Have you ever had a moment in your life when something you thought was going to be awful, actually turns out to be great? It happened to me recently with Triad Wars. I’ll be the first to admit that I love Sleeping Dogs, it’s a great game and is for some reason overlooked by a lot of gamers. While Triad Wars has it’s problems, and we will definitely get to them, it has so many positive qualities that I feel like addressing them first. Right off the bat, literally the moment I started playing, the game looked great. I was worried that the game would perform terrible, which is often a problem when the game is still in its Beta stages.
So keeping in mind that the game is still in Beta, I started everything off on standard settings, and rather than watching the game stutter and die, it ran just fine. I couldn’t believe it, there wasn’t a single hitch in my frame rate, this is practically unheard of. Especially in a Beta for a game that has a sandbox as big as this the one found here.
Content with performance, I set about playing the game as an extremely generic looking bloke, and before I knew it I was hanging out the side of a car, blasting away at pursuers with some sort of rifle. The moment I shot out the tyre of a civilian bus, causing it to careen into a pursuing motorcyclist was the moment I thought, ‘Yep, this is the Sleeping Dogs world alright.’
Not long after, I was given a plot of land and told that this was where I would be forming my gang and setting up my safe house, set on the path to honourable victory as a major power to be feared by my rivals.
"Triad Wars makes it easy to feel empowered, but that feeling of power can be stripped away in an instant. When I cashed in a favour to get my hands on a pistol, I began to blow through my opponents. Literally. But when I found myself going through an enemy base with no ammo, things change pretty quickly."
To do this, I had to build, secure and conquer. So I quickly cashed in a favour to get my hands on a meat cleaver and a car. Armed thus, I drove down the road, most likely violating every road law in existence, and began my climb to dominance. Combat comes thick and heavy in Triad Wars, and is largely relegated to the “X” button, for those of you using a controller.
You dole out the usual light and heavy attacks by pressing and/or holding “X” which lets you fling kicks and punches left right and centre. You may be pleased to know that the absolutely brutal finishers return from Sleeping Dogs in Triad Wars. During a short skirmish over the rights to a lockbox, some unfortunate gang member found himself on the wrong side of a Buzz Saw, whereas his friend was nailed to a table by way of a drill.
Mission completed and loot in tow, you’re going to be introduced to the base building, which is light but effective. Base upgrades can come in the form of “Rackets” which allow you to make money by knocking-off electronics, food vendor stalls and the like. These ensure you have a steady supply of cash flowing in. The way these work is simple. You set up your racket and then go about your business in the game world. As time passes, each racket draws in cash which, upon reaching a certain limit, you can then transfer to your own account. Rinse, repeat and rise.
Triad Wars makes it easy to feel empowered, but that feeling of power can be stripped away in an instant. When I cashed in a favour to get my hands on a pistol, I began to blow through my opponents. Literally. But when I found myself going through an enemy base with no ammo, things change pretty quickly. Those three heavily muscled thugs at the end of the room seem a lot more imposing when you have an empty gun in your hands.
"This is easily the most bug free and enjoyable Beta testing period I have sat through in recent memory. Zero crashes, not a bug in sight, no glitches that propel me into the sky and not a single graphical hiccup."
It’s around this time that I found one of the game’s flaws. When you just start out, you are so damn slow. So slow in fact, that you actually feel it. Character responses feel sluggish, running doesn’t feel like running and I don’t know how many times I thrashed the counter button, but to no avail. This can be improved by upgrading your character by way of upgrade points, but it feels like more of an intentional crippling of your character.
The slow character movement can be remedied by investing points into your speed statistics, but this doesn’t really stop the character feeling so heavy. Triad Wars retains the parkour-esque movements of Sleeping Dogs, so when you slowly plod down a street and the zoom up and over a wall like David Belle himself, the speed problem is particularly jarring.
Then the second problem arose. I really, hate driving in Triad Wars. Everything sounds right, cars look fantastic and seeing the night lights of the city reflecting on your car is still awesome. But every vehicle except one handles like a shopping trolley. I know full well that the best way to take a corner is to slow, turn, accelerate. But this is a high octane game, and I expect, nay I demand to be able to ricochet my car around a corner.
Triad Wars just hits all the right buttons in all the right places, and ignoring the two minor gripes above, I honestly don’t have anything bad to say about the game. Even the small details still make a mark on what you see in the game. Have you been injured? Go buy some roast duck from a street vendor and carry it down the street, munching away before hurling it away. If you throw it away too close to someone, they look at you like a monster for littering.
The world just feels like people actually live in it. People hang out in groups outside shops, lone workers sweep the back step of their store, people realistically scatter or bounce of your bonnet if you decide to plough through an alley way.
This is easily the most bug free and enjoyable Beta testing period I have sat through in recent memory. Zero crashes, not a bug in sight, no glitches that propel me into the sky and not a single graphical hiccup. United Front Games and Square Enix, I doff my hat to you. You’re making something great here.