So yeah, Mumbles and I made fun of a guy with an accent too stereotypical to believe, who turned out to be played by an Asian man. That apparently makes us bad people. Oh well, it's not like it hasn't been done before.
The actual talk with Hong Shi is fairly uninteresting, in my opinion. We contact him because he might have some knowledge of what's going on in Taipei, particularly with the rumored assassination of Taiwanese President Ronald Sung. Unfortunately, because this is an RPG, things are never that simple and he directs us to do a side quest before giving us the intel. If we want him to talk, we need to take care of his three lieutenants who are rebelling against him. [Side Note: I think Thorton says he's a friend of the Shiekh (Ali Shaheed) regardless of if whether or not you let him live. I guess since he's dead, you might as well be his friend. Not like he can tell people you aren't.]
That e-mail with Steven Heck is one of the most humorous in the entire game. Stuff like that is why people love Steven Heck. It's so indicative of Heck's thing where he mostly gets what's going on, but then puts this spin on it that's so outlandish, untrue, and ridiculous that it's comical, much like many real life conspiracy theorists. (Side Note: Anaphysik assures me that many of the conspiracy theories that are discussed by Mike and Heck are real: Interesting.)
As I watch Aldowyn play the game, even it is only on Easy, I start questioning my assertion that Stealth/Pistols is the best option. Again, I know we are playing on Easy, but boy does it look fun to just run around with your fists and a Shotgun mowing down dudes without giving a fuck. Of course, it's a very lethal playstyle, but it makes me wonder how many other archetypes I was denying by only going Stealth/Pistols.
Despite how I usually sound in the LP, I don't blame Aldowyn for getting lost. If anything, the level designer really dropped the ball with the map layout and design. It's an overall linear level, with semi-open layout, the game should not make it this difficult to navigate. Aldowyn made it hard (even though he played the level the day before we recorded), but in the end this is more indicative of the level design than any skill he may or may not have.
As we play through the mission, we get the full story. The first terminal shows us that the list of defectors is 10-pages long, a far cry from the 3 Shi told us to expect. While the player mulls that over in their head, a second terminal tells them that the Triads were dealing with Al-Samad, who you remember as the terrorists from Saudi Arabia. This leaves players with ample time to figure out what's going on before the reveal on the last terminal. As it turns out, Hong Shi's men defected because Shi killed one of them for daring to question the wisdom of dealing with a well-known and public terrorist organization. This knowledge gives the player power over Hong Shi, which we exerted in this episode. I thought it was nice to give players a mission without knowing all the details and then expecting their innate curiosity to compel them to look for it on their own.
Hong Shi, in the grand scheme of things, really is irrelevant. Outside of Taipei, there are no long term consequences for your dealing with him (except he may cut you off from the Triads' Clearinghouse store if you piss him off). And even for the plot in Taipei, he's only good for name dropping Omen Deng, who we'll meet later. Otherwise they could've easily cut him from the game with no consequence.
Lastly, my constantly interrupting anaphysik and his James Hong factoid in order to talk about the game... that was no accident. That's all I wil say on that.