This article was originally published at Another-Castle.com
An open look at the closed beta
Triad Wars is the upcoming follow-up to the surprise 2012 critical and commercial hit Sleeping Dogs. The use of follow-up rather than sequel is deliberate as Triad Wars, while set in the same universe and having familiar gameplay design, is not an story-driver open-world game. Another Castle was given access to the closed beta and I’m here to give my impressions. Please bear in mind that this is based off a closed beta and much of the game appeared to have been unavailable.
Firstly, if you were a fan of the unique blend of martial arts, shooting and open-world driving in Sleeping Dogs then my initial experience with Triad Wars has plenty of this. Where it differs is in the deliberate lack of story and inclusion of multiple MMO style features. The beta includes a small section of the Sleeping Dogs vision of Hong Kong that will be familiar to all who played that title.
The beta begins by allowing you to create a character and choose a Triad which have different criminal specialties – I chose the 49’ERs. The character customization process is quite simple and once in game there is plenty of clothing available at different stores to purchase. There is a brief tutorial which goes through the basics and introduces (or perhaps reacquaints) you with the world before your character is free. This is where the main differences come into play. You have a turf that you must defend and build into a functioning criminal syndicate and one that doesn’t even attempt to cloak criminality in neutral language. You can add various rackets such as gambling and cock fighting which will bring income over time and can be upgraded to bring even more. This is all done in a simple interface with straightforward button clicks.
Outside of this you can raid other Triad’s turf which played out the same way every time in my experience – right down to the building layout. You simply travel there, beat-up or shoot rival triad members and defeat the boss to win. There is a time limit set before the Hong Kong authorities arrive but this was very generous – and can even be extended by completing side missions before raiding. After finishing the raid you are awarded with “Face” (notoriety), items or money and can then continue expanding your own turf. Your turf can be raided too and by others playing the game though this seems to be indirect in the sense that you don’t see them do it and are unable to stop them.
I’m not sure if this will be on a free to play model [apparently it is -ed] but if it isn’t I would definitely balk at the free-to-play features – especially buying virtual gold for items. In my experience the gold was rarely given out. It is not uncommon to see these things in paid and free mobile games and is unfortunately becoming more common in big retail releases.
One thing worth mentioning that isn’t related to the game itself is that I couldn’t find a way to choose the install directory and had to use the limited space left on my SSD. This later meant I didn’t have the space for additional updates. This is something that I’m sure won’t be an issue on launch but it did stop me from covering more of the game.
There is not much more to say as I suspect the Triad Wars Beta was intentionally limited. If the meat of the beta turns was out to be the main chunk of the game, I don’t suspect it will have much staying power as I found it repetitive after an hour’s play. There is a lot of potential here but I’d still much prefer to see Sleeping Dogs 2.