Even though I never wrote an official review for it, Sleeping Dogs was one of my favorite games of 2012. There are very few sandbox games outside of GTA that hit the mark of excellence that Sleeping Dogs was able to achieve; a combination of great fighting mechanics, fluid driving, and an intriguing story that delivered an overall great package. The game left me wanting more, so I was excited when I heard about the Zodiac Tournament DLC.
The DLC takes place on a remote island where a tournament of the world’s strongest fighters is taking place. Sound familiar? It should, as the game doesn’t try to hide the fact that it’s paying homage to Bruce Lee in “Enter the Dragon.” The Zodiac Tournament DLC pays homage in more than just the story. The DLC is presented as an old martial arts movie starring Wei Shin; 70’s music and all. This DLC focuses primarily on the fighting, as the island you’re on isn’t that big. There are statues hidden around the island that will unlock various fighting techniques once you collect them.
There are a few arenas to fight in; some of which you will need travel through almost an obstacle course to get to. Most of the people you fight will be the standard goons you are used to dealing with. As in the regular game, they pair up different classes of these fighters to pose a challenge. The cool thing about the arenas in the DLC is that using the environmental kills is a bit more important. In the first arena, I found that smashing an opponent’s face into a grill would trigger fire traps around the rest of the arena, burning the rest of my enemies. Another example would be stuffing enemies’ bodies into gears to stop a spike-filled ceiling from falling on you.
The DLC just isn’t about beating up goons, however. There are several fighters that will test your mastery of the game. Fighting the stronger fighters will require fast reflexes for QTE counters and knowing exactly when to land a punch. Don’t be surprised if you counter an enemy, only to be countered, and still have the opportunity to counter again. Unlike some games where certain moves just don’t work against a boss, in this game it’s all about timing. Whether to attack high, low, or counter is a matter of watching your opponent.
The DLC was fun, but I was very disappointed in how short it was; it only took me about an hour and 15 minutes to complete. The DLC is priced at $4.99, but even at that price I would hope for more content. I guess you can look at the fact that it brings you additional fighting styles, but what good is that going to do me in a game I’ve already beaten?
That being said, my only gripe is the length. If you enjoyed Sleeping Dogs you should enjoy this DLC as well. Even though it’s short, I would recommend this DLC to fans of the game. I really hope the next DLC is longer; I know I’m not the only one that needs a Sleeping Dogs fix.