to a piece of DLC that I’d consider to be “ridiculous”, even though I’ve never played the game and don’t have a clue what it includes. It’s the “Onslaught Gold Pack” for Blacklight: Retribution. The cost of this DLC for this “free to play” game? Only a cool $100 - or twice a brand-new PC game.


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