“You’re not a real man until you have a pork bun in hand”…So I was told on countless occasions over the weekend. So Grab yourself a pork bun and come along with me for a ride as we delve into the latest open world crime thriller “Sleeping Dogs”. In normal fashion, we will stride to avoid any major story details to allow the readers to enjoy the game as it was meant to be played.
Sleeping Dogs has something of a tumultuous past. In 2009 it started out as a game called Black Lotus and was soon after slated to be a reboot to the franchise “True Crime”. After countless delays and cost overrun, “True Crime: Hong Kong” was cancelled by Activision. Luckily for us Square Enix made a great decision and pick up the rights to the game and rebranded it Sleeping Dogs.
Sleeping Dogs draws much of its inspiration from the Grand Theft Auto series with it’s behind the shoulder perspective, open world environments and errand boy style side missions.The player takes control of undercover police officer Wei Shen a Chinese native who moves to America as a young boy and has come back to his old stomping grounds to infiltrate the Triad Organization called the Sun On Yee. During Wei’s story, the player will participate in a variety of missions from the mundane car thefts to balls to the walls action chase scenes lifted right out of the best action movies.
As Wei performs his tasks, he’ll be walking the fine line between his loyalty to his profession and his crime family. This is where the RPG element comes into play. After completing tasks, Wei is awarded Triad, Police and Face XP depending on how well he executes his missions. Triad XP is awarded for how violent he is, Police is for how by the book he is and Face is just his overall general reputation that affects how some people will interact with him. Once he levels up in a certain specialty, the user picks new abilities to give Wei. My personal favorite is being able to jump an obstacle and disarming someone then using their weapons against them
Some missions actually require Wei’s ability to talk his way into locales or out of situations. These were the moments I felt the game really missed out on an important RPG element as the player is not tasked with picking the right response rather they’re tasked with hitting the “Y” button quickly. That’s it! They didn’t even change the button up. It was always the “Y” button. So much for having a silver tongue – They really could have had some fun with this.
One of the big things that I always hated about GTA and other games of that ilk was the driving mechanics. I had always dreaded those missions that involved me racing away from the cops or the other bad guys because I hated the way the cars felt and the shooting mechanics were crappy. “Sleeping Dogs” delivered a fun and exhilarating to the point that I was continually hoping for more. Shooting the tires and watching the cars roll over in spectacular fashion was more than a little satisfying – especially when the other cars behind them crashed into the fiery wreck as well.
The errand boy side missions can be a little too much at times. I tend to get bored with them and admittedly stopped paying much attention to them after a while due to boredom and wanting to continue the story to see where things went.
The fight mechanics felt refined and tight. I could see where the inspiration came from the Arkham Asylum and City games with the free flow fighting but I also quite enjoyed them in Sleeping Dogs. Through the use of environments, Wei can dispatch his enemies quickly and violently. He can also use some sweet hand to hand combat moves. All of these moves can be performed with a liquid like fluidity that just felt more natural than what I experienced in other titles.
The sound in Sleeping Dogs was spectacular. The bustling sounds of Hong Kong and the well placed voice acting cast made Sleeping Dogs sound just like a triple A title should.
Graphically, Sleeping Dogs looks very good. Some animations did look a little screwy during the cinematic sequences but the city looks incredible. My buddy who happened to stop in on the way through town was actually quite impressed with just how close the environments looked to their real life counterparts in Hong Kong.
Overall I would say that Sleeping Dogs was a fantastic title. Awesome story coupled with great voice acting, fast exciting gunplay and drive chases kept me glued to my couch. We’ve all played this game before from other companies but Sleeping Dogs manages to bring something special to the table. This is the way you launch a new franchise. Well done United Front. If you’re on the fence about wether or not to give “Sleeping Dogs” a go, get off it right now. This game is worth your money and time.
Feed Your Console gives Sleeping Dogs a solid 9 out of 10