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Sleeping Dogs’ DLC ‘Street Racer Pack’ arrives next week

Sleeping Dogs Race Start

Last month we brought you a brief overview of the downloadable additions coming to United Front Games’ Hong Kong action movie simulator Sleeping Dogs during the month of October. It being the 11t, we were growing a bit anxious over when this stuff would finally show up, but then this morning publisher Square Enix revealed that the upcoming “Street Racer Pack” would debut for the game’s PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PC iterations on October 16. Regardless of platform, picking up this DLC offering will set you back about $4.

As for what your money will get you, that title should be a pretty big hint. This particular DLC offering is focused on the game’s racing elements, which while optional side missions in Sleeping Dogs were pretty entertaining. In an effort to boost the appeal of these diversions, the Street Racer Pack adds a new superbike, dubbed “Sting” that features “incredible acceleration and handling,” as well as a new racing jacket and helmet. Though these new clothes are labeled “Dragon,” they have nothing to do with the yellow jumpsuit homage to Bruce Lee found natively in Sleeping Dogs; instead they provide extra protection against both gunfire and car crashes.

As for new races, the Street Racer Pack has three on offer. The first, “Kamikaze,” is as described as a race “up and down the winding tracks of the city’s Victoria Peak.” Whether that suggests multiple routes, multiple races or simply one long relay-style race remains to be seen. The second race, “Cross Island Enduro,” is, as its name suggests, an endurance race where players are tasked with navigating a motorcycle from one end of Sleeping Dog’s fictionalized island of Hong Kong to the other as fast as possible. The final race, “Harbor Run,” throws a bit of variety into the mix, as instead of cars or bikes players are tasked with racing speedboats. As producer Dan Sochan points out, Harbor Run marks the first aquatic race in Sleeping Dogs to date. Intriguingly, Sochan did not say that this was the only boat race planned for the title.

As for the rest of the DLC we mentioned in September, there’s so far no word on when we might expect to see it appear. Given that there’s only about 20 days left in October, and United Front Games promised that the SWAT Pack, Tactical Soldier Pack and Community Gift Pack would appear this month, we’re hoping the studio gets a move on. Especially since we’ve so far failed to mention the firm’s other promise: That it would reveal the first story-expanding DLC addition for Sleeping Dogs during the 2012 New York Comic Con, an event which started this morning, and is scheduled to run through October 14. Hopefully whenever United Front Games gets around to detailing that addition, the company will also outline the next few weeks of Sleeping Dogs’ DLC road map. We’ll keep you updated as information appears.

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Earnest Cavalli
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Earnest Cavalli has been writing about games, tech and digital culture since 2005 for outlets including Wired, Joystiq…
GDC 2012: We get our hands on (and bloody) with the Hong Kong crime epic, Sleeping Dogs

At first glance, Square Enix’s Sleeping Dogs, looks an awful lot like Grand Theft Auto: Hong Kong. On second glance too. And third and fourth for that matter. But there really is more to it than that. And besides, there is a reason that the Grand Theft Auto style of sandbox world games have been so well received--they are generally awesome.
That was our impression when we saw the game in action a few weeks back, and after getting the chance to go hands on with it at GDC, that opinion hasn’t really changed, but it has evolved.
Sleeping Dogs, which began its life as the doomed True Crime: Hong Kong before Square Enix stepped in to rescue and re-brand it, is very much a GTA-type game, but it has its own soul. The game is all about the atmosphere and setting. You’ve seen the criminal open world setting, but rarely have you seen a game that feels quite like this.
Set in the Hong Kong underworld, the game is an homage to the classic Hong Kong action flicks like Infernal Affairs (which later begat The Oscar–winning film, The Departed), as well as the early John Woo films before he came to America and was lost in translation. There is a seedy feeling to the world that exists around the game’s protagonist, Wei Shen, an undercover cop. There will be a few light hearted moments, but the game doesn't rely on humor in the same way that the GTA games do.  
After spending years in San Francisco, Wei Shen returns and integrates himself into the Hong Kong crime scene thanks to his childhood friend, who has no idea that Wei is working for the police--which is understandable, since many of the missions have you committing actions that are illegal, immoral, and often despicable.
In the demo that developers United Front Games and Square Enix London Studios were showing off, Wei is given a job by a local, low-level thug that needs to send a message to a guy that hadn’t paid up.

After a quick stroll through a bustling section of Hong Kong, the target sees Wei and takes off running, leading to a parkour-like chase through the streets. The running mechanics are fairly simple, and as long as you remain on the course the game wants you on, and press the right button at the right time, you can make Wei scale fences, slide over and under obstacles, and climb up to higher areas. It isn’t groundbreaking, but it is fun, and the presentation sells it in a way that makes you feel like you are playing a movie.
The chase is interrupted by two fights, the first is over quickly thanks to a solid combat system that is fast and brutal. The second was the climax of the demo, as Wei faces off against several enemies at once.
The combat is similar to that of the Batman Arkham games. You have your attack commands, but the most useful button is the parry, which quickly turns an enemy strike into a devastating counter. It is familiar, but in a good way.
There is also a grapple feature that allows you to pummel the enemy by hand or to use the environment. During each fight you will notice objects that give off a feint red glow. You can use these to your advantage. Simply grab the enemy, head to the object, then hit the grapple button again. There are a huge assortment of objects, each with an accompanying animation. Some of the objects shown in the demo included a trash can that you could toss an enemy in, a railing that you could smash heads on, and industrial ventilation fans that you could use to make a mess of things. Even in the most brutal fights, even while getting pummeled, it is hard not to want to try out all the environmental objects nearby.
After a quick boss-like fight that ended with a well-timed counter, the demo jumped to the second mechanic being displayed, the driving.
In the scene shown, Wei had moved up in the world. He arrives in a flashy sports car with two scantily clad women, then he challenges a local street racer to a high stakes race through the streets of Hong Kong.
The driving mechanics are arcade-like and easy to pick up, just as they are in the GTA games. The race being shown pitted Wei against six others, as you cut in and out of Hong Kong traffic, following red markers and barricades pointing the direction you needed to go. Using drifting to your advantage is a necessary part of the racing, as you cut around sharp turns and use rivals to stop your momentum.
The course was surprisingly easy to follow. Whether this was just this particular race or the design of the city, we’ll have to wait and see, but the driving mechanics were easy to pick up and use. This is going to be a big part of the game too, and a lot of action—including shootouts and mid-freeway car jackings--will be part of the game.
Sleeping Dogs will be familiar to anyone that has played a GTA game before, but there is more to it than that. The setting and the tone are darker than most GTA games, and the world of the Hong Kong underground is compelling and immersive. It is also flashy and seductive, and what was shown played out more like a movie than a game.
There is no official released ate yet other than 2012, but Sleeping Dogs has earned a place among our most anticipated titles of the year.

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Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is out now and it contains a wealth of Easter eggs for video fans to obsess over. It's full of references to Spidey's history, from his comic books to cartoons and beyond. The animated sequel even includes some nods to the franchise's video game history, leading to one of its best (and most obscure) references: Spider-Man for the Atari 2600.

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