Four in February: Dog Tired, Skyward Joy
Touchdown Bo Jackson’s Update
After what seemed like an eternity, I finally got around to beating Sleeping Dogs.
After recognizing that I just needed to buckle down and beat it, Sleeping Dogs wasn’t that bad. I’ll say this though: the second half of the campaign drags. The biggest problem? The massive shift from hand-to-hand combat to gunplay. If the gameplay with guns was better, it wouldn’t be a problem. For some reason, Square Enix and United Front Games made the decision to not include an auto lock-on. This really screws up firefights, as when you poke your head out to shoot someone, your reticle doesn’t immediately head to the next available target. It can get super frustrating in late game situations when you’re constantly outgunned and outnumbered, all leading to several infuriating deaths.
This could’ve been solved if they had included a feature to let you slow down time at will, but–as I mentioned in my last update–the game only lets you slow down time when you vault over a table or other item. When that option is unavailable, shoot-outs become a slog.
The plot gets pretty intense and exciting, as well. Sadly, mission structure doesn’t change up that much, and it never get as exciting or as creative as in Grand Theft Auto or Saints Row. Despite this, the missions are enjoyable and bring about high stakes. The plot takes some of the familiar beats from recent crime movies and video games but gives them their own flair. I’ll have more on the plot and characters in my review, but the endgame is really fun.
I wish there had been more time to connect with the characters, however. Wei only really gets personal with his small-time criminal friend Jackie Ma, and while Wei’s character arc is good, the game ends with us not learning a bunch about the main character. Again, I’ll go into it more in my review but the game doesn’t really allow Wei to do anything except be a really good gangster. He doesn’t show much reserve with what he’s doing as a gangster, and we don’t really see the cop part of him come out. It’s a little unsettling when you remember that this dude is supposed to be a cop, and yet he’s grinding dudes faces in with a belt sander.
Overall Sleeping Dogs is an enjoyable but derivative open-world experience. Regardless of the cons, it has it’s hooks and charms, so if you can find it cheap, pick it up.
Now onto my next game: Mega Man X2. Boy, I am getting in under the wire here, huh? Oh well, it’s not like Ian finished another game this week.
Potential Gushing and Spoilers Beyond This Large Font
The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword
Done. Did it. Finito. It took me 1.5 years after purchasing without even reaching the first dungeon until this past month, but that’s all she wrote, folks.
I have completed Skyward Sword.
No, I did not collect every piece of heart, equipment upgrade, gratitude crystal, or oddball trinket in the game. In fact, I’ve never done similar acts in any of the Zelda games. I’ve never been a massive completionist; instead, I try to explore all aspects of a game, relish all my experiences, and feel my heart pump as I near the end.
In case you’ve missed the wanton strewing of clues: I am a magnificent, unabashed geek.
The game was actually featured a roller coaster of exasperation, but many collection-heavy, puzzle-laden games pull such nonsense with me. Listed below are a couple sources of forehead veins:
- Swimming–water being a constant irk-worthy feature for Zelda fans
- Off-center Wii MotionPlus controls, leading to frequent recalibrations
- Said controller issues resulting in arrows being launched miles-wide of their intended targets, offering a momentary sigh of relief for the baddies before an involuntary sigh brought by “Arrow-in-Lung” syndyome
- Your companion Fi’s consistent punctuating of integral, dramatic moments with her percentages and blank stare
As is the way with the Zelda series, the headaches were cured by the ibuprofen that is THE REST OF THE GAME. Enjoy some rapid-fire Noteworthy Moments of Neat:
-Referencing my previous update’s NMoN, I verily enjoyed using the magic Gust Bellows, an infinite-energy leaf blower. One situation led to a room full of sand that held a mini-boss. My task was to search for a clue to a ship’s whereabouts, but Fi noted that finding one in this room was unlikely. Ignoring her advice, I went to town on that sand. Whoooooosh. Pheeeeeew. Whiiiiirrrrrrrr. That’s when Fi, with all the intonation of a pile of gravel, scolded me. I was so taken aback that I walked slowly towards the door, an aura of shame emanating from both Link and my controller.
-I had turned my sword into the True Master Sword. This weapon, an icon throughout the majority of the series, always instills a radiant sense of accomplishment within me. You know it’s going to come, but the white energy radiating from the Master Sword hits me every time.
-Discovering that Groose, the hotheaded rival from early in the game, had constructed a bomb-launching mechanism for keeping the reoccurring boss The Imprisoned at bay. A towering representation of the assumed Big Bad’s goal–the resurrection of his confined master Demise to his former glory–The Imprisoned, with conviction, attempted to reach our Sealed Temple three times. Link would’ve been royally boned, and not the way he’d always dreamed, once The Imprisoned grew arms to scale the sides and the ability to fly to…fly. Enter: Groose. Bombs away.
-The glare from Link to Ghirahim following Zelda’s capture. This precedes his determination to save his lifelong friend from being used to return The Imprisoned into his Demise form. Long story. All that’s standing between Link and success is an entire army of enemies rushing at his uphill. Cue the battle music, tightened grip, and barbaric yawps.
-The beginning, end, and everything in between.
Progress: 100%! But you already knew that. I just wanted to reiterate.
I’m still too close to Skyward Sword to determine its rank among all Zelda games. I can say with confidence that it is definitely above any of the CD-i games.
I wish I could chronicle my experience with this game from top to bottom, but this isn’t my personal blog. Were it, I would don my green tunic, fill up on stamina potion, and decimate my keyboard through furious typing.
You’re lucky this time.
I’m going to struggle with finishing Alan Wake by Thursday, but several pots of coffee and equal amounts of introversion could lead to a surprise finish. The more I dwell on this challenge, the more I realize that I may have found a different purpose besides pounding through backlogged games. That will come to light in my final update.
Everything comes to a head this Thursday at 11:59 PM. Can Touchdown Bo Jackson rock Sigma and get off the island in time? Will Meme-osa realize that shadows aren’t all that sca-OH GOD WHAT WAS THAT. Keep an eye out for the final “Four in February” installment on your favorite Hobbes Lives.